by | 11.17.2010 | 12:46am

By Ray Paulick
Following his alleged violation of detention barn rules in New York, Jeff Mullins may be claiming ignorance of the rules of racing regarding medications or treatments that can be given to horses on raceday. The trainer was allegedly seen by New York Racing Association personnel giving a substance that came in a bottle marked Air Power to Gato Go Win in the Aqueduct detention barn last Saturday, necessitating the late scratch of the horse from the Bay Shore Stakes, 

Mullins, who trains likely Kentucky Derby favorite I Want Revenge, was quoted in published reports saying it was a treatment that he routinely gives to his horses before a race. He called it an “honest mistake” (has anyone ever heard of a “dishonest mistake”?), and some apologists are buying his act, saying it wasn't that big of a deal and the media is blowing it out of proportion.

Mullins has previous rules violations. Click here for a list of rulings against him.

If it's true that he routinely gives Air Power to his horses on raceday in California, where he is based, then Mullins is routinely violating the rules of the California Horse Racing Board. The raceday rule was specifically communicated to all licensed California trainers in 2007. Presumably, Mullins was one of those trainers who read the memo.

On Sept. 7, 2007, just after the conclusion of the Del Mar meeting, veterinarian Rick Arthur, the Equine Medical Director for the CHRB, sent a memorandum to all trainers reminding them of what can and can't be given on raceday. The memo's subject line, which seems relatively easy to understand, read: “WATER ONLY ON RACE DAY.”

The memo was written, widely posted and distributed to trainers after three horses had to be scratched during the Del Mar meeting because several trainers apparently were unclear on what can and can't be given to a horse on raceday. One of those trainers was Hall of Famer Jack Van Berg, who administered a substance described as a peppermint mouthwash to the filly The Golden Noodle shortly before the Del Mar Debutante. It was something Van Berg said he had been doing for years. The Golden Noodle was scratched after security observed the filly being given the substance.

“This suggests there is considerable misunderstanding as to what is permitted under the rules and what is not,” Arthur wrote in the memo.

“To be clear, this rule prohibits the administration of any drugs or other substances except as provided in the rule. There are few exceptions. Only water may be administered on race day to wash a horse's mouth. Throat flushes, no matter how innocuous their ingredients, are not excepted. This includes old-time remedies containing menthol, oil of wintergreen, oil of eucalyptus, camphor or any similar products, ‘natural' or otherwise including peppermint.

“The rule is simple: WATER ONLY. Mixing prohibited products with water does not make them permitted. If this is observed the horse will be scratched.”

Air Power contains honey, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, menthol, oil of eucalyptus, lemon juice, ethyl alcohol, according to the manufacturer.

Click here to read the entire memo, which includes the applicable CHRB rule, 1843.5: “Medication, Drugs and Other Substances Permitted After Entry in a Race.”

California trainers should have a pretty clear understanding of the rule.

Arthur opted not to comment to the Paulick Report on the Mullins investigation being conducted by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. In 2005, however, he made the following observations about Mullins to
John Scheinman in the Washington Post, saying Mullins was a good trainer who didn't have a clear sense of ethics: “It's an attitudinal problem, and those things are hard to overcome,” Arthur said. “It's basic ethics is what it is. The bottom line is [Mullins] basically lives in his own world, and you can tell by his comments that's the case. He's oblivious to everything around him and does things his own way and thinks it's right.”

It looks like not that much has changed since 2005.

Honest mistake? I don't think so.

Copyright © 2009, The Paulick Report 

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  • Richard Coreno

    This sport is so marginalized now that the sports fan feels that Mullins is the norm and that racing resembles the East German Women’s Swim Team, with the best “juicer” winning nearly every event. When will those who have the power realize that slaps on the wrists for significant violations of rules has made the “Sport of Kings” a joke.

    When I mentioned this situation to a sports fan today, he said, “Just kick these people out of racing and they shouldn’t be allowed within a half-mile of a track.” I think I found racing’s new commissioner in the locker room on a northeast Ohio health club.

  • Tiznowbaby

    Tell me, powers that be, why is this allowed to continue to happern? Why are people with cobra venom in their barns not ruled off the track forever?
    Tell me, owners, why do you continue to give your horses to people with multiple violations?
    I really am having difficulty understanding. Please explain.

  • steve jackson

    It is obvious that Mullins has a problem following rules. However, the Water only rule borders on the absurd when bute, lasix and other “water only” compounds are still allowed and recommended. Going back to the milk shakes I always wondered how one could not allow baking soda and the say bute and lasix are OK.
    Mullins may not be the only one that lives by his own rules and in his own world.

