03/19/2015 9:08AM

Jockey Chapa charged with lying to investigators

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Coady Photography/DRF Illustration
Quiet Acceleration and jockey Roman Chapa win the Richard King Stakes on Jan. 17. Chapa is charged with a felony for allegedly using a buzzer during the race.

Roman Chapa, the Texas jockey suspended for five years for allegedly using an electrical device on a horse, was arrested Wednesday morning shortly before an arraignment on a felony charge of attempting to fix a race and charged with lying to investigators, according to Texas officials.

The additional charge was lodged by Harris County, Texas, prosecutors following the release of an indictment last week by a county grand jury. The indictment mirrored the charge of unlawful influence on racing, a felony that Chapa had already been charged with by Harris County prosecutors following an investigation one week after Chapa’s ride in a Jan. 17 race at Sam Houston came under suspicion.

Chapa remained in custody Thursday morning, according to Jeff McShan, a spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney’s office. He will be eligible to post bond later today, McShan said.

During the investigation, Chapa had said that he did not attempt to contact Sam Houston’s track photographer, Jack Coady, about a picture Coady posted on the track’s website that appears to show an object in Chapa’s left hand. The investigators said that Chapa’s phone records proved that he did contact the photographer, according to a statement provided by the Harris County District Attorney’s office. 

Chapa, 43, was suspended indefinitely by Sam Houston stewards two days after the race. Two weeks ago, the state racing commission suspended the jockey for five years, the harshest penalty it could levy. The executive director of the racing commission later approved a $100,000 fine.

Chapa has been suspended three times during his career for using an object on a horse.