A report on the Arkansas Racing Commission's “whistleblower hotline” has led to a six-month suspension of Tina Marie Nicks' training license for equine neglect. On Feb. 16, the hotline received notice that seven horses trained by Nicks and located at James Lovett's off-track training facility were “in unkept stalls and that the horses were underfed and had not been out of their stalls for several days.”
According to the official ruling: “Oaklawn's Integrity Officer Hal Wiggins, a former longtime trainer, and Backstretch Security Manager James Ingram were dispatched by Oaklawn to the training center. Pictures of the horses in their stalls were taken and presented to the Stewards. Mr. Wiggins reported and the pictures indicated that the horses were lacking in proper care, were standing in unbedded stalls filled with urine and feces and, in several cases, were showing they had been underfed.
“The owner of the training center, Mr. Lovett, had provided some hay and feed for the horses which Sergio Vazquez, who works for Mr. Lovett, had provided feed and care to the horses for a period of 10 days.”
Nicks indicated she had been ill and unable to care for the seven horses at the training center for a period of 10 days.
Nicks was found guilty of violating Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC) rule #1269, which deals with the humane treatment of her horses that were at the training center and Ark. Code Ann 5-62-103 which prohibits cruelty to animals.
The duration of Nicks' suspension is scheduled from February 24, 2019 through through August 24, 2019. During her suspension, all Nicks-trained horses may not be transferred to family or her employees, and transfers must be approved by the Oaklawn stewards.
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