09/01/2013 8:06PM

Del Mar: CHRB investigating O'Neill for giving horse amino acids on race day

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Doug O'Neill said his foreman mistakenly gave Cinco de Mario an amino-acid solution on race day.

DEL MAR, Calif. – The California Horse Racing Board is conducting an investigation into the race-day administration of an amino-acid solution to a horse trained by Doug O’Neill on Aug. 24, Del Mar stewards said over the weekend.

The incident resulted in the withdrawal of Cinco de Mario in the hours before a starter allowance Aug. 24.

A hearing in the matter is expected to be conducted during the Santa Anita Park autumn meeting, which begins Sept. 27. The stewards at that meeting will be Scott Chaney, Kim Sawyer, and Tom Ward, the same stewards overseeing the current Del Mar meeting.

“Investigators are compiling the facts, and they will file a complaint,” Chaney said Saturday.

Chaney said the incident is a “violation of race-day administration,” which prohibits horses from being given supplements before a race. Only water and feed can be given to a horse in the 24 hours before a race.

Chaney said the administration itself is not an issue between O’Neill and the racing board.

“There is no dispute whether it was given or not,” Chaney said.

The scratch occurred after safety steward Luis Jauregui observed a member of O’Neill’s staff administering the solution while passing by the barn. O’Neill said Sunday that his foreman erroneously administered an amino-acid solution on race day to Cinco de Mario. The employee was supposed to give the solution to a horse scheduled to run the following day, O’Neill said.

“My foreman messed up,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill said he had not been served with a complaint or “anything formal” from racing-board officials.

In a similar case at Del Mar in 2012, trainer Melody Conlon was fined $400 for the administration of an amino-acid solution to one of her starters on the day of a race.

