In 2015, jockey Roman Chapa began a five-year suspension for, the Thoroughbred Daily News (TDN) reports, “using an illegal electrical shocking device on a Thoroughbred at Sam Houston Race Park.” But that wasn’t the first time for Mr. Chapa, as the TDN explains:
“Chapa had twice been suspended in Texas (1993) and New Mexico (2007) for attempting to frighten a racehorse into running faster with an illicit object. In addition, the Houston Press reported that in 2001, Chapa was charged with one felony count of cruelty to animals when a Harris County sheriff’s deputy responded to a call about a man reportedly beating a Boxer dog with a leather strap. Chapa pled guilty to a lesser offense and served 10 days in jail, the Press wrote.”
And still more: In requesting a new license in Oklahoma, the Racing Commission, in its denial, noted 50 rulings against Chapa and said: “Roman Eric Chapa’s conduct throughout his career has been unsportsmanlike and detrimental to the best interest of horse racing, [including] three rulings for possessing or carrying devices, electrical or otherwise, that stimulate or increase the speed of a horse in a race.”
In addition, Chapa allegedly jockeyed at unsanctioned “bush” tracks during his suspension. For his part, Chapa says, “I love horses and horse racing. Horses are my life. My actions five years ago betrayed their beauty and grace as athletes. I am capable of doing better. I will do better. I’m doing better now. See you in the starting gate.” And indeed, we will – or actually already have. In February, the Texas Racing Commission reinstated the bad boy; an application is pending in New Mexico. And at Arapahoe Park, Colorado’s lone track, Mr. Chapa was aboard five different horses over the past two days. Welcome back, Roman.