02/11/2015 11:01AM

Sam Houston stewards deny Chapa's appeal

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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.

Stewards at Sam Houston Race Park have denied an appeal lodged by jockey Roman Chapa, ruling on Tuesday afternoon that an allegation that the rider used an electrical device on a horse at the track in January “constitutes an immediate danger to the public health, safety, and welfare.”

Under the ruling, Chapa has been granted a full hearing Feb. 27 but will remain unable to ride until then. Chapa was suspended by the Sam Houston stewards Jan. 19, two days after a photograph of him riding Quiet Acceleration to victory in the Richard King Stakes appeared to show the jockey holding a device in his left hand, on the rail side of the track.

Chapa was later charged with a felony by the Harris County District Attorney following an investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The investigator claimed that Chapa asked Sam Houston’s track photographer to remove the picture after it was posted, and that Chapa claimed the photograph had been altered.

A hearing into the felony charge is scheduled for March 18.

Chapa has twice been suspended for using a foreign object on a horse, in 1994 in Texas and in 2007 in New Mexico. The 2007 ban lasted five years.