Georgia authorities bust illegal horse racing operation

by | 11.28.2011 | 1:23pm

Some people in Georgia apparently couldn't wait for the state to legalize gambling on horse racing.  Atlanta's WSB-TV reports that authorities busted an illegal horse racing operation in Meriwether County, GA Sunday after they found up to 300 people at a race track with “fencing, a starting gate and professional timekeeping equipment.”

“We received several complaints of this going on for the past few weeks on Sunday afternoon. We began investigating the complaints and immediately uncovered a lot of evidence that led us to executing this search warrant,” Sheriff Steve Whitlock said.

“Inside the racing facility, police found 33 horses, trucks and horse trailers, and concession stands selling beer and liquor, according to deputies.”

“There was an elaborate race track for these horses to run on consisting of fencing, sand and a starting gate, much like the ones you would see at the Kentucky Derby,” Whitlock said.

  • Glimmerglass

    I guess these folks weren’t waiting for any formal approval of the BC coming to Georgia ;>

  • stillriledup

    That’s awesome! Maybe Georgia needs to realize its 2011 and get with the times?

  • Great Streak

    Maybe Robert Cole will enter Rapid Redux there to extend the streak. It would probably be against he same caliber of horses he’s been facing.

  • Rachel

    How do you find “up to 300 people?”…I can see “approximately 300″…LOL

  • David

    It’ll turn out they had contracts for tote, (video) dissemination and timing with all the same guys the tracks do!

  • Toast

    Billy rosin up your bow & play your fiddle hard….’cause hell’s broke loose in Georgia & the devil deals the cards!

  • Buckpasser

    Shame it wasn’t on Gulfstream’s dark days, Paco Lopez would have been there in a minute.


  • Qatmom

    You have to give them credit for trying.

    Sounds like some non-parimutual Arabian racemeets I attended in the early 1980s.

  • Joe

    In what kind of shape these horses are and where they came from? Who were the organizers and patrons? Who rode these horses?

  • ZippelBay

    300 people. Sounds like a better-than-average attendance at a live meet these days…

  • They also caught a glimpse of Frank Stronach hanging out with the good ol’boys negeoitiating how to reduce the number of racing sundays down to 1 and crying poor to the beer concessionaires as his cut on the take wasn’t high enough.

  • Garrett Redmond

    Surely horseracing is not illegal in Georgia. Gambling is illegal, any day of the week. The sheriff did not mention gambling being conducted – the reporter did not ask.

    If all forms of horseracing are illegal, then go catch those Amish farmers who often test each other’s trotters over a mile of country road. Sunday is the best day for it because there is less motor traffic.

    Fact is, the Georgia Taliban cannot bear to see anybody having fun, especially on Sunday. It is like the branch of the Taliban in New York, which also bans racing on some Sundays. There are branches of the sect all over the USA. Some only prevent adults from buying a drink on Sunday, as it is here in Bourbon County, Kentucky. The State Taliban opposes expansion of gambling. All this regardless of all we hear about separation of Church and State.

    Think about it. We have brave young people fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and losing their lives doing it.

  • pony

    They also didnt mention all the money they confiscated, they took everybodys money, in those stands they were selling food,sodas,chips, they also dont mention that, dont they need a warrant to check all the trucks that were there, they never showed a warrant, all the money was bieng put in a garbage bag,they took almost 100,000 dollars…

  • fan

    to someone from metro Atlanta and other areas across
    urban American… this story makes horse racing sound like something
    michael Vick was doing. the way they “busted up” this illegal sport reminds
    me of something you’d read about a cock fight, dog fight, or backyard brawl like
    the ones you see in south florida.


  • Well gee shucks a starting gate and sand, just like the Ky. derby. Where did they find this guy.

  • Larry Ensor

    Were the complaints about horse racing or because they were doing it on Sundays? Seems to me the mistake they made was doing it on Sundays which was cutting in on the Bingo handle.

  • Jim Culpepper

    They must have thought it was the occupy Georgia movement. Of course racing on sunday is legal in Ga., just check out the loop around Hotlanta at 1:00 p.m. if you care to bet your very hide.

  • Do they have a condition book? I want to enter.

