Possession Of Electrical Device After Monmouth Race Lands Tomas Mejia 10-Year Ban - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Possession Of Electrical Device After Monmouth Race Lands Tomas Mejia 10-Year Ban

Jockey Tomas Mejia aboard Strongerthanuknow following a Sept. 3 win at Monmouth Park

The board of stewards at Monmouth Park have suspended jockey Tomas Mejia for 10 years and recommended to the New Jersey Racing Commission permanent revocation of his jockey's license. He also received a $5,000 fine.

Mejia was taken off all upcoming mounts last Friday, Sept. 10, when stewards became aware of a photograph from Monmouth's track's official photographer, posted on the Oceanport, N.J., track's Facebook page, showing a suspicious object with what appeared to have two prongs sticking out in the rider's left hand after winning the seventh race aboard Colts Neck Stables LLC's Strongerthanuknow for trainer Jorge Duarte Jr. on Sept. 3. The picture had been posted to commemorate Mejia's return from injury.

An initial stewards hearing with Mejia began on Sept. 11 and was continued on Sept. 15.

The Sept. 15 ruling, which referred to photographic evidence, states, “Upon entering the winner's circle and prior to dismounting from the horse Strongerthanuknown on Sept. 3, 2021, Tomas Mejia was in possession of a prohibited electrical device,”

Possession of a prohibited electrical device on the grounds of Monmouth Park is a violation of New Jersey Racing Commission rules NJAC 13:70-14.5 (a) (d) (e) and NJAC 13:70-1.15.

The suspension runs from Sept. 10, 2021, through and including Sept. 9, 2031. Mejia is denied access to all grounds under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Racing Commission “for any and all purposes.” Suspensions of this nature are enforced in other racing jurisdictions.

The ruling concludes: “In addition to the penalty issued herein, the Board of Stewards refers this matter to the New Jersey Racing Commission and recommends the permanent revocation of Mr. Mejia's New Jersey Racing Commission license.”

Mejia, who turned 26 years old on Thursday, Sept. 16, is a native of Panama who was a leading apprentice in his native country after graduation from the Laffit Pincay Jr. riding academy there. He began riding in the U.S. in 2018 and compiled 110 victories from 1,101 mounts.

The ruling does not address whether Strongerthanuknow may be disqualified from his narrow win in the $57,500 allowance race, conducted over five furlongs on turf.

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