03/09/2005 12:00AM

Mullins, Canani starters released from quarantine barn restriction

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainers Julio Canani and Jeff Mullins, both of whom had horses test positive for excessive levels of carbon dioxide at the Santa Anita meeting, will no longer be required to transfer their entrants to a 24-hour prerace detention barn effective Friday.

The penalties were issued by a consortium of racing organizations - Santa Anita, the Thoroughbred Owners of California, and California Thoroughbred Trainers - that has conducted carbon dioxide testing since the Santa Anita meeting began on Dec. 26.

The penalty for a trainer with a positive test is to transfer entrants to a detention barn for 24 hours before each start. That lasts for 30 days, then the trainer's entrants are placed under surveillance in their own stable for 15 days. Starters for both Canani and Mullins will be under surveillance in their own stables beginning on Friday through March 25.

Vladimir Cerin and Adam Kitchingman, who also have had horses test positive, will have their starters placed in a 24-hour detention barn until Monday and March 25, respectively.

Mullins had 36 starters placed in a detention barn from Feb. 9 through Wednesday. Through Sunday, Mullins had won with 4 of 34 such starters, including 3 of his last 8. He had two starters on Wednesday's program.

Canani's starters were initially under surveillance at his stable from Feb. 9-15, while the consortium's review committee evaluated the circumstances of the positive. During that period he had 1 winner from 6 starters. The committee then decided to have Canani's horses placed in a 24-hour detention barn. Canani had 1 winner from 2 starters from Feb. 16 through Sunday. On Wednesday he finished first and second in a maiden race on turf with his only starters of the day.

Since their first positives, Mullins and Canani had not come close to further positives, according to Rick Arthur, a veterinarian and spokesman for the group that is conducting the testing.

"We've been pleased with the [carbon dioxide] testing" from those stables, Arthur said. "We've seen the averages drop as well as the highs."

When informed of that development, Mullins was angered. He said he repeatedly has asked the consortium for data on his starters and has even conducted his own blood tests. He said no data on testing levels has been forwarded to him, and that blood tests have taken "almost two weeks" to complete.

"I haven't gotten a printed page," he said.

Arthur said the raceday surveillance at the barn will be similar to raceday surveillance conducted during the Oak Tree meeting last fall on random races.

"Backstretch security will make a special effort to be in the barn when they have a horse in," Arthur said. "They will have people going in and out, not staying there all the time. They won't know when security will be there."

Mullins said the carbon dioxide positive forced changes in the way he feeds horses. He contends the positive occurred via a feed supplement.

"We had to change," he said. "We had to stop giving feed supplements three days out."

Canani declined to comment on his stable's positive test.

Arthur said that testing had been completed through Monday with no further positives.