  • Mike

    I be on that site from 1pm to 8pm,i see a lot of heavy armed officers coming on 2 helicopters,more of 10 police cars,vans,close to 50 deputies,state trooper patrols,all this officers act like a SS.
    I see few american people and few Afroamericans too,but most of this people are HISPANICS.
    The deputies handcuffed mothers in front of her childs,and point the firearms directly on kids and womens,all are crying and running with no escape all exits are closed i have a lot of pictures and videos of this operation,this look like a nazi camp.
    Sheriif Withlock and his deputies is a NAZIS with american clothes.

  • Mike

    I work for a international horse mexican and spanish magazine and i be there for work reasons i come from NC im a freelance photographer too and the saturday before this happen i do a wedding event in Atlanta,i get a cash payment for my services on the wedding and i have some cash for my travel expenses,ok the deputies take all my money,like all the people on site,handcuffed me with plastics bands for more o 4 hour with another man,at final they took my camera and look for pictures and videos but they cant find nothing….i give this material to the autorities..


  • ezbreeze

    Hire a good pro-bono lawyer Mike. Perhaps your rights have been violated by the Georgia Taliban. Hope the authorities don’t take all that loot and make a campaign donation to Newt. Loot for Newt!

  • kyle

    Was Farish there? Sounds like a dry run for the BC. According to the Sheriff it was just like The Kentucky Derby.

  • Aiken2Win

    Kudos to the people of Georgia!! WE THE PEOPLE, have been trying to tell the politicians “WE WANT HORSERACING IN GEORGIA”. They just won’t listen, so we organized it ourselves to make a point!! Perhaps, South Carolina is next!!

  • Terrang

    Maybe 40 years ago they used to hold racing meets in Utah (where parimutuel and casino gambling is banned) and they would have “Calcutta” auctions on the horses in each race. Money would change hands. So I did a story about this illegal gambling in a legal daily newspaper and I heard the state attorney general – and for some reason I think his name was also Romney (Vernon) but not sure as it may have been another AG at that time – and he passed back the word that he got a good laugh out of my story.

    Another time my brother and I went to a race meet in Central Utah one Saturday and there they had a parimutuel operation set up in a trailer. The feature race was a Quarter Horse race and the third entrant pulled out so that it became a match race between a mare a sorrel stallion. I bet on the mare and when the race went off we were about 70 or 80 yards from the finish line and when they flashed by the mare had a good length lead but at the wire the finish was so tight the “stewards” could not determine a winner and declared a dead heat. We rushed back to the trailer where a high school kid was operating an adding machine and he paid me back twice what I had bet to win so I assume the betting must have been overwhelmingly in favor of the sorrel. Or because of the dead heat he may have gotten confused and paid what the full win bet would have been on both horses.

    In winter the racing in Utah shifts to chariot racing and one time Jimmy Jones came to talk to horsemen and afterwards they took him to the chariot racing and I remember how he jumped out of the car and rushed up to the races and just had a good time enjoying this variation of the sport of kings. This a man who with his dad won several Derbies as we all know. He was so gracious and I am sure it was genuine.

  • michael arndt

    HANA members must be crushed! A track with ZERO PERCENT TAKEOUT and its out of business…

  • Nancy P

    Newt is going to be the chief steward and Speaker of the Turf Club. PLans are underway right now for Meriwhether Downs to join the NTRA so they can secede in a states right snit. No black horses.

  • Ohplease

    The horses that were there are taken care of better than most of the horses I see at horse shows. Goergia needs to let the people of Georgia vote on pari-mutual wagering at Horse race tracks and be done with it. H.R. 186 needs to be sent to the people for a vote.

  • Don Reed

    The cops overlooked the meth labs under the bleachers.

  • deuce21

    I think you all need to think about what all is happening with this. You may want horse racing to be legal , BUT IT IS NOT AT THIS TIME! betting is not either. Let me guess none of the 300 people knew it was illegal? my suggestion is put your money to better use and pay the damn lobbyist better money to get your point out there like good democrats!

  • Lv

    Also forgot to mention that family’s with children’s where there and also took there money from there wallets

  • okie gal

    I miss the big match races, much more fun than going to the races, if you havent ever been, you’ve missed out on a great time. I say let them do it. Paramutal racing has gotten too expensive for the little guy,trainer bills, vet bills, more vet bills and the little guy is being pushed out. Did I mention Vet bills?? Im sure I put my vets kids through a Ivy league college & not even a graduation invitation?

