05/15/2009 12:00AM

Mullins hearing lasts six hours


The New York Racing Association on Thursday held a six-hour hearing with trainer Jeff Mullins over a security-barn violation that occurred at Aqueduct in April, but it adjourned without any action being taken. It is expected that further testimony from additional witnesses will be needed before NYRA decides what, if any, penalties will be issued.

Mullins has admitted giving the horse Gato Go Win the medication Air Power, akin to cough syrup, with an oral dose syringe in Aqueduct's race-day security barn just before the 3-year-old's expected start in the Bay Shore Stakes. The administration of anything other than Lasix in the security barn is considered a violation. The stewards scratched Gato Go Win from the Bay Shore.

The Bay Shore was run one-hour before the Wood Memorial, a race the Mullins-trained I Want Revenge won. The stewards deemed that Mullins did not attempt to treat I Want Revenge with anything, therefore allowed him to run.

As a result of the Gato Go Win situation, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board suspended Mullins seven days and fined him $2,500. The suspension was reduced from 15 days for Mullins waiving his right of appeal. Mullins served the penalty from May 3-9.

NYRA, however, still has the option to further penalize Mullins through its Barn Area Violations Panel which can deny Mullins stalls, deny his horses from being entered in NYRA races, or fine him.

The usual three members of the BAVP panel - NYRA steward Braulio Baeza, NYRA vice-president/security Ken Cook, and New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association executive director Jim Gallagher - did not participate in Thursday's hearing for various reasons.

Those hearing the case included David Smukler, NYRA senior vice president of human resources and labor relations and Bruce McAleavy, who works as an assistant to Cook. The panel hearing administrator was Avi Gesser, an attorney in the law firm, Davis and Polk. Neil Getnick, a member of a law firm retained by NYRA to deal with integrity issues, and his business partner and wife, Margaret Finerty, were also involved in the hearing, according to NYRA's president, Charles Hayward.

Mullins flew in from Southern California for the hearing that began at Belmont Park at 10:20 a.m. and lasted until approximately 4:30 p.m., according to Karen Murphy, the attorney representing Mullins who will have to return when the panel is reconvened at a yet-to-be-determined date.

Murphy was critical of this hearing, given the fact that it was not held with the usual BAVP members and it comes in light of penalties already handed out to Mullins.

"It's not about Jeff, it's not about Gato Go Win, it's not about his owners who have already been penalized, it's not about the industry, it's about NYRA exercising police power," Murphy said.

Said Hayward: "We're trying to enforce the rules of the security barn we feel were violated."