Mullins in Hot Water With TCO2 Complaint

Trainer Jeff Mullins, already on probation following a 20-day suspension for a Class 2 medication violation earlier this year, could face an additional 70 days after being accused in a second California Horse Racing board complaint.

According to a CHRB statement released Aug. 15, one of Mullins' horses exceeded the regulatory threshold for total carbon dioxide in a blood sample taken prior to an Aug. 3 race and tested by the Ken Maddy equine laboratory at the University of California-Davis.

In January, the agency, following an administrative law judge's recommendation, slapped Mullins with a 90-day suspension stemming from a 2006 mepivacaine case, a Class 2 violation. Mullins served 20 days, with the balance stayed by the CHRB under the condition that the trainer have no further violations for a one-year period.

The CHRB now alleges that the Mullins-trained Pathbreaking exceeded the regulatory threshold of 37.0 milliliters for TCO2, a Class 3 violation. Pathbreaking finished third in the third race Aug. 3 at Del Mar.

Rick Arthur, the CHRB's equine medical director, confirmed that Mullins would face the full penalty in the mepivacaine decision in addition to any further discipline he's subject to for violating the TCO2 standard, commonly referred to as "milkshaking."

"He's got a problem," Arthur said. "(The decision) said he cannot have any violations for one year."

Del Mar stewards have scheduled hearing Aug. 20  to consider the disqualification of Pathbreaking and partial redistribution of the purse. A hearing for Mullins is pending.

"He's got some options," Arthur noted. "He can go before a hearing officer or the board of stewards."

Mullins' earlier suspension, from Feb. 15 through March 5, came after an administrative law judge found him in violation of three CHRB rules in connection with mepivacaine, a local anesthetic commonly used in equine veterinary procedures. The horse, Robs Coin, was found to have 30 nanongrams of mepivacaine per milliliter of urine in his system, exceeding the regulatory limit of 10 nanograms.

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