New Mexico Commission Suspends Buzzer Jockey 5 Years

The New Mexico Racing Commission has suspended a Sunland Park jockey caught at Sunland Park with a small device that generates an electric jolt to prod racehorses to run faster.

The racing license of Abdel Torres, 21, of Odessa, Texas, was suspended for five years, and he was fined $1,500 last week, said India Hatch, commission executive director.

A commission investigator, conducting a random jockey search, discovered the buzzer Feb. 21 wrapped in a bandage on Torres' wrist at Sunland Park racetrack, Hatch said.

A second buzzer was dropped by someone in the group of jockeys being searched, but investigators could not determine which jockey had it, she said Monday.

The horse Torres was riding before the discovery, Taken for a Dream, did not win the race, Hatch said.

Torres' racing license could be reinstated in three years, but he would remain on probation for two years after the reinstatement, she said.

Before the bust, a buzzer had not been found at any of the state's four racetracks in at least 10 years, Hatch said.

"If they're starting to reappear, we're just going to crack down. That's why we're here - to keep it clean," she said.