Accusations of cheating in horse racing are not taken lightly by the Texas Racing Commission, and some of the most recent allegations of unsportsmanlike conduct have actually led to legal action in the state. Roman Eric Chapa, the jockey at the center of the investigation, has denied accusations that arose shortly after he won a $50,000 race. Despite his objections, he now faces a felony charge.
Suspicions of possible misconduct were raised by a photograph that was snapped just before Chapa and his horse, Quiet Acceleration, crossed the finish line at Sam Houston Race Park. The picture appears to show a small object partially concealed by the man's hand. Some believe that the small object is actually a device that is designed to administer electric shocks to the animal, which apparently causes the horse to run faster.
Chapa said that he believes that the picture was manipulated to display the device in his hand as a way to frame him for an offense that he did not commit. He also reportedly attempted to have the picture removed from circulation. It is unclear whether the picture was removed per his request.
According to Texas state records, in 2002, Chapa spent 10 days behind bars following allegations that he was cruel to a dog. In 2012, he had to pay a $100 fine after someone supposedly witnessed him striking a horse's face at a race track. No matter what charges or convictions an individual has faced in the past, prior criminal records do not indicate guilt in relation to current charges faced by an individual.
Individuals facing a felony charge in Texas generally benefit from the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. With the guidance of counsel, it may be possible to have charges reduced or dismissed. It may also be possible to defeat the charges in court. Regardless of the outcome, the help of a defense attorney ensures that the accused's rights are protected.
Source: click2houston.com, "Photo of winning jockey leads to criminal charges", Robert Arnold, Jan. 26, 2015