  • mike owens

    Mullins response was “he routinely gave this to all of his horses”, if so, are we sure I Want Revenge did not get the same treatment?? Also Coreno is correct, A Commissioner with power could stop this in a heartbeat. The Industry has had 2 Commissioners in the past, neither had any power to do anything.

  • Nick Kling


    The answer to your question is relatively simple.

    Racetracks have been traditionally been run by horsemen, for horsemen.

    What does that mean? That lip service is paid to the interests of bettors and other patrons.

    The cobra venom issue to which you refer is prosecution exhibit A, particularly when illuminated by the light of the past history involved.

    Exhibit B is when regulators allow a suspended trainer to turn his animals over to an assistant. There is no deterrent at all.

    This foolishness could be stopped tomorrow if suspensions were lengthy and painful. The pain should be spread by disallowing the hand-off to assistants and also by suspending the horses which test positive (or the person or persons who own the offending horses).

    Those who practice or enable rule-breaking would be stopped in their tracks.

  • It doesn’t matter if Mullins made a mistake, as he claims. The NY rules are clear, Mullins brazenly violated the whole point of the detention barn, and he should be disciplined. But reaction in some quarters has been disproportionate, and yes, insinuating. I remember the Van Berg incident; hysteria didn’t follow. The same sort of perspective should prevail now. That it’s not, I take as a pretty good indicator of how broken racing is when it comes to drugs and enforcement — much of the breathless, Mullins-had-a-syringe! response seems rooted in a general dislike of the man himself and a desire (understandable, I also share it) to see the racing industry get tough and get rid of people who think the rules don’t apply to them. People are fed up, and here’s a convenient punching bag.

  • I have to agree strongly with Steve Jackson – the LEGAL drugs lasix and bute are doing far, far more damage to racing than Mullins’s Air Power gaffe. It’s sort of a shame that all the outrage is focusing on that, when the real problem is administered with a needle by a state-appointed vet.

  • These are the types of events that give the rest of us trainers a bad name.
    There are those of us who run drug-free- only using lasix when a horse we get has been on lasix all along.
    People outside of the track would be amazed how other trainers and even employees view us- “what, no bute? Why wouldn’t you give bute for raceday?”
    Well, why would I? Why is it so hard for people to grasp that these horses are living, breathing athletes- not machines that should be drugged up to perform, to squeeze the last red cent out of their veins?
    What Mullins does isn’t just living in his own world. It’s a complete disrespect for life, other than his own. Level playing field? Get real! The “big” guys will always find a way to circumvent the rules- you get to a point where you are so driving by the financial machine, nothing else matters.
    Tiznowbaby asks why owners continue to give their horses to people like him- well, why not?

    And why is a water only rule absurd? The whole entire racing world adheres to that rule, except for North America. What makes our horses so very inferior that they can’t compete with Thoroughbreds elsewhere? Are American Thoroughbreds really so genetically inferior? I don’t think so. What makes our horses inferior are the trainers and their narrow-minded approach to training- “oh, this horse needs bute to run”- no, think again! If this horse needs bute to run, then this horse does not need to run to begin with!

    Those infractions aren’t corrected with the measure of disciplinary action they require. Trainers who violate simply pay their fines and are sent on their ways.
    Biancone is allowed to remain a trainer in this country. Why? The man was kicked out of virtually every other racing continent- permanently. Yet we welcome him here with open arms.
    He, of course, doesn’t stray for from his usual M.O. – snake venom, no less, and what happens?
    A suspension. Not lifetime, no. A large finger wagging, admonishing him: “Don”t do you that again, young man!” – like a parent waving off his unruly teen after an unforgivable act of vandalism, unable to believe their child could or would possibly do such a thing. Never mind that it’s a repeat, several times over. No, not Biancone! Impossible! He’ll learn, so long as we pound it into him enough times.

    Wake up, America! People like him don’t learn. The only way they can get a horse to run and win is by doing what he does. There is a reason why he isn’t allowed to run in those other countries where he used to run.

    I’m sick of being thrown in with low quality humans like these individuals simply because I share the same professional title, because that’s the only similarity between us.

    There are those of us who run “clean”.

    And a day will come when this will be required of all trainers. While those others will be scrambling and wishing they could do something outside of simply training to improve their horses’ chances of winning, we’ll sit pretty and chug along, doing what we do: Not a single illegal thing, just good training, great care and great stewardship for the athletes in our barns.

    Owners who send their horses to these guys deserve exactly what they get. It’s the horses who draw the short end of the stick.

    Honesty and tenacity will pay off in the long run. The truth ALWAYS comes to light.

    We are, at all times, where we are supposed to be.

    Us “little guys” will just bide our time and wait until that playing field really is level.
    Until those drugs are REALLY no longer allowed, and someone will actually care that those rules are, in fact, enforced, the betting public might as well keep on putting their money on “cheaters”.

