Roman Chapa is accused of using an electric device to help win $50,000 at a Texas horserace

By Michael Miller
Updated January 29, 2015 06:50 PM
Credit: Lynn Roberts Hodges/AP

Police are on the lookout for veteran jockey Roman Chapa, who faces felony charges after allegedly using a battery shock to spur his horse to victory at a Texas race.

Chap and his horse Quiet Acceleration were locked in fifth place at the Richard King Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park on Jan. 17, when the horse suddenly kicked into gear and ended up winning the $50,000 first place prize by half a length. The odds against Quient Acceleration were 10-1.

But photographs taken at the finish line show Chapa hiding what officials say is a small electric device in the palm of his hand, according to the Daily Racing Forum.

The practice of using batteries or buzzers to shock racing horses into running faster is outlawed in the sport.

Although Chapa initially claimed the finish line photographs were photoshopped, the Texas Racing Commission has suspended his jockey license and police have charged him with unlawful influence on racing, KPRC-TV reports.

This is not the first time Chapa has been accused of cheating.

The 42-year-old jockey was caught carrying a similar electric device during his first year racing and was suspended for 19 months. He was caught again with a buzzer in New Mexico in 2011 and received a 5-year suspension, ESPN reports.

Chapa reportedly spent 10 days in jail in 2002 for cruelty to animals – and was also arrested in 2001 for “knowingly [torturing] an animal, namely a dog, by beating it with a strap,” according to ESPN.

Chapa is not yet in police custody.