In a photo from September 3rd of STRONGTHANUKNOW after winning an allowance race, a mysterious object was noticed in the hand of jockey Tomas Mejia. Something metallic with what appeared to be two probes was sticking out from his hand in which he held his reins. He went on to win a race on AFFABLE MONARCH, a two-year-old maiden race (pictured above) on September 6th. He was taken off all mounts last Friday, September 10th.
The photo was subsequently removed from the track's Facebook page and the stewards ordered him off all mounts last weekend. A hearing was held Wednesday and the 10-year ban and $5000 fine was issued Thursday. The ruling referred to the photographic evidence stating, "Upon entering the winner's circle and prior to dismounting from the horse STRONGERTHANUKNOW on Sept. 3, 2021, Tomas Mejia was in possession of a prohibited electrical device." This is in violation of New Jersey Racing Commission rules NJAC 13:70-14.5 (a) (d) (e) and NJAC 13:70-1.15.
The Monmouth stewards concluded that the jockey used a battery or electrical shocking device when riding the horse in the race. The race was Mejia's first race since an accident on July 25th. The photo of the jockey commemorating his comeback win is where the device was noticed.
The suspension runs from September 10, 2021 to September 9, 2031. Mejia will be denied access to all grounds under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Racing Commission "for any and all purposes." Suspensions of this nature are enforced in other racing jurisdictions as well. The ruling does not address whether or not the horse will be disqualified from the $57,500 allowance race.
Mejia turned 26 on September 16 and is a native of Panama. He was the leading apprentice in his native country after grading from the Laffit Pincay Jr. Riding Academy there. He began riding in the US in 2018.
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