    I’m in this for the horses. They always come first. THEY should be EVERY trainer’s first priority.

  • Ann Banks

    As my wonderful former NEW YORK SUPREME COURT JUDGE father told IGNORANCE IS NOT A DEFENSE. Period. Consequences.
    and perhaps if a trainer was expected to refund the equivilant of a purse instead of the owner plus a fine and training over the telephone, otherwise known as a suspension, for a prohibited substance overage perhaps there would be less contamination issues and less nanograms floating in the bloodstreams and urine of their equine athletes (personally I am an interpretation of data proponent).
    And Ruler of Dubai with 2 “drug” positives on his endurance horse? New York Times today.
    And what about “garnishing” Parragallo’s Unbridled Song’s breeding rights to support all his neglected equines – like child support -? One would guess his breeding program is based on natural selection.

  • Al

    I spoke to a racing regulator yesterday about Air Power. according to this person, there are at least 4 ingredients in Air Power that are not permitted in his jurisdiction on race day. How can this stuff be so commonas Mullin’s states and how can Michael Matz be a poster boy and spokesperson for the product?

  • MC

    Jeff Mullins is the Scott Lake of the Left Coast. An obscure trainer from Turf Paradise that moves to LA and proceeds to win at a 30% clip. Give me a break Mullins has not invented the wheel he just brazenly breaks the rules and racing is helpless against these pharmacists. It disgusts me. First clue everyone….when a trainer comes from Penn National, Turf Paradise and the like to New York, California and Kentucky and wins at a 30% clip with modestly bred horses something is going on. EPO, Clenbuteral, Cobra Venom, Milk Shaking, Lidocaine…the list goes on and on. States should crack down on these unethical trainers HARD!! Suspend for life, instead they turn the other cheek and let racing spiral down, down, down…

  • Mary Overman

    Tres Delaforce: Isn’t there ANYTHING that you, as an honest trainer, and your ilk can do to get these kinds of trainers kicked out of racing permanently?? It seems to me – a racing newbie – that people like you could perhaps organize yourselves and get the word out – that you won’t tolerate this continual disregard for racing rules and animal welfare. A letter to the editors of TB Times and Bloodhorse and DRF and the NY TImes and NTRA, etc., saying that and signed by ALL of you. TURN IN trainers that you KNOW or SUSPECT are abusing rules and animals. Put together a Trainer Code of Ethics and propose it to the track(s) you work and encourage the track to im,pose MAJOR SANCTIONS on trainers who are found to be in violation either by the track or by the State Racing Commission. It seems that you and people like you are one of the best places to go to fix the problem of abusive trainers and ridiculously lenient penalties. What do you think?

  • wesly

    Yes Nick Kling, the tracks are all run by horseman! Thats why there are never any disputes between the tracks and horseman. I suppose that Steve Christ and Barry Schwartz and Charlie Hayward are considered hardboots too?

    G Rarick, you said the same thing about steroids and what exactly has that accomplished? Someday you may finally figure out that the people pulling the trigger are the killers not the guns. Getting rid of Lasix and Bute will make you supposed intellectuals happy but will accomplish nothing of substance. You think Mullins wouldn’t be trying something else, possibly more sinister or dangerous, to replace lasix and bute?

  • Alison Thompson Murphy

    Regardless of what was given or not given, NO SYRINGES in the detention barn. The signs are posted everywhere in that barn. A dose syringe is a syringe. Period end of story. Gyp trainer. Gyp operation. Gyp excuses.

    What racing needs is a couple of class action lawsuits brought by bettors against trainers with repetitive offenses such as that of Mullins. Include the authorities who allow repeat offenders. If regulators can’t get it right, then maybe the bettors need to unite. Afterall, it’s their wallets who are being effected without recourse.

  • bugweed

    Mullins has a rap sheet as long as a roll of toilet paper. He’s always been a cheat, so why expect anything less. Honest mistake? What a farce, and until someone has the very large balls to ban Mullins from the sport for a very long time or ban permanently drug abusers like Patrick Biancone from ever setting foot on a racetrack in the US, (banned everywhere else) we remain a long running, stale joke. If a Dr or a lawyer had as many violations of the rules of profesional conduct as these cheaters have, they would have had their license to practice yanked, and or disbarred and told to learn how to say “Welcome to Wal-Mart” as a career option. Why are horse trainers so special? Wny are the states so stupid and inept when it comes to taking their licenses and shredding them? Supposedly, this is a highly regulated gambling enterprise, so don’t tell me it’s all about due process and other legal mumbo jumbo, I’m a lawyer, it can be done.

