Illegal Gambling, Drugs, Death at Horse Track Probable, PETA Warns Sheriff

Doping, Electroshock Devices, Death Likely at Unsanctioned Memphis Horse Race; PETA Urges Sheriff to Investigate

For Immediate Release:
August 10, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Memphis, Tenn.

Shelby County’s sheriff has been told to look out for illegal gambling as well as horses being injected with methamphetamines and cocaine, electroshocked, or subjected to other acts of cruelty this weekend, when underground horse races at Carril El Gringo are scheduled to take place. PETA’s 10-month video investigation into similar unregulated match races in Georgia—which The Washington Post broke just days ago—revealed widespread doping with street drugs, the use of electric shock devices, fatal horse injuries, betting, and more, all in apparent violation of law. PETA rushed a letter to Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. today, calling on him to investigate the black market track.

Some characters exposed in PETA’s investigation have indicated on social media that they will be at Carril El Gringo on Sunday, including the Quarter Horse stable Cuadra Rancho El Diamante. This stable’s horse El Borrego died of a “heart attack” in a race PETA filmed in Georgia, and at least two more of its horses died at the track in 2020 and 2021. Another stable, Cuadra Buena Vista, whose worker is shown in a Facebook video (beginning at 1:29) with a red liquid-filled syringe, is also planning to attend.

“Black market horse racing is a cesspool of greed, drugs, and abuse and an indictment of the area it gets away with operating in,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “Officials must not look the other way when they’re charged with upholding the law, including the law against cruelty to animals.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Bonner follows.

August 10, 2022

The Honorable Floyd Bonner Jr.

Shelby County Sheriff

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office

Dear Sheriff Bonner:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals U.S.—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally—to request that you investigate an apparent championship underground horse race that is scheduled to take place at Carril El Gringo, also known as Carril De Memphis (3370 Benjestown Rd., Memphis, TN 38127), on August 14.

PETA just released the results of a 10-month investigation into underground Quarter Horse racing, exposing widespread doping with substances including methamphetamine, cocaine, and Ritalin; the use of electric shock devices; fatal horse injuries; jockey injuries and death; and hundreds of thousands of dollars in apparently illegal gambling at Rancho El Centenario, the largest black market track, or “bush track,” in Georgia. PETA has now filed complaints with state and local authorities calling for criminal investigations into these and other acts that appear to violate numerous laws. Our video footage available here and photographs available here could indicate what may occur at 3370 Benjestown Rd.

There are connections between the unsanctioned races in Georgia and the races planned in Memphis. The Quarter Horse stable Cuadra Rancho El Diamante has scheduled a race at Carril El Gringo on Sunday. This stable’s horse El Borrego died of an alleged heart attack in a race that PETA filmed at Rancho El Centenario, and at least two of its horses died at the track in 2020 and 2021. Another stable, Cuadra Buena Vista, is also anticipated to be in attendance on Sunday. A Facebook video from Rancho El Canelo in Dalton, Georgia, the other track that PETA investigated, shows a worker from this stable with a syringe filled with a red liquid. You can watch the video here at 1:29.

We urge you to investigate and take all appropriate action to prevent violations of Tennessee’s anti-cruelty, gambling, and drug laws.

Thank you for your time and consideration. May I please hear from you?


Kathy Guillermo

Senior Vice President

Equine Matters Department

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