Eugene Carter Jr., an employee of the Kentucky Horse Park for the past 15 seasons, spends most days at the Hall of Champions, showing and caring for its residents. Gene makes a lasting impression on Park guests who are lucky enough to strike up a conversation with him. The World War Two veteran celebrated his 93rd birthday July 16, 2019. Gene shares some of his unforgettable moments in the following videos.
Gene lived next door to and married the daughter of Will Harbut, groom of the famed Man o’ War, and is the last man alive to ever sit on the back of that legendary stallion.
A Horseman’s Beginning
At 93, Gene has 78 years of horsemanship experience and it all started with one big break:
High Hope Race
In 1967 during a time when black jockeys were pushed off the track, Gene Carter, who worked for trainer Doug Davis as an exercise boy, was asked to ride Royal Mattar in the High Hope Race Meeting. He won.
Gene has been working with horses for 78 years, and even sat on Man o’ War’s back, but his favorite horse of all was CH Gypsy Supreme – a champion five-gaited saddlebred that he worked with at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions.
Mr. Gene Carter, has many stories from working as an excessive boy for Doug Davis, including this memorable moment from the 1973 Travers Stakes race in Saratoga, NY.