Trainer Jeff Mullins can resume training after a San Diego, Calif. Superior Court on May 27 granted a stay of the California Horse Racing Board's 30-day suspension stemming from a medication violation.
The stay, granted by Judge Yuri Hoffman, is in effect until next Tuesday, June 2, when a hearing will be conducted on Mullins’s application for a further stay. The suspension, which Mullins began serving May 9, 2010, stemmed from 2008 TCO2 violation imposed by the CHRB.
"After exhausting all of the administrative remedies through the CHRB, I had no choice but to go outside to seek justice," Mullins said in a statement. "I look forward to being back in the court room on Tuesday and am very grateful to return to the job I love so much this weekend."
A CHRB spokesman said the board would have no comment on the judge's action.
The ruling came in response to a "writ of mandamus" appealing the CHRB’s actions. In the complaint filed on behalf of Mullins, Los Angeles attorney James Maniscalco contended that the California Horse Racing Board "Violated its own rules, the laws, and Constitution of the state of California, and the United States Constitution" in its handling of the Mullins case. (Related story)
Mullins was serving a 30-day suspension for a TCO2 positive test on the horse Pathbreaking, who finished third in a race at Del Mar Aug. 3, 2008. According to the CHRB, the horse exceeded the regulatory threshold for total carbon dioxide, a Class 3 violation. Excessive levels of TCO2 have been associated with the prohibited practice of "milkshaking," in which baking soda is administered to a horse.
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.