01/25/2010 12:00AM

Hearing set into debt to Mullins by IEAH


The Southern California stewards have scheduled a financial compliance hearing on Feb. 3 at Santa Anita to look into why the IEAH Stables has not paid trainer Jeff Mullins his share of the purse and other race-related expenses connected with I Want Revenge's victory in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct last April.

According to Mike Marten, executive director of the California Horse Racing Board, the stewards have broad powers in financial matters, including the ability to suspend an owner's license. Though based in New York, IEAH does have a California owner's license.

Mullins said he sought the help of the California stewards after he said he got no assistance from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, which he first contacted last August. New York board officials did not respond Monday to inquiries about this matter.

Mullins claims IEAH owes him $31,336.04 from the Wood, which includes $20,625 in purse earnings and the balance due in race-related expenses. Mullins said David Lanzman, who owns half of I Want Revenge along with IEAH, has paid him.

Lanzman was the original owner of I Want Revenge. On March 25, he sold half-interest in the colt to IEAH. As part of the sale, Lanzman received one-quarter interest in the champion filly Stardom Bound from IEAH.

Since June, Lanzman and IEAH have brought lawsuits against each other relating to I Want Revenge, who was scratched from the Kentucky Derby the morning of the race because of an ankle injury. Lanzman sued IEAH for breach of contract for selling shares in I Want Revenge, while IEAH countersued Lanzman, alleging he failed to disclose what he knew about the colt's injuries well in advance of the Derby.

Representatives of both Lanzman and IEAH said there could be a resolution to those lawsuits this week. Michael Meuser, the Kentucky-based attorney representing Lanzman, said there is a hearing scheduled for Friday in a Fayette, Ky., circuit court seeking to dismiss IEAH's countersuit.

Michael Iavarone, president of IEAH Stables, acknowledged that Mullins has not been paid but would not comment on the reasons why. He indicated, however, that a resolution to the ownership of I Want Revenge and Stardom Bound could come this week.

"I'm hopeful we're in the final stages of reaching a reasonable solution, including sorting out any and all outstanding issues," Iavarone said Monday.

Part of the issue involves a $1.425 million payment IEAH was contractually obligated to pay Lanzman last Nov. 9 to buy out his share of Stardom Bound, according to Meuser. Stardom Bound, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., is currently stabled in California and being pointed to the Grade 1 Santa Maria on Feb. 13.

I Want Revenge is in light training on LaCroix Farm in Kentucky, and could be sent to a trainer in either Florida or California once the ownership issue is resolved.

Meanwhile, Mullins said he has been frustrated in his attempts to get paid by IEAH for the Wood Memorial victory, which happened two months before any lawsuits were filed by either owner. When he sought the New York State Racing and Wagering Board's assistance last summer, he received a letter from the board's attorney Robert Feuerstein that read, "it's unclear to me at this time that any obligations to you are not encompassed in pending litigation" between IEAH and Lanzman.