06/12/2004 12:00AM

New York suspends vet and trainer for 15 days


Trainer Ralph Nicks and veterinarian David Bryant were each suspended 15 days and fined $5,000 by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board after Bryant was observed administering a shot to Woodford Lad on the morning of the day he was to race.

Both Nicks and Bryant were suspended for 30 days, but had the time reduced by half for waiving their right of appeal. Nicks' suspension was to begin Sunday. The stewards gave Bryant a few days to get his affairs in order before ordering his suspension to begin.

Nicks, who is stabled at Saratoga, where he trains privately for Team Valor Stables, shipped Woodford Lad to Belmont on Tuesday night. Woodford Lad, an unraced 3-year-old colt, was entered in Wednesday's sixth race. According to Carmine Donofrio, the wagering board steward, New York Racing Association investigators observed Bryant giving the horse a shot in his stall in the receiving barn on Wednesday morning. It is illegal to give a horse any shot other than Lasix on the day it is to race.

According to Donofrio, Nicks had planned to scratch the horse, but had not done so by the time Bryant administered a calcium shot.

Nicks and Donofrio have been placed on probation by the board for a one-year period.