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.
From Equibase, Remington Park (Oklahoma), yesterday:
race 1, Spike My Punch “threw a fit in gate”
race 3, Overserved “unruly in gate”; Hez Got a Caboose “fractious in gate”
race 7, Steal the Candy “slammed into rival at break”
race 8, Jm Southern Express “slammed rival”
Good, clean family fun.
In the 9th at Parx Saturday, in her very first time under the whip, Winslow Honey was “vanned off” after having “bled from the nostrils” (which, for those who may not know, indicates pulmonary hemorrhage). One of our activists was there to document her suffering:
Let’s start with the obvious: All horseracing is animal abuse. All of it – no matter the form, no matter the level, no matter the country, no matter the state, no matter the “connections.” Horseracing is inherently cruel. Period. But every once in a while, someone manages to ratchet up that cruelty just a tad.
5-year-old Blazingulch was raced at Rillito Park in Tucson at 3:45 pm Saturday. (That race, by the way, was about as cheap a race as you can get: All the entries were “For Sale” prior to at a pittance – $2,000.) At 1:00 pm the next day, Blazingulch was put to the whip at Turf Paradise in Phoenix. So: raced, loaded onto a truck, shipped some two hours away, unloaded, raced again (where, unsurprisingly, he finished dead last, “trailing the field”). All in less than 24 hours. Oh, and injected with Lasix for both races.
The wretched (feel free to insert your own adjectives) man responsible – among others: where were the Turf vets/stewards? – is trainer/owner Juan Pablo Silva.
Yesterday, at three of the (only) five tracks active (Equibase):
In the 3rd at Parx, Creative Genius was “reluctant to load.”
In the 5th at Parx, Gunfighter’s Girl “reared up badly at the break.”
In the 1st at Sunland, Pain for Gain “was fractious at the gate.”
In the 3rd at Sunland, Shio “was reluctant to load.”
In the 6th at Turf, California Appeal “was reluctant to load.”
Then this from the 2nd at Parx:
“Cape May Ferry, Stormy Highway, and Bobby’s Song all injured themselves in the starting gate and were ordered scratched on the advice of the veterinarian.”
Pulled, pushed, wrenched, jerked, yanked. Yelled at, shouted at, cursed at. Chains, ties, bits – whips. But they “love their jobs,” right? Vile.