Chapa Suspended Five Years For Carrying Electrical Device - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report
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Chapa Suspended Five Years For Carrying Electrical Device

The photo that led to Roman Chapa’s five-year suspension and criminal charges (Coady Photography)

Texas Racing Commission stewards suspended jockey Roman Chapa five years and fined him $25,000 – the maximum penalties allowed under Texas law – for carrying an illegal electrical device while riding Quiet Acceleration to victory in the Richard King Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, Texas, on Jan. 17.

The stewards, who conducted a hearing on the matter last Friday, found Chapa in violation of four rules: unlawful influence on racing (Rule 3.16); influence of race prohibited (311.206); inhumane treatment of horse or greyhound (311.207); and possession of contraband (311.215). They referred the case to Texas Racing Commission executive director Chuck Trout, who has the authority to increase the fine to $100,000 if he believes it is warranted.

Chapa has until 5 p.m. on Thursday to appeal the suspension and fine.

This is the third charge against Chapa, a 43-year-old resident of Big Spring, Texas, for carrying or using a prohibited device on a horse. Chapa was suspended nine months in 1994 in Texas for using a nail on a Quarter horse during a futurity trial and banned five years in 2007 at Sunland Park  in New Mexico for use of an electrical device – also known as a machine, battery or buzzer. He received a $100 fine in 2012 for striking his horse in the face with a whip.

Roman ChapaChapa also faces criminal charges filed by the Harris County district attorney for illegally influencing the outcome of a horserace.

Chapa was summarily suspended two days after the race in question following publication of a photo, taken by official track photographer Jack Coady, showing what appeared to be a foreign object in the jockey's left hand. Chapa told officials the picture was “Photoshopped” and that “someone was trying to frame him.”

Stewards also ordered Quiet Acceleration be unplaced in the Richard King Stakes, disqualifying him from purse money and making Fly the Red Eye the official winner.

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