Carter Wins Sam Thompson Memorial Award

G.R. Carter Jr. honored by peers with Sam Thompson Memorial Award.

Press Release
July 24, 2013

GR Carter

Jockey G. R. Carter, Jr. has been named the winner of the third annual Sam Thompson Memorial Jockey Award. Carter will be honored at an awards presentation in the winner's circle at Ruidoso Downs on Sunday, September 1st during the All American Weekend.

Carter will receive a trophy and a belt buckle commemorating the win, as well as a signed print of a Sam Thompson painting by artist Linda Manion made exclusively for the Sam Thompson Memorial Jockey Award. Carter's name will be added to a permanent trophy to be displayed every year at the award ceremony.

The Sam Thompson Memorial Jockey award is a peer-elected award. Each summer, ballots are mailed to U.S. racetracks that are running Quarter Horses. Active jockeys are invited to vote for the person whose personal character on and off the racetrack reflects positively on Quarter Horse racing. This year, the five nominees were: G.R. Carter Jr., John Hamilton, Cody Jensen, Alfonso Lujan and Ricky Ramirez. The first winner of the Sam Thompson Memorial Jockey Award winner was Roy Brooks in 2011. The 2012 Sam Thompson Memorial Jockey Award winner was Gilbert Ortiz.

This year's award winner, G. R. Carter, Jr., was born on February 6, 1968, in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. He grew up in a ranching and rodeo family. He began galloping horses at the age of 14 to fund his rodeo involvements. He recorded his first win as a jockey at Blue Ribbon Downs in 1984 aboard Beas Jester, a horse owned and trained by his father, G.R. Carter Sr.

G. R. Carter, Jr. is one of the top riders in his field. He has earned the title of AQHA Champion Jockey a record ten times. He won the All American Futurity (G1) in 1998 aboard Falling In Loveagain, and again in 2008 aboard Stolis Winner. 

As of July 9, G.R. holds the distinction of being Quarter Horse racing’s all-time leading money-earning jockey with over $62.3 million in earnings. With a career that has been marked by accomplishments, G. R. added another to the list on May 12 when he scored his 3,500th career victory by winning the Merial Remington Distaff Challenge aboard Shez Jess Toxic. G. R. is, as of July 9, second on the all-time wins list with 3,516 wins, behind Alvin Brossette's all-time mark of 3,631. G. R. made yet another notch in Quarter Horse racing history during the July 6 Rainbow Derby trials at Ruidoso Downs when he became the all-time leading jockey by lifetime starts in races recognized by the AQHA, making his 22,297th career race start.

G.R. and his wife, Shaena, daughter of Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Burgess, split their time between Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Speedhorse Magazine, in conjunction with The Jockeys' Guild, developed the Sam Thompson Memorial Jockey Award, modeling it after the popular George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in the Thoroughbred industry. The award is named in honor of jockey Sam Thompson, who suffered a fatal riding accident in 2008. One of the leaders in the jockeys’ room during his riding career, Thompson was a Jockeys’ Guild senator, the room representative at Los Alamitos, and a council member of the Los Alamitos division of the Race Track Chaplaincy of America.

For more information on the Sam Thompson Memorial Jockey Award, contact Speedhorse at (405) 288-2145.