Monmouth Jockey Says, If You Can’t Whip ‘Em, Shock ‘Em

By now, I’m sure most of you have heard about New Jersey’s new (this year) “stringent” whip restrictions – to be used “only for safety reasons.” It is, the Racing Commission boasts, the first of its kind in the nation. (The bettors apparently didn’t like it so much: Monmouth’s average daily handle this summer was down some 17% over last year.) For the jockeys, however, prohibiting their ability to “encourage” was akin to blasphemy. So, at least one enterprising chap went old school. A recent ruling from Monmouth:

“As a result of the evidence and testimony presented in the administrative hearing conducted on September 11 and continued on September 15, the Board of Stewards find that: Jockey Tomas Mejia rode the horse ‘Strongerthanuknow’ in the 7th race at Monmouth Park on September 3, 2021; upon entering the winners circle [yes, Stronger ‘won’] and prior to dismounting, Tomas Mejia was in possession of a prohibited electrical device.” Mejia’s credo: If you can’t whip ’em, shock ’em.

In this instance, the Commission got it right: “Jockey Tomas Mejia is hereby suspended for a period of ten years and fined the sum of $5,000. The period of suspension shall begin on September 10, 2021, and continue through and including September 9, 2031. [Almost laughably, Mejia has the full ten years to pay the fine.] In addition to the penalty issued herein, the Board of Stewards…recommends the permanent revocation of Mr. Mejia’s New Jersey Racing Commission license.”

Career, effectively, over. Still, I’m sure some of you are wondering why this was not charged and prosecuted as animal abuse per NJ law: “torment, torture…unnecessarily or cruelly abuse; inflict unnecessary cruelty upon a living animal or creature,” etc. The answer is quite simple: The state – as represented by police, prosecutors, and courts – maintains a hands-off policy on industries that use animals; those industries basically police themselves (and yes, the NJ Racing Commission is a subsidiary of NJ Horseracing). In other words, no real justice forthcoming. This miscreant may have to find a new line of work, but he’s still a free man, which means he’s free to find other kinds of animals to abuse, or he can simply find a gig jockeying horses at facilities not regulated by the Commission. So again, no justice, no victory.

17 Comments

  1. Isn’t it logical that the owners and the trainers of the horses provide the ILLEGAL SHOCKING DEVICES to the jockeys plus the “INSTRUCTIONS” or “ORDERS” to actually use it on the horse????
    Many readers here know that both Darrell Wayne Lukas, trainer, and Gary Stevens, jockey, were caught on undercover video laughing about the use of the ILLEGAL SHOCKING DEVICES on racehorses.

    I’m thankful for the photographer that photographed this particular jockey with the prongs of the ILLEGAL SHOCKING DEVICE showing AND posted it on social media.

  2. Using a device to affect the outcome of a pair-mutuel event is a felony in most places. Arrest him for that.

    • You bring up a valid point. Pari-mutuel wagering is always held on a higher level of importance than the horses in organized horse racing. I wonder if anyone, especially among the gamblers, protested the outcome of the race?

        • As you know, there was a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act lawsuit against Bob Baffert (for manipulation of the outcome of the 2021 Kentucky Derby) by the bettors. If the State law enforcement has a hands-off policy, the bettors would have to speak up.

  3. This is what you get when a “business” is allowed to police itself.
    We hear all the time “nobody is above the law”.
    If that were true racing would be in big trouble!!

  4. Heartbreaking — what a cheap excuse (“our hands are tied”) — We MUST DO something — we MUST change the LAW whereby the State CAN charge the MISCREANTS for abuse — if anyone in the world needs protection, it’s the innocent and vulnerable — Animals surely fall into this category — has anyone made any attempts at changing the law; or, adding to it?

  5. I am celebrating (with a smile) the dirt bag got a 10 year ban for being in possession of a prohibited electrical device. Hopefully the sentence will “stick” and not be reversed. Is this nation wide or just banned in the State it happened in? Also, it’s my understanding that some States still have horses listed as “farm animals” and cannot be prosecuted for animal abuse. So, the law would have to be changed in each State.

  6. I was just thinking about something during my hectic day today…. I truly only get upset over animals being ABUSED, or put in harms way. All other aspects of my life I’m kinda like “whatever dude”. I drove my parents crazy as a toddler thru childhood,we have photo albums stacked with pictures of all the zoos across America they took me to,because I was always obsessed with animals. The point I’m making is…from the word “GO”, for me it was always about protecting ANIMALS.

  7. He should have to pay $5000 every year he is suspended, with the money going fully toward the rescue and rehabilitation of race horses. If more of these pint sized sadists were given these larger suspensions and forced to pay serious money over the term of those suspensions it might actually make them think twice about treating horse abuse like a joke. And the trainer who undoubtedly gave him the torture device should get the same suspension and fine sentence – and not just a suspension from the track where he was caught, but from ALL of them.

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