For Immediate Release:
January 20, 2015
PETA is not at all surprised that jockey Roman Chapa—who frequently rides for trainer Steve Asmussen, the subject of PETA’s complaint, who is still being investigated by the New York State Gaming Commission and federal officials—is now under investigation for possible buzzer use in Texas on Saturday. Chapa also rode and won for Asmussen on Saturday, and he has ridden nearly a thousand horses for the trainer. In video footage captured by PETA’s investigator, Asmussen assistant trainer Scott Blasi indicated that he was well aware of Chapa’s use of shock devices when he joked about an incident in which Chapa hid one in his mouth: “That silly-ass Roman Chapa put it in his mouth in New Mexico. They came in to shake him down, he stuck it in his mouth, then he spit it out in his wash bucket.” In its investigation of PETA’s complaints, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission did not talk to Chapa but instead interviewed D. Wayne Lukas—who is a member of the commission—about his statement on video that he used buzzers years earlier. There is no indication in its report that the commission questioned Asmussen about his frequent use of a jockey who has been suspended twice for using shock devices, nor apparently does the commission believe Blasi’s own statement in the video that he once asked jockey Ricardo Santana, “You got the machina?” referring to a shock device. PETA calls on the commission to look again—more comprehensively this time—at this issue. PETA is also preparing to release this week a full response to the commission’s report on our investigation and the commission’s omissions.