10/01/2007 11:00PM

Chapa banned five years for electrical device

EmailJockey Roman Chapa has begun serving a suspension issued for a minimum of five years by the New Mexico Racing Commission after he was found to be in possession of an electrical device. Chapa had appealed the ruling to district court, which on Sept. 11 upheld the commission.

Chapa was found to possess the electrical device following the sixth race at Sunland Park on Feb. 17, in which he finished fifth aboard Right Place N Time. The stewards suspended him for the balance of the Sunland meet and fined him $1,500. The case was then referred to the commission, which suspended Chapa.

Chapa had been riding on a stay granted by the district court. His last mount was on Sept. 13 at Retama Park near San Antonio. He may apply for reinstatement in 2012, according to Rosemary Leeder, manager of the racing commission. Chapa could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Chapa, 36, has long been a leading rider in the Southwest. He is a multiple title winner at Retama, and also won the riding title last year at Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M. Chapa also was the leading rider during the Fair Grounds meet run at Louisiana Downs in 2005-2006. He has won 1,612 races and has $22 million in mount earnings since launching his career in the early 1990s.