Eugene Carter

“One day when no one was around, Harbut turned to Carter, who he knew had galloped horses on the farm, and asked if he wanted to get on the most famous Thoroughbred in the world. Carter leapt at the opportunity, and Harbut gave him a leg up, right there in the stall.

“He said, ‘Gensie, how does it feel to be on the mostest horse in the world?’” Carter remembered. “I said, ‘Mr. Harbut to tell you the truth, I don’t have words to express what I’m feeling. Words have left me. I’m just so thrilled. I’ve never been on a horse like Man o’ War.’

“He said, ‘Gensie, you take this to your grave. Ain’t but three people been on this horse – the exercise boy, the jock that rides him in the race, and Gene Carter.’” as told to Natalie Voss in the Paulick Report, 2019.

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Carter would bring his Kentucky Horse Park magazine from the tack room to tell guests about the time he rode the legendary Man o’ War.

When he got to the walk-up start, Carter sized up the situation. He was aboard Royal Matter, a horse he knew well from morning works, and he knew the horse had endless class. Davis told him to hang back and put in a closing effort, but Carter was certain the other riders would box him in and never give him a chance to run.

“I said, when they drop that flag, I’m going to be long gone.” Carter recalled. “I hollered like a panther. That horse jumped straight out in the air and went straight to the front”.

“That was my highlight – Royal Matter.”

With Lill and his children in the audience – though not permitted in the stands – he won handily.

Voss, N. (2019, August 6). The last man to ride man o’ war looks back on a lifetime with horses – horse racing news: Paulick Report.
Horse Racing News | Paulick Report. Retrieved February 24, 2022,

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