JC / Railbird

Gato Go Win

Hit the Owners

Commented John S. on an earlier post:

I’ve said this about enforcement in the game over and over again: If you want to clean up racing, hit the owners…. If you made their horses come off the track, no owner in their right mind would send a string to known cheaters.

Which I was thinking of as I read that Randy Hartley, part-owner of Gato Go Win, isn’t upset with trainer Jeff Mullins over getting the horse scratched from the Bay Shore last Saturday after he was observed dosing him with a substance in the Aqueduct detention barn:

“I’m not mad,” Hartley said. “[Mullins] was trying to do what he thought was the right thing by the horse. I don’t know what they’re going to do as far as fining him or whatever, but we’ll find another race for the horse. He’s a good trainer. He’s just a down-to-earth guy who made a mistake. We all make mistakes.”

As long as owners like Hartley are willing to dismiss rule-flouting as a mistake, the ethically challenged will always have horses in their barns.

Fairly Stupid

Here we go again,” as Brooklyn Backstretch writes. A supremely talented colt stamps himself a likely Kentucky Derby favorite in a performance that defies belief and barely has he returned to the barn before his unsavory trainer comes to the fore. “Mullins allegedly violated detention barn rules,” is the headline on the Thoroughbred Times story and the details don’t look good: The trainer, already infamous for calling bettors “idiots,” serving milkshakes, and enjoying a little bling (a gratuitous bit of class-based criticism), is now accused of administering an over-the-counter equine medication called “Air Power” to Gato Go Win in the NYRA detention barn, for which officials scratched the horse from the Bay Shore Stakes. The blogosphere is already working itself into a lather over Mullins’ stupidity (and oh, it was a stupid, stupid thing to do, given how clear the rules are, how blatant is the reported act), with the words “syringe” and “inject” getting a great deal of play.

Let’s be fair, though: Mullins is alleged to have used an oral syringe to administer an anti-cough formula orally. He claims the plunger was brought into the detention area openly, in a bucket searched by NYRA security, reports the New York Post. Even if true, Mullins violated detention rules, which allow for nothing to be given except Lasix by the track veterinarians. He may have done so because he believed the substance — a mix of honey, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, menthol, oil of eucalyptus, lemon juice and ethyl alcohol, guaranteed not to test, being an “all natural” product made up of legal ingredients — would give Gato Go Win a little edge in the starting gate [or because, as he stated later, he uses Air Power “on most of his horses”]. Regardless of the reason or motive, if Mullins did what is alleged, he should be punished for breaking the rules by the NYRA stewards. But the rest of us — by which I mean, everyone, blogger or journalist, commenting or reporting on this story, also have an obligation, and that is — even in the midst of calling Jeff Mullins a stupid, stupid man and a likely cheat — to be accurate in the details and not fan ignorance or prejudice unduly.