Born on July 22, 1940, trainer and driver William Wellwood was a two-time Canadian O'Brien Award winner as Canada's Trainer of the Year in 1995 and (also in the U.S.) 1997. In 2001 he was inducted into Canada's Horse Racing Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. As a director for the Ontario Harness Horse Association and director for the former Canadian Trotting Association, Wellwood helped to develop and implement policies that are integral to the state of harness racing in Canada today.
After working as a groom and assistant trainer for his uncle Harold Wellwood, Sr. for eleven years, he started his own public stable, Wellwood Stables, Inc. in Milton, Ontario in 1968. He had a thirty-year career as a top driver and trainer, and consistently forged a reputation as a consummate horseman. His ability to select yearlings and develop them into high-caliber stakes horses was renowned. Since 1991, when trainer figures began to be recorded, Wellwood-trained Standardbreds garnered over $17 million in purse earnings. Wellwood himself drove 2,891 winners with more than $15 million in earnings.
In the early 1990s, with his wife Jean and daughter Paula, Wellwood settled in at his new Wellwood Stables in Cambridge, Ontario - a training facility he himself developed, designed, and built. A practitioner of what some called "unorthodox" training techniques, Wellwood's methods emphasized distance rather than speed.
Wellwood was the conditioner of 1994 O'Brien Award winner and two-time Breeders Crown champion Village Jiffy p,5,1:50 ($1,527,683), two-time O'Brien winner and 1995 Windy City and Art Rooney Pace victor Village Connection p,5,1:51h ($1,620,056), 1997 Breeders Crown winner Village Jasper p,3,1:51s ($1,057,595), 1997 Metro Pace champion and O'Brien winner Rustler Hanover p,3,1:51 ($971,638), three-time O'Brien winner Peach Pit 3,1:55.3 ($817,092), Armbro Marshall 3,1:55.1s ($947,288) and 2000 Breeders Crown champion Aviano 3,1:54.3 ($823,228).
Along with being a master conditioner of Standardbreds, Wellwood has been called a "trainer of trainers" and often used top-notch drivers such as Paul MacDonell and Hall of Famer Bill O'Donnell. In addition to Wellwood's two coveted O'Brien trophies, he was also voted Canadian Horseman of the Year in 1974 and 1992 and was four-time Ontario Jockey Club Horseman of the Year. The Campbellville Stakes for two-year-old trotters, in which he drove to victory behind Ride The Wave 2,2:00f ($276,260) in 1988 and Armbro Leader 3,1:56f ($710,615) in 1992, was renamed the William Wellwood Memorial in his honor in 2005. The first two editions were won with Was It A Dream 2,1:57s ($713,441) and Laddie 3,1:54s ($982,607), both trained by daughter Paula.
William Wellwood died on February 3, 2003 at the age of 62.