Updated on 09/17/2011 10:37AM

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California panel handled inquiry in poor fashion

Jeff Mullins, a shrewd horseman who trains for the very astute owner Richard Englander, is being scrutinized unfairly by the California Horse Racing Board for winning a race with a horse with whom others could not win ("Mullins maiden winner draws inquiry," May 25).

While the board's purpose is to uphold the integrity of the sport, its job is not to issue press releases that imply unsubstantiated allegations against a trainer simply because he is successful.

Apparently, the California racing board feels that trainers in Southern California are all of equal talent and horses should perform exactly the same, regardless of where they are stabled.

To question a trainer privately about his success with a horse is reasonable, but to issue public statements without any evidence of wrongdoing is stepping over the line of prudence. A trainer's good reputation is an important asset to his career, and to all but slander that reputation borders on criminality.

If the CHRB felt it necessary to issue a statement to reassure the public that it has investigated complaints, it should have done so with a conclusion of its findings that Mullins was determined to be innocent of any suspicious practices.

In the aftermath of the Jose Santos/Miami Herald debacle, one would think that the California board might have used more caution before opening its mouth and casting more unnecessary doubt over our industry. Unlike Santos, Mullins may experience some fallout from this unfounded implication, and that is an intolerable abuse of the board's authority.

Kathy Harty
Arcadia, Calif.

Sudden interest should be constant vigilance

In response to the California Horse Racing Board's investigation of the the alleged form reversal of a recent claim by trainer Jeff Mullins, I would like to say. . . "Excuse me!"

Why are California officials suddenly so concerned about suspicious form reversals? This has been going on unchecked, for the last 10 years at least.

Nobody is concerned in the least when it happens at a lesser track like Bay Meadows or Lone Star Park, so why the sudden concern about a few horses from the Mullins barn? I remember the days when trainers were routinely called before the stewards to explain the sudden improvement of their horses, recent claims or otherwise. The stewards' rulings were even published in, of all places, the Racing Form.

While I am no apologist for Mullins or any other trainer, I know several people who circulate on the backstretches at Southern California tracks and have been told more than once that Mullins is one of the finest horsemen they have ever seen and is sure to be one of the rising stars in the training profession.

Racing's overseers should look at the entire spectrum of trainers if they are so concerned about the suspect form reversal of horses racing in their jurisdiction. I personally would welcome such oversight of the game.

Carson Horton
Portland, Ore.

Probe reveals true callings

I enjoy the Daily Racing Form for many reasons, not the least of which is its humor. On May 25, for example, there was an article about a maiden winner of Jeff Mullins being investigated by the California Horse Racing Board. I don't know Mullins or the members of the board, but this investigation appears a bit odd.

If I understand the circumstances correctly, a trainer runs a maiden filly bred to run long on the turf in a sprint on dirt and the filly loses. He repeats this exercise in futility three more times with the same result. Mullins claims the filly and actually runs her on turf in a route race and she wins.

The conclusions I draw from this episode are that, first, the original trainer should likely leave his current position and get a job as a bloodstock agent. Second, the members of the CHRB should leave their current positions and become commercial breeders.

Tom Rossman
Lexington, Ky.

Test of the Champion now a human endurance test

Please tell me if I am understanding this latest scenario surrounding the Belmont Stakes ("Belmont post moved back," May 25).

1. On Belmont Day, the track opens at 8:30 a.m. for the first arrivals in an anticipated crowd of 125,000. This is 3 1/2 hours before the first race starts, at noon.

2. Ten hours and eight minutes later, at 6:38 p.m., the Belmont Stakes is supposed to start.

3. The completion of the day's racing card (the 13th race) is expected to take place at about 7:55 p.m., with the majority of the people not getting home until well after 9 p.m. Many will not get out of the parking lot until 9 p.m.

Why is attending Belmont 2003 in person now an event that requires inordinate dedication of racing fans, not to mention a fair amount of stupidity to put oneself in such a prolonged situation?

There must be some stupendous sports events that day that would require a television network to show the Belmont Stakes later than originally scheduled. NBC must have some beauts to telecast in a real heavy sports schedule June 7, such as women's tennis at the French Open, or maybe even arena football?

That's got to be it. Now I understand.

Alan Hirsch
Port Washington, N.Y.

Trainer defends his health care routine

The May 30 article "Excess Summer much improved under Mullins" about the claim of Excess Summer from my barn by trainer Jeff Mullins, may lead one to the conclusion that, as a Thoroughbred trainer, I do not use preventive veterinary procedures for horses under my care.

The article read as follows: "Mullins claimed Excess Summer, a son of In Excess, from Mike Machowsky for $40,000 off a neck win in his career debut. Mullins treated Excess Summer for worms, doctored his teeth, trained him on a permissible level of clenbuterol, and ran him back. Excess Summer improved more than four lengths one month later . . . ."

While Excess Summer was in my care, worming was performed on him at regularly prescribed intervals, and his teeth were floated.

I assume the article's point was that Mullins indicated that he just went on with prescribed veterinary procedures after he claimed the horse from my stable. There were no parasites in Excess Summer's system at the time the horse was claimed, and any assumption to the contrary would be wrong.

Mike Machowsky
Monrovia, Calif.

Crossing state lines violates higher law

When will everyone stop referring to Funny Cide as a New York-bred? Funny Cide is a New York-foaled. He was sired in Kentucky by a Kentucky stallion, Distorted Humor, and his dam was then driven to New York, where Funny Cide was foaled.

The racing gods would never allow a true New York-bred to win the Kentucky Derby, let alone shoot for a Triple Crown.

Carl Poehler
Northampton, Penn.