Harry More than 1 year ago
Blah blah Blah nothing will happen just like all in ca. This is a anything go state!!!! who cares just make more mistakes like the milkshake issue Dougie it was a mistake to!!!!!! No bs in New York so we scratch with tendons????????? I'll have another at least he didn't have to have the drugs belmont day!
Mike More than 1 year ago
I do not think Doug does anything that all the other trainers are not doing. That being said, The state of horse racing is pathetic. If a full scale investigation was launched comparable to to that of MLB the sport would not survive. The insiders in the industry are aware of the magnitude of the drugging and cheating going on. Pletcher, Asmussen, Baffert all drug their horses on a regular basis. If the public ever got wind of it the sport would not survive. The regulators of the racing industry will continue to turn a blind eye because not doing so would be the death knell of horse racing.
Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
So you can't give amino acids, the building blocks of life, on race day??
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
I have to agree. Even though I think Doug was trying to take an edge. This rule in this case...fir horse health reasons..is crazy. I believe vitamins, electrolytes and natural supplements isn't cheating. But rules are rules. Um sure other horseman would like to do this as well...but realize its unfair if others are following rules. The steward probably thought he saw something Doug allegedly had done in the past. Most these guys can't tell an oral syringe from a needle.
Mine thatbird More than 1 year ago
Thomas you can probably answer this better than anyone I follow on this site. What is there to prevent a trainer to adding supplements to food during the 24 hr race day window?
Mine thatbird More than 1 year ago
should be "from adding" not "to adding" sorry.
Mike B More than 1 year ago
Can we get a follow up on the solution to get it tested? Timing is technical violation. A banned substance is more compelling story. Like to see more donated to the organization studying new substances that may not show up on tradition tests.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
I love the ominous headline and the serious sounding investigation. There is no real investigation as there is no question that the supplement was given. A formal complaint has yet to be filed. So, who tipped you to this very important story? Was it the safety steward who saw it while just passing by the barn? Was it a member of the CHRB? Please make sure you stay on this story, maybe Luis can catch the foreman carrying a box of baking soda and a bag of sugar. It's a race day violation and O'Neil will get a fine as he should. I also love your other story about Wayne Catalano who is heading back to his old stomping grounds with two horses in the Super Derby. Nice story. It's interesting that these two stories side by side say much about what we seem to care about. O'Neil investigated for giving a supplement on race day. Catalano, home sweet home in Louisiana. Here's a big story for you. In May and June of last year at Arlington Park, Catalano had ten positives for the illegal drug of Prednisone. More than one a week. Ten different horses. All ten won. When people use the word cheater, is this what they're talking about? He was given random and fluctuating fines. No suspension. How does this not warrant a suspension? And that is not a story? He has a string of horses at Arlington and Churchill. Rudy Rodriguez never ran up violations like this, but Churchill made him come in to review his license for renewal. He was put under 24 hour surveillance. No license review or surveillance for Catalano? Interesting. Obviously it's not about the person. Congratulations to the CHRB for a great in depth investigation of those horses dropping dead. Were amino acids found in their system, or was it rat poison to thin a high red blood cell count? Please tell them to keep up the good work in bringing our attention to the amino acid back side epidemic, and tell them to keep their eyes peeled for baking soda and sugar. I give Bo Derek and the board a 10 for their efforts.
Joel Winicki More than 1 year ago
Well said.....the press only releases what is convenient, and helps to cover up what is truly relevant, Protecting the "media darling(s)" is always a priority. Politics as usual......
Walter More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the info. Prednisone is a steroid, and an effective one if Cat when 10 for 10 with it. I'm sure he had more than 10. I'm just sorry to read all this is happening. Horseplayers have it tough enough, this makes it just more difficult.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
They ran the story about Catalano as well. Last year. Late summer near this time I believe.
Michael Infurna More than 1 year ago
Its NEVER the trainers error!!
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
If its the same stewards that missed two DQ's already he will be fine.
Justin More than 1 year ago
Wasn't Luis Jauregui a jockey? What exactly is a safety steward?
Walter More than 1 year ago
Yes, he was a jock. Don't know what a safety steward is.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
I have no idea what a safety steward is, but they employ exactly one, and he works two days a week.
Marty Brink More than 1 year ago
Get RID of this guy PERMANENTLY!! This trainer has CHEATED me out of a lot of pick 4s. He and others like him(and there are a lot)are driving away all the fans and owners and destroying the sport. Quit being so soft on people like this. New York state has issued 10 year and permanent bans on guys like this. Act NOW if you love horse racing and intend to have a job in the future (stewards).
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Who are the he. And who are the others. I'm sure you won a pick 4 with cheaters as well. So win you win with a cheater do you go give the money back. No all your pick 4 wins were with clean horses right.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Why are you defending known cheats? If you are a horseplayer, you are being swindled by these dishonest trainers. If you are not being cheated, then maybe you are in on it too?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
