angle-left Q-Racing Blog: Owner and Breeder

Q-Racing Blog: Owner and Breeder

All-time leading jockey G.R. Carter Jr. is moving to a new role in the racing industry.
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By Ty Wyant

All-time leading everything jockey G.R. Carter Jr. remains retired and has taken on a new role as an owner and breeder.

“Every time I tell someone that I’ve retired again, they all want to tell me that ‘I’ve heard that before,’ ” Carter said while in Ruidoso to watch his homebred Will B Valiant finish fifth in the $58,438 John Deere Ruidoso Downs Juvenile Challenge (G3). “It’s real this time; it’s going to stick. My knees are in terrible shape. My neck, back, hips all bother me.”

Carter “retired” in 2015, however came back the following year to ride Koolnfamous in the $3 million All American Futurity (G1). He continued to ride for two more years.

Last December, he made his “for sure” retirement and went out on top with a win on 2018 champion 2-year-old Flash And Roll in the $1,836,425 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity (G1). He won the Two Million on December 16 and got on his final racehorse on December 19.

“I thought that one would be a good one to quit on right there,” Carter said of the Two Million.

Carter holds all the American Quarter Horse riding records. His mounts earned $75 million and he accumulated 3,906 wins from 24,654 mounts.

“I’ve been roping, hauling pens, working on my place,” Carter said. “I’ve got a business, a little pipeline service company, with a guy I grew up with, but I let him run that. It’s his forte, so I stay out of his way on that deal.”

Carter gave a thought, maybe two, about training.

“So many people asked me if I was going to get into training and I would love to train, but I’ve been working my tail off at the racetrack for 35 years nonstop,” Carter said. “I know what it takes to be a great trainer, because I was right beside them for all that time. I just didn’t want to commit to that kind of work.

“Owning two or three horses every year will keep me connected, keep me coming to the races. It gives me a reason to keep up with all the young stallions, mares and the breeding.”

Carter is staying connected through a few mares and running Will B Valiant.

“We have a house here in Ruidoso,” Carter said. “When I retired in ’15, Shaena (his wife) wanted to be sure we had a reason to come out here to Ruidoso in ’16. She was scared to death that I wouldn’t even want to go to the races.

“So, we bought a couple of babies at the yearling sales. We bought Stella Lou at Heritage Place and One Sweet Sign here at Ruidoso. Stella made the finals of the West Texas (Futurity) and One Sweet Sign made the finals of the Ruidoso (Futurity). She got stakes-placed in a Challenge race.”

She was second in the 2017 $37,000 Lone Star Park Distaff Challenge.

“We bred them both last year and we’ve got two babies that we’re really, really proud of,” Carter said. “ ‘Stella’ has a Jess Good Candy colt, and One Sweet Sign has a Kiss My Hocks filly. I had one free breeding to both of those horses from when I rode them. (Will B Valiant’s dam) Curl Girl has a Mighty B Valiant, a full sister to Will B Valiant. So, we have three babies on the ground.”

Expect the breeder/owner team of G.R. and Shaena Carter to support the Bank of America Racing Challenge.

“The ones that we’ve raised we’ve put them in the Challenge because it’s a program that I’ve been so in tune with since they started it,” Carter said. “There is probably nobody who has made more money (in the program) as a jockey than I have, and it’s been so good to me.

“I know how it works because I’ve been running around and riding regional races at various places. This looked like a perfect spot for this colt. He just fit perfect here. You knew there were going to be only three or four trials and there wouldn’t be any high-dollar horses because they would all be running in the Ruidoso Futurity.

“The Challenge program gives you a few more opportunities like I took here. Some of the races can be more competitive if you don’t have the horses for the Rainbow (Futurity) and All American (Futurity). In the Challenge races, you can run around and pick your spots. It’s been a really good program for a lot of years.”

Carter worked endlessly for decades as a jockey and he plans to have fun as an owner and breeder. 

“Let’s be honest, you don’t get into it (as an owner/breeder) with the thought you’re going to make money. You get into it because you love the horse, you love the game,” Carter said.

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