02/25/2005 12:00AM

Tampa rider barred from track


The Tampa Bay Downs exercise rider and jockey who was arrested Thursday for carrying an electrical device in the paddock has been barred from Tampa Bay Downs, the track's general manager, Peter Berube, said Friday.

The rider, Larry Mejias, remained in the Hillsborough County jail Friday after being charged that morning with cheating and attempting to prearrange the outcome of a horse race, two Class 3 felonies in Florida. According to the sheriff's office, Mejias had not posted a $4,000 bond as of late Friday afternoon.

Mejias was caught with the electrical device, also known as a buzzer, before the third race. He was scheduled to ride Rackelmylove for trainer Mauricio Nunez, but the track's director of security intervened after spotting the device in Mejias's hand before the race. Rackelmylove was scratched.

Buzzers, typically the size and shape of a screwdriver handle, are used to deliver mild electric shocks to horses while racing. The devices are illegal in all racing jurisdictions.

Mejias, 39, who had ridden four horses at the current Tampa meet without any winners and had 27 winless mounts in 2004, told investigators that he was acting on his own.