Thoroughbred trainer Tina Nicks was called in for a hearing pursuant to Arkansas Racing Commission (ARC) rule #2094 on February 20th. Trainer Nicks was advised via written notice in advance as she was entitled to an explanation of the charges brought before her.
A list of charges was brought up before her based on testimony of a “Witness”. Nicks had 5 stalls in barn 27 at Oaklawn Park for the 2019 meet. She was also in charge of the care of 7 horses that were being kept at a training facility off track owned by James Lovett. The facility is located on Whited Farm Road in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
On or about February 16th, 2019 a report came in by an anonymous caller that horses under the care of Tina Nicks were held up in unkept stalls, underfed and not let out of their enclosure for days. Based on photographic evidence obtained by the stewards via former trainer Hal Wiggins, who is currently Oaklawn’s Integrity Officer along with Backstretch Security Officer James Ingrim, the stalls were filled with feces and urine. The horses themselves standing in un-bedded stalls.
Ms. Nicks indicated she was sick for 10 days however it was found that the horses only had enough feed for 5 days. Oaklawn Park stepped in and provided feed and hired someone to look over the horses to ensure that they were fed and taken care of.
The following charges have been found;
- The Stewards find that Ms. Nicks is in violation of 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 Stewards find that questionable conduct was exhibited by Ms. Nicks in violation of ARC Rule #2083.
- The Stewards find that Ms. Nicks also violated ARC Rule #2117 (B) (2) as it is the trainer’s responsibility to guard and protect all horses in the trainer’s care
- Pursuant to ARC Rule #2068, which gives the Stewards authority to punish Ms. Nicks for violations of ARC rules, the Stewards further find that pursuant to ARC Rule #2094 (A) and (B) the Stewards have reasonable cause for the Stewards to reach these conclusions.
The following sanctions have been imposed as a result of the ARC’s findings;
The Stewards hereby suspend from racing Ms. Nicks for a period of six months beginning February 24, 2019 through and including August 24, 2019.
During her suspension Ms. Nicks is not permitted on the grounds of any licensed racetrack or training facility in Arkansas.
Pursuant to ARC Rule #1126, during the period of suspension, all horses being trained by Ms. Nicks may not be transferred to a family member or employee of Ms. Nicks. All horse transfers must be approved by the Oaklawn Park Stewards.