Roman Chapa : Family, Net Worth, Parents, Wife, Children and Cause of Death

Roman Eric Chapa, a jockey whose promising early career got derailed by repeated rulings-off for using illegal devices to shock horses into running faster, died July 27.Reportedly, the 50-year-old Texan succumbed to devastating injuries he sustained during a March accident while riding in an unsanctioned race in Georgia. During his hospitalization, a loved one said he spent 45 days during a medically-induced coma.

Because of his recent inability to realize licensure at many of the Southwest tracks where he had once been a number one Thoroughbred and saddle horse jockey, Chapa had attempted over the past six years to earn a living by riding at “bush tracks” that exist primarily within the South.

Family and Wife

Roman Chapa was married with wife Casey.The Blood-Horse first reported Chapa’s death, citing social media postings from his wife and relations .“He leaves behind three beautiful daughters, precious grandkids, two families on each side who loved him,” a sister-in-law, Danya Jegede, wrote on Facebook.TDN couldn’t immediately confirm the racing-related details of Chapa’s accident in Georgia.But if true, it might be the second catastrophic fall from a racehorse at a bush track that Chapa had sustained within the past four years.

Career and Controvercies

On July 30, 2017, Chapa–arguably the foremost accomplished professional rider on the bush circuit–fell awkwardly after his saddle horse mount during a 250-yard match race veered in sharply and bumped with a rival runner at a Memphis, Tennessee, track referred to as “Carril el Gringo.”

Numerous Facebook photos and videos documented the spill at the time. Both rails of the Memphis straightaway were full of tailgating fans who cheered lustily. Festive music blared and beer flowed. Horses broke from a rusty, four-stall gate and there was even a photo-finish camera to settle close races.

When Chapa went down, chaos ensued. Onlookers rushed to the stricken rider because the announcer shouted shrilly over the loudspeaker for people to remain off the track.In subsequent weeks, Chapa’s relations posted medical updates on social media. His injuries were detailed as three broken ribs ahead , five broken ribs in back, a collapsed lung, three fractured vertebrae, and kidney function difficulties.

But Chapa came over and commenced to enhance . On Aug. 22, 2017, his daughter, Samantha Chapa, posted on Facebook several photos of her father leaving Regional One Health Extended Care Hospital in Memphis. albeit he was wearing a brace , in round Chapa’s arms were raised within the familiar salute-to-God pose that was his customary area gesture.

Chapa, a graded stakes-winning jockey who won 1,722 races and earned $25.9 million in purses at sanctioned Thoroughbred tracks, began his career at now-defunct Bandera Downs in Texas on Apr. 25, 1993.

In 1994, when Chapa was still an apprentice, investigators found a nail wrapped in tape (to form alittle handle) in his belongings before a race at Gillespie County Fair in Texas. Chapa denied that the nail was intended to scare a horse in to running faster, claiming that he instead used it to form holes in his stirrups. He served a nine-month suspension and was fined $2,500.

The Houston Press reported that in 2001, Chapa was charged with one felony count of cruelty to animals when a sheriff’s deputy skilled a call a few man reportedly beating a Boxer dog with a leather strap. Chapa pled guilty to a lesser offense and served 10 days in jail.

At Sunland Park in 2007, Chapa was caught with an electrical shocking device during a saddle horse race. New Mexico regulators gave him a five-year suspension, but his license ended up getting reinstated on a probationary basis in May 2011.

Bizarrely, Chapa’s most highly-publicized infraction involved self-implication when he became aware that alittle section of a finish-line photograph showed him holding an illegal electrical horse shocking device while winning a stakes race at Houston Race Park (SHRP) on Jan. 17, 2015.

That tiny photographic detail that was only observable under magnification–and then as long as you were trying to find it–might have gone unnoticed until Chapa, during a panic, contacted the track photographer subsequent day, demanding the removal of that fairly standard inside-rail photograph from the SHRP website because it had been a “bad” picture.

The track photographer initially told Chapa he had no idea what the jockey was talking about. But upon closer inspection, an enlarged portion of that photograph revealed a tan, palm-sized device with protruding prongs in Chapa’s partially closed left where the underside of his fist met the reins. The photographer contacted track executives, who passed the case along to regulators and enforcement officials.

The Texas Racing Commission suspended Chapa for five years and fined him $100,000, believed to be the very best monetary penalty ever issued to a us jockey.

Chapa also faced criminal charges associated with that buzzer case. In 2017 he pled guilty to felony criminal charges of creating false statements to a state investigator (lying about his knowledge of the photograph). Chapa was given an order of deferred adjudication and placed on “community supervision” probation for 10 years, while a related felony charge of “unlawful influence on racing” was dismissed.

Chapa was granted early release from his probation in 2019 and managed to pay off his massive six-figure fine–presumably with money he earned by riding at bush tracks during his banishment from sanctioned circuits.

On Feb. 27, 2020, Chapa got his riding license reinstated by the Texas commission. But SHRP officials immediately issued a “permanent exclusion” order when he tried to ride there, using personal property rights to stay him off the racetrack.

Chapa was similarly rebuffed after meeting with stewards at New Mexico’s Sunland Park in March 2020. Several weeks later, the saddle horse stewards at Remington Park in Oklahoma denied his application, citing “conduct throughout his career has been unsportsmanlike and detrimental to the simplest interest of racing .”

On June 8, 2020, Arapahoe Park in Colorado was the primary sanctioned track to permit Chapa to resume riding.Bruce Seymore, Arapahoe’s head , told TDN at the time that “Everybody that desires to undertake to urge themselves straight deserves a second chance … i feel somebody goes to jail and serves their time, they need a right to rebuild their life.”

Chapa won eight Thoroughbred races and three saddle horse races at Arapahoe last summer before moving on to win one race with each breed at Sweetwater Downs in Wyoming in September.Although races on the carril circuit are openly advertised and promoted on social media, there are not any formal race records to trace where and when Chapa may need spent the time between October 2020 and March 2021 trying to earn a living as a jockey.