    Only the fear of becoming a Wal Mart greeter and the banning of all drugs, like the junk drug Lasix is going to change this ongoing farce. A person has a right to make a living, but not necessarily in any given field. It is a privilege to train horses not a right.

  • Nick Kling


    For the record, Barry Schwartz owns dozens of racehorses and has one of the most prominent breeding farms in NY.

    Charlie Hayward is a horse owner. I believe some or all of his stable is owned in partnership with NYRA chairman Steven Duncker.

    Charlie’s racing secretary is a son of former trainer John Campo. The man who held the job before Campo went on to a top level job with a prominent Kentucky horse operation.

    NYRA has a long history of presidents and chairmen who were horseowners.

    Here is an example of how it works. A few years ago a writer for a NYC paper and I quizzed P.J. Campo on why NYRA does not have a check list at time of entry. It would contain simple questions like has the horse been gelded since its last start, are there any equipment changes, that sort of thing. Campo paid lip service to the idea, saying he’d “think about it.”

    He must not have thought too hard, because late gelding and equipment change announcements are a daily part of NY racing life for bettors, some after betting has already begun. And you wonder why the game is losing customers?

  • Nick Kling

    Permit me an addition to the post above.

    Barry Schwartz did more for bettors who play NYRA racing than anyone I’ve seen in the 20-plus years I’ve been in the game. By pushing through a dramatic reduction in takeout in 2001 he save bettors tens of millions of dollars. And that’s the bottom line.

    Unfortunately, many of those gains have been eroded by the self-serving politicians who legislate in NY.

    I would also add Charlie has been helpful to players as well.

  • Noelle

    Wesly – getting rid of Lasix and Bute will accomplish getting rid of Lasix and Bute and that would be another step in the right direction. You seem to be arguing that current legalized drug use somehow prevents trainers from using other, worse drugs. Are you kidding? That’s like saying legalized purse-snatching would prevent burglary.

    What is wrong with sound, healthy horses running on hay, oats, water and natural talent?

    Mullins drugs his horses – like Dutrow – like Asmussen – like most of them – because he gets away with it. He cheats and he wins and even when he’s caught he gets away with it.

    Racing needs centralized governance and a powerful, independent Commissioner.

  • […] following is a comment I made this morning at 8:09 a.m. on Ray Paulick’s latest, “A ‘honest mistake’ by Mullins,” and which is still “awaiting moderation” as of 10:56 a.m. I post it here […]

  • Politicians are routinely indicted, stock brokers push stocks that are being dumped by their firm’s executives, Executives give themselves millions on the taxpayers dime with full knowledge and consent of the govt., Billions are wasted on defense projects that are obsolete because congress wants to line a few projects, racetracks raise takeouts to levels that make it economically unfeasable to win at the racetrack. Why should trainers break the mold of our culture and be honest?

  • Everybody steals! Why do we expect trainers to break the mold of our culture?

  • Priscilla Peabody

    Ray, thanks for keeping up the pressure. There is no other place where we can see the level of outrage that this causes. The CHRB posts guards in front of the stalls of each horse in a stake race, but for barns like Mullins’ and Biancone’s, all runners should be watched. The rest of us would gladly pay for that.

    Mary Overman, we appreciate and share your anger, but trainers are powerless to control their colleagues. We do have a trainers’ association and Mullins and Sadler were kicked off the board last year due to their disreguard of the steroid rules. But the association cannot have disciplinary powers. Remember, trainers are self-employed and are competitors.

  • takethat

    “What a farce, and until someone has the very large balls to ban Mullins from the sport for a very long time or ban permanently drug abusers like Patrick Biancone from ever setting foot on a racetrack in the US, (banned everywhere else) we remain a long running, stale joke”

    In PA we have Jane Vaders – given a life time ban last year – so yes it does and can happen.

  • Owner

    I owned, bred & raced thoroughbreds for more than twenty years. In summary, loved the game and was pleased to be able to break even. As a result, I once considerd the industry a tremendous investment!
    That said, I parted with all my thoroughbreds three years ago. Why? Because I got tired of the sick state of the industry. As someone earlier stated, “an industry run by the horsemen for the horsemen”. There is so much “inbreeding” in the sport from the Racing Officials on down to the hot walkers. The Vets all know how to beat the “system” and regularly do so. As one would expect the owners/trainers with the most money (usually horses) get the “best stuff”. One can look at virtually every race track in the country and find the “leading cheaters”. I’m convinced that the Racing Officials regularly call in violators and warn them to cease the use of a detected substance………tipping them off to move on to “new biochemistry”. All the Trainer has to do is contact his local street pharmacist or vet ad he’s got a new winning angle. Needles to say, DRUG ENFORCEMENT is an absolute JOKE. As a far a transparency go in the racing industry……… took about 2 years for NYRA to report Todd Pletcher’s Sartoga positive. In the mean time, Plether went on to win two training titles while the betting public was unawarw of his positive. Interesting note…….since his positive became public he has never regained the winning percentage previously enjoyed. In fact, once the positive was FINALLY disclosed, TP went on suffer his worst Saratoga Meet in years. Surprise!!
    The cheaters now dominate racing. Sadly, I believe last year’s KY Derby was claimed by a horse that was aided by an “unknown substance”. Unfortunately, the folks associated with Big Brown have become even bigger players in the game……cheating pays??? As a result, the likihood of the Owners & Trainers associated with BB will never be outed. Let’s just call them…..”too big to fail”.