  • equine

    Oh Please: The horses in this instance may have been well cared for but in most instances they are not. We live in a state which does have parimutual racing, but there was an episode in the summer of 2010 less than 40 miles from three racetracks, where the organizers applied for a permit to hold Sunday picnics on a piece of undeveloped property. This is a suburban area, but still quite rural with most people owning 1-2 acres. Each Sunday they would have crowds of approx 300. Horses were provided by the organizers as well as music and a concession stand. There was no racetrack, no real jockeys or good riders, no fencing, no parking areas,and not even portable toilet facilities. There were no provisions for safety or welfare of the horses, not even a hydrant for watering after their races. The “concession stand” sold beer and only beer, despite numerous families in attendance. Families brought food with them, but with no receptacles for trash, the neighbors were left with a weekly barrage of trash blowing all over their properties, being assaulted with hearing loud drunken fights as well as blaring music for hours on a Sunday. In addition, they needed to keep their children indoors and apologize to their guests for the displays of public urination. The Sunday “picnics” (horseracing) was such an aggravating nuisance, I don’t think the illegal gambling was ever an issue for anyone but law enforcement.

    I believe it was around February when Animal Control investigated a report of a group of horses on a leased farm not too far from where the races were held. There were rumors&allegations that the horses were stabled on leased property and had not been fed in six months. Animal Control found emaciated horses in dark, dilapidated barns standing in multiple feet of manure and urine. In this group were broodmares and a weanling or yearling, not racehorses, yet local horsemen believed these to be the same horses supplied to the picnic organizer for racing.

    Our industry has enough black eyes when it comes to horse welfare and racing. I believe your lack of familiarity with unregulated racing blinds you to the issues of cruelty: 1)use of excessive whipping and buzzers, 2) drug use, 3) running lame and crippled horses, 4) lack of veterinary care for horses that fall or become injured, 5) post race beatings of horses that don’t win, and 6) the quick disposal or abandonment of horses once the racing season is over.

    I’m sure there are people who do take good care of their horses in unsanctioned races, but overall the issue is no different than dog fighting or the horse tripping rodeos.

  • GAgirl

    As usual people get some poorly written story about police activity and think they know what the truth is. I have seen more of the story concerning what happened Sunday and I actually live in Georgia. See, we like to try and enforce the laws of our state instead of overlooking when they are broken. It is not illegal to race a horse but gambling is illegal,selling alcohol on Sunday and without a license is illegal, setting up a makeshift restaurant without a license or proper sanitary conditions is illegal. These horses were shot up with steroids and then caged in trailers. The women and children that were there were not handcuffed or mistreated in any way. Of course, no one will believe that because they would rather believe that the cops went in like the “taliban” or “nazis”. These men and women were out there doing a job they were sworn to do and while yes, I think often of our soldiers fighting a war that has kept them away from home for way too long, some of you need to remember that there are soldiers at home too…they are police, deputies, national guard, firefighters, first responders…etc, etc, etc….AND those are the ones that will show up to pull your butt out of a sling HERE not matter how many times you try and degrade them and the job they do!

  • okie gal

    Not very differnt from the track then right? Steroids & running lame or sore. Did you actually see them doping horses and then caging them in trailers, probably not. when your running for a 100,000 i doubt the horse is going to be a crippled hack. its actually a pretty fair set up, since its usually just two horses going short distances, ive never seen anything break down. Like I said it is fun & a nice change, goes on everywhere, better than schooling races for the youngsters.

  • Dr. LDDH

    I guess the horses that lose or become to old to run will then be sent to unregulated or “unofficial” butcher shops.  They can get extra money for the horsemeat that can be added to beef, etc.  Like Europe, this will introduce cancer causing “bute” into our meat.  Since I run a testing lab, I guess I will prosper…

  • Dr. LDDH

    I guess the horses that lose or become to old to run will then be sent to unregulated or “unofficial” butcher shops.  They can get extra money for the horsemeat that can be added to beef, etc.  Like Europe, this will introduce cancer causing “bute” into our meat.  Since I run a testing lab, I guess I will prosper…

  • William Gordon

    Whenever there is an activity these days that does not meet with some folks moral approval, the horror and abuse stories are trotted out. Please provide authentication of this for this instance.

Twitter Twitter
Paulick Report on Instagram