The New York Racing Association barred the trainer from Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga on Friday (Oct. 30) for violating its barn rules by giving one of his horses an unknown substance and then providing conflicting information about it.
"Racing integrity is a top priority for the New York Racing Association at all times," Neil Getnick, a lawyer for the firm that represents the racing association's integrity counsel, said Friday. "Today's penalty reinforces NYRA's commitment to maintaining a level playing field for our owners, trainers and the public."
The penalty is particularly tough in that NYRA will not allow Mullins to transfer his horses to anyone else–a common practice among suspended trainers–to circumvent the ban. The ruling involves only New York's tracks, leaving Mullins free to run his horses elsewhere, including Santa Anita Park, where he plans to run a horse in next week's Breeders' Cup.
Mullins, who trains I Want Revenge, is based in California. His lawyer, Karen Murphy, was upset with the ruling, saying NYRA was on a "witch hunt."
"What NYRA has done is grossly irresponsible, wasteful, unnecessary, and will for sure damage all of racing," Murphy said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It was a witch hunt from the start."
The violation occurred at Aqueduct on April 4. Mullins was caught giving what he called a cough remedy to Gato Go Win with a dose syringe in the track's security barn. No medications are allowed in the barn except for an anti-bleeding drug that must be administered by a state veterinarian.