New York's top racetracks are off limits to trainer Jeff Mullins for six months.
The New York Racing Association barred the trainer from Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga on Friday for violating its barn rules by giving one of his horses an unknown substance and then providing conflicting information.
"Racing integrity is a top priority for the New York Racing Association at all times," said Neil Getnick, a lawyer for the firm that represents the racing association's integrity counsel. "Today's penalty reinforces NYRA's commitment to maintaining a level playing field for our owners, trainers and the public."
The 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.
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Mullins, who trains I Want Revenge, is based in California. His lawyer, Karen Murphy, said she was upset with the ruling.
"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.
Gato Go Win was scratched from the race by the stewards.
Later that day, Mullins won the Wood Memorial with I Want Revenge, who became the Derby favorite until he was scratched the morning of the May 2 race with an injury.