  • Tiznowbaby

    Abe, I expect trainers to break the mold because they are dealing with living, breathing beings that feels pain.

    I am all for administering the appropriate drugs to a horse that is ill or injured. Therefore, a horse receiving drugs does not need to run — because tit is ill or injured!
    If the horse is receiving drugs and it is not ill or injured, then the trainer is trying to get an advantage.
    Rule these people off forever!

  • Ratherrapid

    What’s lost in all this is the illogic of depriving horses of innocuous substances to clear their airway passages before racing.

    I might challenge each of the above posters to get on a TB race horse and go out for a gallop. 95% of TBs have airway passage problems, and by my guess 50% of those are serious. Airway passage disease, which comes in several forms, gets worse as they age for many. I am galloping a youngster at present that is unable to even take a breath for 4 or 5 strides into every gallop. He struggles and snorts until he finally clears the debris coming from his gutteral pouch. Luckily for our investment, then he is fine.

    So, we want to hang Mullins by the toenails for recognizing that horses need help with their breathing. Be aware, for all you well-intentioned wagerers who have commented here, that the most common reason for a horse stopping in a race is that their breathing mechanisms lock up.

    So the question–why would we deny these horses a product which has all the horrible ingredients of Vicks Vapor Rub, if it helps them with their breathing.

    Acknowledge–rules are rules, but should rules make sense for the benefit of the animal?

  • Joe

    Cheating and abusive trainers have full barns. When wealthy and influential owners give cheating trainers their best horses, racing is screwed. Though racing always had its share of shady characters, racing has been fatally wounded ever since debauchery became widespread in the early 70s, in the wake of a trainer crashing onto the Thoroughbred scene with a silver tongue, a bag of tricks and his own vet. He gobbled everything in sight with impunity and became a hero in the racing industry.

  • Owner

    How is it that horses in Europe are able to race on “water only”? It sure sounds like the animal that you’re currently galloping needs one of the following: vet care, class drop, or retirement.

  • Andrew A.

    Mullins paid for the infraction already by having the Horse scratched and having the owners pissed off at him.

    Why didn’t the “cops” who looked in the bucket and saw what the had tell him he would be in violation before he did it? Could it be that the “cops” were more interested in catching someone? Racing Officials “grandstanding” is part of the problem.

    Maybe we should put up museums with Petting Zoos where Racetracks used to be. Then everyone would be happy right?

  • If a horse has wind problems, then get it operated on, or let it live life in a paddock. There are too many horses going around which simply aren’t good enough to race. No medication for any horse about to run in a race. No ifs, buts or maybes.

    State regulations are a joke, rules and penalties need to be consistent nationwide. Trainers should be on a three strikes system.

  • Joe

    RatherRapid said:
    “95% of TBs have airway passage problems, and by my guess 50% of those are serious. Airway passage disease, which comes in several forms, gets worse as they age for many.”

    Masking diseases, congenital flaws and injuries with drugs to race horses is wrong. Breeding them is worse.

  • Al

    All products like Air Power do is mask the horses real problem; a cold or throat infection just like we get. We would not be asked to go out and run at 100% of our ability after taking a little DayQuill to stop our nose from running and stop the coughing, so why do it to the horses? The poster that stated 95% of horses have an airway problem must have a stable of sick horses because this is a big exageration on their part!

  • Indulto

    A T M,
    The problem is more than just the minority of unethical trainers, it is also the owners who enable them, the politicians who stand in the way of enforceable uniform regulation, and the on/off-track handle accumulators who ignore everything else.

    But mostly, it is the non-professional player who is oblivious to the deterioration of the game — much less the welfare of the horse — who can’t or won’t stop betting long enough to force the necessary reforms to be implemented. In that sense, we are getting what we deserve.

    I was one of those offended by Mullins’ statements back in 2005 regarding horseplayers and their right to information. Turns out he was telling the unvarnished truth. The way the game is run by the powers that be for the benefit of horsemen and professional bettors presents a situation where one might well have to be an “idiot” or an “addict” to play it for entertainment.

