Horse Racing

Mejia Taken Off Monmouth Park Mounts, Has Hearing Scheduled After Suspicious Photo Surfaces

Jockey Tomas Mejia aboard Strongerthanuknow following a Sept. 3 win at Monmouth Park

Jockey Tomas Mejia was taken off his mounts this past weekend by order of the stewards at Monmouth Park and a hearing will be conducted on Sept. 15, presumably revolving around a suspicious photo that appears to show an object in the rider’s left hand following a Sept. 3 comeback win at the Oceanport, N.J., track.

Mejia rode Colts Neck Stable’s Strongerthanuknow to victory in the seventh race that day for trainer Jorge Duarte Jr., defeating 9-10 favorite Mumbai by a neck after rallying in deep stretch.

A photo of Mejia aboard the filly taken by the track photographer was posted on Monmouth Park’s Facebook page commemorating the fact it was his first mount since being injured in a July 25 spill at Monmouth. The photo was subsequently removed after officials were alerted to what appeared to be an object in Mejia’s left hand, but a copy of the photo was also circulating on Twitter.

The New Jersey Racing Commission does not permit its stewards to talk to the media and a spokesperson for the commission did not respond to a query on Sept. 10 about the reason for the Sept. 15 hearing. A track spokesperson also declined to comment. Mejia’s agent, Robert Tuccille, did not respond to phone calls or voice messages from Paulick Report.

Mejia, a native of Panama  and graduate of that country’s Laffit Pincay Jr. jockey academy, won two additional races over the Labor Day weekend, winning with three of 10 total mounts. With 19 wins from 149 mounts at the current meet, he ranks ninth among Monmouth Park jockeys in that category. He’s won a total of 110 races in the U.S. since 2018, when he arrived from Panama, where he was the leading apprentice. His most noteworthy victory came last Sept. 13 when he rode 158-1 longshot Andrez Conquist to a victory that established a new Monmouth Park record for a $2 parimutuel win payoff of $319.80.


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