Team Valor has ended its employment contract with Ralph Nicks, who took over training for the Kentucky-based stable of syndicated runners in January.Nicks and veterinarian David Bryant were suspended for 15 days and fined $5,000 last week after the vet was caught injecting a Team Valor entrant in the receiving barn at Belmont Park.Injecting any substance other than Salix on race day is prohibited in New York.
In explaining why Nicks was fired, stable president Barry Irwin said "Team Valor has a zero-tolerance policy with regards to drugs. We had no choice other than to do what we did."This was the most difficult business decision I've ever had to make, because we like Ralph and we think he is an outstanding horseman."Team Valor has distributed its horses among Todd Pletcher, Kiaran McLaughlin, Michael Matz, Rick Violette, Dale Romans, Chris Block and Mark Casse. It also plans to send horses to Niall O' Callahan, Mike Tomlinson and Ronnie Werner.