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Jockey banned for 10 years after using an electrical device

A jockey who thought he notched a first winner since returning from injury has now been banned for 10 years, thanks to some eagle-eyed punters on Facebook

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A jockey has been banned for ten years and fined £3,600 for using an electrical shocking device punters spotted in a quickly deleted photo.

Tomas Mejia, from Panama, had a winner at Monmouth Park, New Jersey, rescinded after stewards were alerted to an image that appeared to show two prongs sticking out of the rider’s left hand.

The prongs, spotted by eagle-eyed punters, looked like they were part of a battery or electrical shocking device.

The photo had been posted on Monmouth Park’s official Facebook page to mark Mejia, from Panama, riding his first winner since returning from injury in July.

Having already racked up 110 wins to his name in the US, he beat 4-5 favourite Mumbai by a neck in the seventh race on the card.



Tomas Meija has been banned for 10 years for using an electrical shocking device (right)
(

Image:

Ray Paulick/Twitter)




The 23-year-old was promptly stood down from all his remaining rides on Friday and an investigation was opened the following day.

On September 15, the probe concluded: “Upon entering the winners’ circle and prior to dismounting from the horse Strongerthanuknow on September 10, 2021, Tomas Mejia was in possession of a prohibited electrical device.”

Stewards also recommended that Mejia’s jockey licence be permanently revoked.

“In addition to the penalty issued herein, the Board of Stewards refers this matter to the New Jersey Racing Commission and recommends the permanent revocation of Mr Mejia’s New Jersey Racing Commission licence.”









The ruling however, did not address whether Strongerthanuknow had been disqualified from his narrow win in the race, that took place over five furlongs on turf.

Mejia, who has been racing in the US since 2018, is now banned until September 2031 and he is barred from all grounds under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Racing Commission.

A ten-year ban is one of the biggest to be ever dished out in horse racing, although it matches that of top Australian rider Jason Waddell. The 35-year-old was also banned for a decade after he made a threatening phone call to a racing official, and posted an insulting message on social media.

Batteries or shocking devices, often known as ‘jiggers’, deliver jolts to horses to make them run faster.

Their use has been the subject of much controversy in the past, especially in the Australian racing industry, where they were eventually curbed during race meets once stewards vision of races improved with the introduction of video surveillance.


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