05/09/2011 10:36AM

Mullins ordered to serve 70 days by California Horse Racing Board


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Trainer Jeff Mullins has been ordered to serve a 70-day suspension for a medication violation in 2006, the California Horse Racing Board ruled. The board made the ruling in an executive session on April 28, but did not release it until over the weekend.

Mullins’s suspension is scheduled to begin on June 1, and would run until Aug. 10, lasting through the second half of the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting and for about half of the Del Mar meeting, which begins on July 20. The 48-year-old trainer said on Sunday that he had not been formally served with a suspension ruling, and said he wanted to discuss the matter with his attorney before proceeding.

During the term of the suspension, Mullins must relinquish his stalls and remove stable identifying items such as tack, training equipment, and signage, according to racing board rules adopted in 2008.

Mullins was suspended for 90 days after one of his horses tested positive for the anesthetic mepivacaine, which is not allowed to appear in post-race tests. Mullins served 20 days of the penalty in early 2008, with the other 70 days stayed provided he did not have any further violations for medications in classes 1, 2, or 3 during a one-year period. During that probationary period, Mullins had a horse test in excess of the permitted level of total carbon dioxide at Del Mar in August 2008.

Mullins requested a hearing on the 70-day penalty. The case was heard by hearing officer Steffan Imhoff, who recommended to the racing board that the penalty be reduced to 40 days.

Last December, the racing board rejected Imhoff’s proposal, saying at the time that it would issue a decision of its own. The board had the option of accepting, rejecting or modifying Imhoff’s proposed decision, and reached its decision late last month.