Judge Denies Request for Stay in Mullins Case

Trainer has hearing scheduled for June 2 before California Horse Racing Board.

A judge in California has denied a request to extend a temporary stay he granted trainer Jeff Mullins from serving a suspension handed down by the California Horse Racing Board.

During a hearing June 1, California Superior Court Judge Yuri Hofmann denied Mullins’ request to extend a stay he temporarily issued May 27 and which was in effect for four days. Mullins was issued the 30-day suspension after a horse he trained tested positive for an excessive level of total carbon dioxide in the blood following a race on Aug. 3, 2008.

Mullins began serving the suspension May 9 and filed suit against the CHRB May 14, citing a number of reasons why the suspension should not be imposed and alleging that the regulatory body violated his due process.

A statement from a spokesperson for Mullins said Hofmann declined the stay June 1, citing the ongoing proceedings before the CHRB. The statement said the CHRB has scheduled a June 2 hearing on the Mullins suspension; Hofmann will review the stay request again Aug. 3.

"It was an extraordinary measure we were seeking in the request for an extension to the stay," James Maniscalco, attorney for Mullins, said in the statement. "While we are disappointed, we respect Judge Hoffman’s decision and look forward to the opportunity to present a more complete argument regarding a stay in a fully noticed motion."

In a statement, Mullins reiterated that his constitutional rights of due process had been ignored by the CHRB and that he was committed to fighting the board.

"I’m encouraged by the overwhelming support I’m receiving from fellow trainers, owners, and horseplayers, and look forward to my day in court," Mullins’ statement said.

In imposing the suspension and $2,500 fine April 15, the CHRB said Mullins had violated the terms of probation from another case in 2006 that could result in an additional 70-day suspension. At the time of the CO2 positive, Mullins had served 20 days of an initial 90-day suspension for a previous medication violation. Seventy days of that suspension were stayed as long as he did not commit any other violations for a year.