    Now he presents us with another “truth,” i.e., that there is little to stop these unethical trainers from utilizing every edge possible to get their charge’s moistened and/or less-blocked nostril in front of the competition’s.

    The answer is not class-action lawsuits…it is self-discipline. If we are willing to close our wallets for a while, we will close Mullins’ mouth and those of his horses in the detention barns. It would certainly open discussion in state legislatures.

  • Owner

    Andrew A.
    Because the Officials haven’t addressed the industries problems the state of racing is very bad. When you have owners like IEAH who have proven that they can “buy” the most coveted TB race in the world……..problems exist! Disney make movies out of this stuff! The “Bad Guys” get a competitive edge and threaten to win a coveted prize……..ONLY, in the Disney Movie; the Bad Guys always get caught. It sure looks like IEAH has an excellent shot of pulling it off again with “Revenge”. IEAH is so confident in “their game” that they’re searching for talented sound horses that they can “supercharge” and are willing to pay big money these animals.
    The regulators are a bunch of Keystone Cops. It took them how many YEARS to catch Cole Norman’s milkshake routine? BTW, Norman might have never been caught if he hadn’t of shipped to California. Can you imagine the odds of these guys detecting any well financed illecit lab’s concoctions? I’d be willing to wager a significant sum on “the horse” getting its picture taken and slipping by all drug detection enforcement agencies.

  • Margrethe

    Mullins was caught five years ago administering Air Power at the call. The bottle was turned into the track vet who sniffed it and said it was okay. The horse was not scratched and the bottle was not tested.
    Since Mullins is currently on probation from serving 20 days for a mepivicaine positive (other jurisdictions imposed up to 6 months) and with a pending TCO2 positive from Del Mar in August, why hasn’t he been closely monitored by CHRB investigators?
    Changing the outcome of a sporting event that crosses state lines is a felony. The first guy that goes to prison will end “looking for an edge” very quickly.

  • Ratherrapid – I’ve been galloping horses for years, but if you’ve been doing the same and have found that 95 percent have breathing problems, you need a new bloodstock agent.

    Wesley – Again, I urge you to apply for a passport and go racing in countries outside of North America (they do exist – find a map and someone to help you). Lasix and bute are not allowed in most racing jurisdictions and most of those places have breakdown rates half that seen in America. It IS possible.

  • Ratherrapid

    For anyone interested in horse air passage problems suggest the book “Speed In The Race Horse: The Airflow Factors” at Or, alternatively speak with most trainers, riders and a few owners who understand the problem. There is a reason that Jack Van Berg, et. al. per Paulick’s post administer various concoctions related to breathing. And so, I posed the question–since almost all horses are afflicted to some degree or other–why would you deprive them of over the counter remedies that will help them breathe during the race. For the poster that noted “water only” in Europe, please avoid thinking because some international jurisdictions ban lasix that their trainers are using anything but every concoction in the book in lieu of including the practice of “drawing” their horses pre-race. It’s the same deal on lasix and bleeding–you can ignore the research, or misinterpret it selectively, but if you’re interested in the welfare of the racing animal, why would you deny it?

  • Andrew A.

    Racing Horses and betting on the outcome of those races has an ugly side. We should minimize the ugly side as much as possible. There is no “utopia”.

    Jurisdictions like California have “grandstanded” so much that top trainers and owners are leaving. Once again I say that we should turn the Racetracks into museums with petting zoos. Then everyone would be happy right?

  • Ratherrapid

    Oh, and Rarick, my nemisis, what kind of horses have you been galloping? Do you gallop them at speed? Are you inferring that you are unable to recognize and hear airway problems, or that horses lock up on their breathing doing speed work after a certain number of furlongs? Maybe Chris McCarron will chime in. There’s a book also, above.

  • Don Reed

    Holy cow, the Paulick readers have their hittin’ shoes on today!

    Also, but not quite as instantaneous, is the now-disastrous 50%-50% partnership deal recently struck between the original owner (s) of I Want Revenge & – who else? – IEAH (“Isn’t Everything A Hassle?”).

    Mike Iaverone is a GENIUS when it comes to getting into trouble!

    I mean, nothing’s going to top his ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange in 2008 (shortly, thereafter, came The Crash).

    But this is a neat 2nd place finish. It isn’t even one full year after his 2008 Belmont Stakes fiasco, with Big Brown ($15 million wagering on him to win) not even finishing the race.

    Now, he’s got an identically self-inflicted disaster on his hands.

