Zia Park Asst. Starter Found With Electrical Device

POSTED ON  |  03-01-2021

Zia Park
An assistant starter at Zia Park has been summarily suspended and excluded from New Mexico Racing Commission grounds after being found in possession of an electrical device before the start of racing there Dec. 22. In a ruling posted on the Association of Racing Commissioners International website, Jaime Aldavaz Jr. was also cited for disruptive behavior "interfering with the orderly conduct of this race meet." The electrical device was discovered during a search by the Lea County Drug Enforcement Agency.

Although the ruling did not describe the electrical device, such an item is generally referred to as a "buzzer." A jockey can use one in an attempt to urge a horse to run faster by delivering an electrical shock, and its use and possession are prohibited.

Riders are usually the individuals disciplined for possession of electrical devices, such as jockey Denny Velazquez, who was suspended a year by stewards at Canterbury Park after being found in possession of an electrical device and a loaded firearm during a search of his vehicle this summer in Minnesota.

Assistant starters come in close contact with jockeys, leading horses into the starting gate, which could provide an opportunity for an electrical device to be transferred to a rider. According to NMRC executive director Ismael "Izzy" Trejo, the NMRC is unaware of involvement by any other licensees with regard to the electrical device found. 

Trejo wrote in an email that the disruptive behavior of Aldavaz cited in the ruling was related to an attempt "to get the entire gate crew to walk off the job and disrupt the race card with a cancellation due to no assistant starters. He had them convinced until they listened to reason. One assistant starter who is allegedly a relative of Aldavaz stuck with him and walked off the job. I do not have his name at this time."

© 2015 IGSRV All rights reserved.