Trainer James Chapman was charged by Nassau County police with stalking fellow trainer Amira Chichakly at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
Belmont Park-based trainer James Chapman was charged with misdemeanor stalking by Nassau County police on Wednesday, according to Daily Racing Form.
Another trainer, Amira Chichakly, told the Paulick Report she contacted Nassau County police in May, seeking help after what she says has been years-long, on-and-off harassment by Chapman via text message and social media.
Chapman told DRF there had been a dispute between the two trainers involving round pens he placed between the two barns they occupy at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. The pens are used for horses to unwind after training. Chichakly said Chapman was told he could take the pens earlier this month as a means of ending the dispute, but that they are still at her barn at Belmont.
“This is not me gunning for any additional problems with him,” Chichakly said. “[The police] made the decision based on what was there because they said it was going to the next level. They made that call on their own based on what they saw … that's how severe things have been.”
Chichakly told DRF she asked Chapman on multiple occasions to “leave me alone. Stop texting me.”
Chichakly said she is not pressing charges against Chapman but understands the court can issue a temporary restraining order in stalking cases to protect the victim. She said Chapman has made threats against her young daughter, her horses, and her pets.
“I just want to be left alone,” she said.
Chichakly and Chapman both have horses running in a race carded for May 28. Chichakly told the Paulick Report NYRA has arranged for extra security in the paddock that day, but that she still doesn't feel comfortable being in the same space with him after his arrest.
“I feel I can't go to my own race on Sunday because of how uncomfortable this is making me,” she said. “And [NYRA] did not respect that. They still are not taking that seriously.”
Several days before Chichakly went to police, a video surfaced on social media purportedly recorded by Chapman that showed Anthony J. Stabile Jr. – licensed by the New York State Gaming Commission as a New York Racing Association television host and stable agent for one of Chichakly's owners – challenging Chapman during a verbal altercation.
The video appears to have been recorded in the Belmont stable area, where only licensed personnel and their guests are permitted. According to the gaming commission database, Stabile's current status is listed as “not able to participate” for both licenses. A spokesman for the NYSGC said there are no rulings available to the public concerning Stabile.
Stabile has not been on NYRA telecasts since the incident, and it isn't known if he is still employed by NYRA. Patrick McKenna, NYRA's vice president of communications, declined to respond to a message sent to him May 22 asking about Stabile's status.
On Thursday, asked by DRF to comment on Chapman's status, McKenna said, “NYRA is aware of this matter and will determine appropriate next steps after it is adjudicated by the Nassau County District Attorney's office.
Chapman, released on Thursday, reportedly pleaded not guilty to the stalking charge, which DRF said is a Class B misdemeanor that can lead to up to 90 days in jail, a fine, community service and probation.