Exposed: FBI, DEA, Homeland Security Nixed Raid, Failed to Act on Underground Track Where Horses Were Abused, Jockeys and Bookie Arrested

For Immediate Release:
February 15, 2024

David Perle 202-483-7382

Barnesville, Ga.

Federal officials from multiple agencies have continued to fail to act on overwhelming evidence that horses have been electroshocked and given street drugs, including cocaine, in unsanctioned races at which illegal gambling and other violations are rampant, The Washington Post revealed today, leaving PETA to seek prosecutions locally and press for regulations to offer some protection for horses.

The case didn’t end with PETA’s 10-month undercover investigation into unsanctioned Quarter Horse racing at two notorious yet secret “bush tracks” in Georgia, as first reported by The Washington Post in “A Horse Track With No Rules” in August 2022. Then, PETA captured footage showing rampant doping of horses, including injections of cocaine, methamphetamine, and methylphenidate (Ritalin); use of electric shock devices on and relentless whipping of horses by jockeys; and gruesome and fatal injuries to horses and jockeys. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal wagers changed hands.

PETA met with officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) numerous times and turned over evidence of illegalities. The USDA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security then planned to conduct a raid on one of the tracks, arrest multiple suspects, and rescue the horses. But nothing happened.

With no action from the feds, PETA was forced to persuade local prosecutors in Georgia to charge six jockeys with cruelty to animals and a bookie with felony commercial gambling. However, convicted felon Arthur “Brutz” English IV—owner of Georgia’s largest black market track, Rancho El Centenario in Milner—has yet to be charged and continues to operate races at which horses are abused and doped. During the investigation of Rancho El Centenario, PETA’s undercover investigators collected dozens of discarded syringes from the racetrack. English recently taunted law-enforcement officials by creating promotional ink pens shaped like syringes and printed with the track’s logo.

syringe shaped pens filled with a yellow liquid and the text Atlanta GA printed along the side

Five of the jockeys charged have been found to also race at licensed tracks, including Belterra Park Cincinnati; Emerald Downs in Auburn, Washington; FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing in Collinsville, Illinois; Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville, Indiana; Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, Louisiana; Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa; Remington Park in Oklahoma City; Sam Houston Race Park in Houston; Sandy Ridge at Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky; and Turf Paradise in Phoenix. All the jockeys have been booked except for Germarius O’Neal, who currently races at Louisiana Downs and hasn’t turned himself in.

Bookie Zenaida “Paloma” Cardenas Muñoz, a Texas resident who plies her trade at unregulated racetracks across the U.S., waived her arraignment in Lamar County Superior Court on November 9.

PETA believes that hosting this type of conduct amounts to commercial gambling, which also serves as a predicate crime under the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, and urges authorities to charge English with both felonies.

“Federal officials from four agencies acknowledged that these tracks are a cesspool of drugs, death, and abuse but took no action,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “They must act immediately to shut down this illicit industry before even one more horse is shot up with cocaine.”

Recently, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) instituted a new rule after being alerted by PETA to the rampant cruelty at more than 170 bush tracks operating in over 30 states across the U.S. Specifically, the CHRB amended Rule 1902, “Conduct Detrimental to Horse Racing,” to prohibit licensees from “participation in, or presence at, any non-recognized race meeting where racing occurred.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

mugshot of a man implicated in a PETA undercover investigationmugshots of men implicated in a PETA undercover investigation at Georgia bush tracksmugshots of men implicated in a PETA undercover investigation at Georgia bush tracks

image shows multiple people with their faces blurred, two are in the foreground and appear to be exchanging cash, the background is a dirt racetrack and tents

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