    And the actual disaster – the current bad press – is accompanied by an impending disaster scenario:

    The only way he can make this worse – & don’t think it isn’t possible, or that he’s not the man to pull it off – is to have a pow-wow with the original IWR owner-contingent – & then vehemently insist that Mullins now be replaced by Rich Dutrow, Jr. as the trainer of I Want Revenge.

    Assuming that the originals refuse, then it’s a stalemate & the bad blood begins.

    Maybe they can bring in Ernie Paragallo to cast the tie-breaking vote.

    How would you like to shell out your share of the $30,000 for an owner’s table at the Derby, & then be seated with co-owners who are staring at each other with daggers in their eyes?

    “Excuse me…I’m going down to the tunnel & spending the rest of the day in the infield, where people are behaving themselves. Ya want me to stop at the souvenir stand?”

    …Well, there goes my $10 to win on IWR (Future Pool #1, at 54-1), wagered back in February. A snowball in Dubai now has a better chance of survival.

    Next year, I’m looking for a horse owned by someone just like the now-deceased Leona Helmsley, who absolutely refused to share anything with anyone.

    And as for the exact opposite of people like Leona, I’m glad that Nick Kling (above) reminded me of how beneficial Barry Schwartz’s presence at the NYRA tracks has been. Barry, if you’re reading this, thanks.

  • Joe

    “Statistics are like a drunk with a lampost: used more for support than illumination.”
    Sir Winston Churchill

    Something written in a book isn’t automatically correct or without a hidden agenda. Always check who finances research projects.

    Rule #1 don’t drug and race chronically flawed horses.
    Rule #2 don’t breed them even if they win on drugs to stop destroying the breed.
    Rule #3 don’t forget rules #1 and #2

  • Ratherrapid – I’m honored to have attained the status of someone’s nemesis. But you should probably get to know me better before bestowing that honor. Visit to see what kind of horses I gallop.

    All racing athletes have their niggling problems, humans and horses alike. The perfect, problem-free horse does not exist. Now you can medicate all sorts of things in all sorts of ways and call it humane, but the soundest, truest athlete is the one best conditioned for the competition on the day, without any artificial help. Those are the athletes we should be racing, and – most of all – those are the only athletes we should be breeding.

  • Priscilla Peabody

    I think Ratherrapid is confusing a true breathing problem with the normal noises a horse makes when working out. Only a small percentage of horses have a serious problem and it is in the throat, not the sinus. That sound is quite different than nostril noises. Most of them can be fixed with surgery to the epiglotis, but not with cough medication. Brochial dialators like Clenbuterol can be used during training to expand lung capacity, but they cannot cure a true breathing problem. The benign products that some trainers use to clear airways likely have zero effect, but it makes the trainer feel better.

    A horse has a natural pattern to his breathing when working out that matches his stride and if he is in his optimal comfort zone early on, he won’t be oxygen depleted later in the workout or the race. If he is sent too fast or is too rank, he may sometimes hold his breath due to nerves. Ratherrapid may be confusing that with a breathing problem, so next time you work a horse, use soft hands and leave him alone and see how he sounds. Incidentally, some jockeys and exercise riders hold their breath too without even realizing it.

    Lasix prevents bleeding deep in the lungs, and that problem cannot be heard in a horse’s breathing. Most of the time it can only be detected with a scope.

  • Al

    Sounds like some here prefer the training “gimics” and “fixes” that come in a bottle or syringe rather than running healthy horses that have been prepared with real horsemanship and skill. The problem is that the former tactic has become acceptable to racing jurisdictions and regulators as a part of keeping race horses racing. There is no question that a medicated equine athlete should be infermed and not involved in competition. Why can’t people see this and stop all the nonsense? An to the tuff guy that speaks of museums and petting zoos, go back to your home on the range or wherever you came from!

  • Ratherrapid

    Rarick, agreed that conditioning remedies a lot of, as you term it “niggling” problems, and perhaps we’d be agreed that training incompetence and lack of appropriate conditioning (on this side of the Atlantic) is one of the 2 or 3 biggest problems in the sport. This drives out every owner eventually, and we see some of the justified complains on this thread.

    Joe, I’d be interested in knowing where your set in stone rules come from . Have you ever

    owned a horse
    trained a horse
    ridden a horse
    read the book
    studied the lasix research etc.

    or, do you have some other basis in your experience from which these rules derive?

  • Andrew A.

    Hey Al, I live in San Diego and that’s where I came from. Why don’t you make your point without getting personal.

    Bottom Line is that nobody has the ability to be a “supercop” if they did then none of this stuff would be happening!

  • Throughout trainer Mullins career he probably started 50 horse in
    New York that were treated with AIR POWER by syringe in the detention barn
    without anyone saying anything. Plus, he probably started a 1,000
    horses on the Calif circuit and treated them with AIR POWER hours before
    the race by syringe without anyone saying anything. So what’s the sudden beef
    after over 1,000 syringe injections of AIR POWER. Maybe somebody
    complained. That explains why security waited until he rinsed syring before
    appraoching him?

