Drugged Horses Die in Underground Races

Racing Hell:

From June 2021 via April 2022, a workforce of PETA operatives investigated unregulated Quarter Horse racing in Georgia, primarily on the largest Georgia “bush monitor,” Rancho El Centenario (south of Atlanta). Nicely over 100 of those tracks function all around the U.S., from California to Virginia, flying largely underneath the radar.


Quick & Livid

Quarter Horses are the quickest breed at working a quarter-mile or much less. These “match races” function two to 6 horses competing towards one another at breakneck speeds on a straightaway monitor at distances from 5 to 400 yards. A typical race day entails as much as 20 races.

PETA found a clandestine underworld of crime and cruelty, the place racegoers wager lots of of 1000’s of {dollars} and trainers and jockeys drug, whip, and electroshock horses to attempt to win at any value.

The ‘Breaking Unhealthy’ of Horse Racing:

Meth and Coke

Investigators have been appalled to see race groups injecting horses within the neck shortly earlier than races, typically on the racetrack itself. Racers experiment with drug cocktails to rev horses up, masks accidents, and kill ache, in hopes of reaching most pace.

horse injected in neck before race

PETA was capable of acquire 27 syringes and/or needles in complete, on six totally different dates. Testing by a Racing Remedy & Testing Consortium–accredited lab revealed that syringes contained cocaine, methamphetamine, methylphenidate (Ritalin), and caffeine, generally together.

underground racing peta investigation

After watching this injection, one other coach jokingly supplied his arm for a shot after which shimmied as if he had obtained a rush from the drug. All of them know what’s in these syringes.

horse trainers with syringes

Horses Shocked With Electrical Units and Whipped Relentlessly

Jockeys whipped horses relentlessly—typically over 20 instances in a row—and different workforce members even struck the horses from behind because the beginning gates opened. Jockeys and handlers additionally whipped and hit horses earlier than races, throughout loading, and within the beginning gates, as punishment and/or to regulate fractious habits within the drugged-up horses.

jockey in starting gates

Jockeys didn’t restrict themselves to whipping—investigators’ close-up footage revealed electrical shock units (aka “batteries,” “buzzers,” “machines,” “chicharras,” or “máquinas”) held in jockeys’ fingers or taped to their wrists. They use them to shock the horses within the neck throughout races, even the numerous jockeys who additionally race at mainstream tracks, the place utilizing or possessing these units would end in a multiyear suspension.

Bryan Candanosa

2022 main money-winner on regulated tracks, Bryan Candanosa, with an electroshock gadget at a bush monitor in February

Jockeys Risking Their Personal Lives and Limbs

When horses endure catastrophic breakdowns in races, the jockeys are sometimes badly injured within the falls.

In an incident at Rancho El Centenario in 2021, infamous jockey Roman Chapa (who had been banned from mainstream tracks after he was photographed holding a stunning gadget) rode a horse who fell and was fatally injured; Chapa later died from his personal extreme accidents.

jockey injured in fall from horse

The monitor announcer and safety guards inform attendees to cease filming after these grotesque breakdowns, however some movies make it on-line, and PETA investigators have scrupulously filmed in particular person and picked up quite a few different movies of accidents and deaths at Rancho El Centenario.

Osdany Leal

Osdany Leal sustained grave spinal accidents on this fall, and horse La Diosa was killed. Jockeys, who’re complicit in overdriving the horses, select to take these harmful dangers, however the horses don’t have a selection.

PETA additionally recognized underage jockeys who have been solely 13 and 14 when racing at these Georgia tracks.

Fourteen-year-old jockey with an electric shock device
Fourteen-year-old jockey with an electrical shock gadget


Thirteen-year-old jockey with trainer José Pujol, who was filmed by PETA injecting a horse with cocaine in 2021
13-year-old jockey with coach José Pujol, who was filmed by PETA injecting a horse with cocaine in 2021

These crime-ridden underground racetracks are the darkish underbelly of the broader Quarter Horse racing trade, which income from breeding and promoting these horses after which appears to be like the opposite approach.

PETA found this carcass of a horse rotting just a few feet away from the track in August 2021
PETA discovered this carcass of a horse rotting just some toes away from the monitor in August 2021.

Excessive-Stakes Playing

Playing featured closely within the operation of those races. Along with admission charges as much as $100, folks openly wagered what gave the impression to be lots of of 1000’s of {dollars}. The monitor announcer acknowledged the “benefits”—match racing’s equal of odds. Horses needed to win by a minimum of a sure a part of the physique, for instance, the nostril, head, girth, bottom, or tail (aka picos, cabeza, faja, blanco, and claro) for bettors to win. A number of bookies circulated among the many spectators, gathering wagers in particular person and through cellphone. Jockeys, trainers, and homeowners can typically earn more money on this profitable black market racing than they will at mainstream Quarter Horse tracks.


Raced to Dying

The doping, whipping, and electroshocking put horses at excessive threat for accidents and deadly accidents. Horses at these “bush tracks” break down regularly, which normally leads to dying.

breakdown on track

PETA filmed a race in March 2022 wherein each collaborating horses died—one of many horses staggered on a badly damaged, dangling leg, earlier than finally being shot within the head.

horse shot in head

A employee then matter-of-factly dragged the lifeless horse down the monitor with a tractor.

horse dragged off track

The “successful” horse died of a coronary heart assault.

PETA has requested native and state regulation enforcement to analyze and prosecute any unlawful conduct in order that no extra horses might be injected with avenue medicine or electroshocked or die in grotesque breakdowns. In the meantime, please be a part of us in urging the American Quarter Horse Affiliation (AQHA) to ban any jockeys, trainers, or homeowners who take part in unregulated black market races.

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