07/12/2001 12:00AM

Timphony is suspended for delay in euthanasia


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Trainer Vincent Timphony, who won the inaugural Breeders' Cup Classic in 1984 with the longshot Wild Again, has been suspended for 15 days by Hollywood Park stewards for the manner in which he cared for one his horses, who suffered a fatal injury at Santa Anita last winter.

Stewards Pete Pedersen, George Slender, and Tom Ward on Wednesday suspended Timphony from July 18 through Aug. 1 for "failure to follow proper procedures in the care of his horse."

Pretty Nicole, a 4-year-old, injured a sesamoid while exercising at Santa Anita on Dec. 22, 2000 and was euthanized four days later.

According to testimony at a hearing at Hollywood Park on July 6, Timphony delayed authorizing either surgery or euthanasia for Pretty Nicole because he was unable to reach the horse's owner, Michael Neumann, who races under the name Harlequin Stables and was on a ski trip. According to B. William Bell, the state veterinarian, Pretty Nicole suffered sesamoid injuries to her left foreleg.

"It was a question of judgment," Pedersen said, explaining the suspension. "At some point, the trainer has to be responsible. The care of the horse comes first."

According to Timphony's attorney, David Jones, an appeal of the suspension will be filed on Monday or Tuesday.

Jones said that Neumann had written a letter of support on behalf of Timphony that was presented at the hearing.

"He said he did not believe that Mr. Timphony would mistreat a horse," Jones said, referring to Neumann's letter. "He made a plea to the stewards, and they disregarded it."

Timphony did not return phone calls placed to his Santa Anita barn on Thursday.