A jockey was indicted by a Harris County Grand Jury on Wednesday for allegedly shocking a horse to fix a race at Sam Houston Race Park on January 17.
When Quiet Acceleration galloped across the finish line with 43-year-old jockey Roman Chapa aboard to win the $50,000 Richard King Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park on January 17, the photos of the moment captured the victory, but they also showed that Chapa was clutching a small nude-colored object in his left palm. The object, a buzzer, is an electric shocking device that can be used to shock a horse and get it to move faster. Buzzers are banned from racing.
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Quiet Acceleration was defending his title in the Richard King as he and the other thoroughbreds thundered over 1 1/8 miles of turf. The six-year-old horse pulled ahead during the final moments of the race to win by half a length during the ninth race of the day, according to Daily Racing Form. The other horse, Fly the Red Eye, was so close that the race was a photo finish with the deciding photo snapped by track photographer Jack Coady from the inside rail, according to the Paulick Report. The photo was posted on the Sam Houston Race Park website after the race. The next day Chapa called and texted Coady and told him that it was a bad photo and asked Coady to get it off the website, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case. Coady told Chapa he didn't have any control over the website.
Rumors began to circulate in the racing world soon after the photo went up, and the Texas Racing Commission held a hearing on the incident on January 19. Chapa argued that Coady had Photoshopped the buzzer into the incriminating image, but he was ultimately suspended by the Texas Racing Commission in February for five years, the maximum suspension, and fined $25,000, according to Racing Post. . Sam Houston Race Park then banned Chapa from the park for life, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Meanwhile, Chapa was charged with unlawful influence on racing, a felony, on January 22. The case was then submitted to a grand jury, according to court records, and the grand jury found enough evidence to indict Chapa for "unlawfully, intentionally and knowingly, with the intent to influence or affect a horse race, use an electrical shocking device designed to increase the speed of and unnaturally stimulate and excite a race animal, namely, a race horse named Quiet Acceleration," according to court records.