  • Margrethe

    Clocker Bob:
    He DID get caught in California and there were no sanctions even though the” water only” rule is very clear.
    CHRB investigators are useless.
    Do all Mullins horses have a cough, or is Air Power performance enhancing? The label promises not to “test”. Correct.

  • Clara Fenger


    >>>Lasix and bute are not allowed in most racing jurisdictions and most of those places
    >>>have breakdown rates half that seen in America.

    Now, I have sent you all the available published breakdown data, and I know that you know that this statement is not true. Please review that material. It’s the surface, the surface, the surface.

  • wesly

    G Rarick routinely says things that arent true but fit her agenda.

    Noelle, getting rid of lasix and bute do nothing to solve any of racings issues. To ignore the fact that horses bleed and will bleed much worse without lasix is actually inhumane. On a day where the humane treatment of horses is in the focus lets reexamine the whole issue of what is actually beneficial for the horse versus what is in vogue to pronounce. The naysayers like to point out how other countries have no raceday medications (because they all use medications, where do you think half of them come from?) yet ignore the fact that in some of those same countries they serve horses for dinner as well. So we can copy some of their standards but not others? If you believe that horses will not bleed without lasix or that because a well bred filly bleeds she somehow wont be bred under the false assumption that bleeding is hereditary you probably arent smart enough to see the irony. Lasix and Bute are hardly the US racing industry’s biggest problem or even a real issue to begin with. Like I said before, steroids are gone in most jurisdictions yet the game is absolutely the same or worse.

  • Bill Kelso

    1. I dont blame the cheaters, as much as I blame the racing juristictions for allowing these scumbags to continue to train. the reason they allow it is because they want full fields, more handle, and more money in their pockets. They have sold these horses out worse than anyone.

    2. You have anti doping boards that allow trainers to be board members. How’s that for an oxymoron? If I was a trainer and had intentions of cheating, I’d be at every meeting, 10 minutes early getting the low down on what I can and can’t get away with.

    3. You have state racing boards that include horse owners as board members. Doesn’t this present a conflict of interest was said owners favorite trainer has a drug positive etc etc etc?

    All of these people are up eachothers asses. that’s the biggest problem. the racing industry has many levels of corruption occuring simultaneously. This is not an opinion, it’s a fact. And all of the people up here aren’t fringe horse racing fans, these are the sports core fans, the ones that care enough to read these stories and comment on them. Isn’t it pretty obvious that were are all fed up with this garbage. “Air Power” has nothing to do with anything. It’s just a reminder of the cheating that goes on every day at every track. Not by all, or even many, but by some. It’s usually the guys who are winning at the top of the trainers standings. The one owners seek out to train their horses.

    The United States Horse Racing Industry : Custodians of the world’s largest broom, and rug.

  • Nick Kling

    Clocker Bob,

    Mullins has started 5 horses in NY during the last 5 years, not the “probably started 50” as you stated.

    3 were in the 2005 Breeders’ Cup, the other 2 were I Want Revenge’s recent starts.

    However, that does not excuse his actions.

  • Joe

    Thank you Bill Kelso, your post is a classic, sad but true.

  • Clara, you sent me a couple of links to some quite dated studies that don’t at all prove the track surface is responsible for breakdowns only a contributing factor, which I don’t dispute. As for the numbers, vets on both sides of the Atlantic agree that the lack of an accurate data base makes it hard to determine total breakdowns, but the New Bolton Center estimates the U.S. number is 1.5 per 1,000 starts, and Newmarket vets estimate the U.K. rate is 0.65. Hong Kong keeps very accurate data, and their fatalities are 0.58 per 1,000 starts. So I stand by my statement.

    Wesly, my “agenda” is simple: NO MEDICATION. If that’s a bad agenda to have, too bad. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Sorry you don’t agree.

  • Ratherrapid

    and, for the bleeding horse?

  • For the true bleeders? A stall, a paddock, retirement, the Pony Club…
    Funny how thoroughbreds in the rest of the world, ostensibly the same lines as you have in America, don’t need lasix.

  • Ratherrapid

    Makes perfect sense.

  • […] with New York Racing Association detention barn rules he was found to have violated while administering an herbal product to Gato Go Win prior to the Bay Shore Stakes April 4, necessitating that the horse be scratched by […]

  • Reading about Paulick Report » Blog Archive » AN ‘HONEST MISTAKE’ BY MULLINS? is always fun. Thanks for the entertainment. Do you mind if I ask for your email address?

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