He was making a point. So to you O'Neil is a known cheat. Who are the other cheats that are known? Who are the other known cheats since you label him as one. Please name them for us.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Ok, lets name all the trainers in SoCal who have served suspensions. O'Neill, Mullins, Sadler. I believe Mitchell had one also, but I'm not positive on that one. These are guys who win a lot of races on the circuit. Do you have a defense for these guys? If so, please share with us.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Walter, I believe you may have missed my point, but that's fine we can stil get there. The word cheater is thrown around far too easily. And then the words amino acid and cheater is in the same sentence it becomes childish. I think we should keep things in perspective and fair. We should not vilify the ones we don't like so much, and ignore the ones we do like. So you say the known cheats are O'Neil, Mullins, Sadler and maybe Mitchell. Mitchell has had some, Mullins no saint, and O'Neil his share. But would you be surprised if I told you that Baffert, Sadler and Hollendorfer have more than O'Neil. In fact Baffert is almost double and Sadler and Hollendorfer well more than double. Would you also be surprised if I told you that those three have more than Dutrow who got a ten year ban? Outside of CA, Ness the worst and Asmussen may have the most.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Horse Cents, I believe you. Just watching Baffert's horses run this past spring @ SA caused suspicion for me. His horses were running so well, it didn't look natural. And sure enough it came out that he had 7 horse deaths by heart attack and he was under investigation in April. I'm all for cleaning up CA Racing, doesn't matter who the trainer is. As I mentioned previously, I feel for guys like McAnally, Van Berg, Headley, Moreno, & others who have terrible winning % , I know they didn't forget how to train.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
OK Marty, would you agree to get rid of all trainers that have more drug violations than Dutrow. Dutrow got a ten year ban. Would you agree to ban all that have more than Dutrow for more than ten years? O'Neil isn't one of them. Can you name the trainers that would make that list?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
I highly doubt you even know who's really been cheating out out of your pick 4's.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Horse cents. I don't see how in the world he hit a pick 4 without using those trainers. You cant evaluate if a horse trainer is juicing his horse. They all have the same win percentage as the top five or ten at saratoga. Like I said who are the he and who are the others. When I open my form I don't use the who is doping there horses angle. To be honest I wish I had that information and he does too. We don't.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Marty, When you cashed a pick 4 ticket using a Baffert, Hollendorfer, or Sadler horse did you feel cheated? They have way more drug violations than O'Neil.
Marty Brink More than 1 year ago
Horse cents, i don't stick up for or side with ANY cheater. Why do you stick up for cheaters? We should ALL boycott racing until it's cleaned up and MORE money set aside for testing and research. There should be a THREE strikes and your OUT rule for trainers and a racing board that is NOT a conflict of interest. Bo Derek ?, what a freakin joke!! I've been a racing fan for over 35 years. I'm one of the TOP all breed analyst in this country and have proven myself and been recognized by some of the top people in the industry.I supplement my income with horse racing and have been supporting this sport for a very long time. I pride myself on being able to read and study the DRF and analyze each racing line using all of the angles known to man to make competent selections. You don't know me dude. DON"T question my intelligence. I don't know why you stick up for and support cheaters.I don't care either .That's your problem and it's apparent that you do have a problem. Maybe your just jealous?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Marty, Jealous? Get a grip. I made a point and challenged you to stand up to your word to throw the bums out. You didn't respond to that. Where am I sticking up for cheaters. O'Neils foreman gave a supplement to a horse race day. Against the rules. It was amino acids, not an illegal drug. Try to keep things fair and in perspective. You don't ban a trainer for a supplement. You scratch the horse and fine him. I'm pointing out that if you want to ban him for that or even for his drug violations, then you have many trainers that you have to ban first before you even get to Doug. So, again, are you willing to call for the permament ban of trainers that have more violations than O'Neil? Then get on with it, Baffert, Hollendorfer, Sadler, Catalano, Asmussen, Ness, and more. After your successful with that, let me know when O'Neil comes up on the list. When you call for testing for blood doping, let me know. Five trainers on that list have more drug violations than Dutrow who got ten years. So have it tiger, ban them. But you have to ban them long before O'Neil. Can't play favorites. Again, not sticking up for anyone, just calling for fairness and perspective.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Very well said.
Old timer More than 1 year ago
sure this could have been the fault of the hired stable hand or it could have been an honest mistake. But why do these situations happen with such regularity to this particular trainer?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
such regularity? Please list the violations that show such regularity for this trainer.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Do you really need a list ?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Yes, give me a list of such regularity and total. Then give me a list of others as well. My point is it's so much fun to come down on the trainers we don't like and give a pass or ignore the violations of others we do like. If your'e going to make that statement then it should hold for the all others as well. Do you know how many violations he's had? Do you know how many that others stabled on the same track have had?
Walter More than 1 year ago
Are you asking because you don't know? Or, are you trying to debate the truth? O'Neill has been suspended a handful of times over the past 5-6 years. The most recent was last year during the 2nd half of the Dmr meeting and all of the Fpx meeting. I'm so tired of the apologists on this board! If you're a horseplayer, you're being cheated. If you're not being cheated, then you are in on it.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
The suspension you speak of was taken at the time you state for a violation that happened two years earlier. It was for a high co2 level on a horse that finished 8th. Who was cheated? If you were seemingly singled out and had almost every horse you run tested for a high c02 trying to catch him for milkshaking, don't you think one horse at some point will come back positive for any number of reasons. I find it odd that when other well known trainers rack up big violations it was ignored. Then when someone else shows up we finally care about violations. If you going to call him a cheat for all his violations, then call all the others that have more drug violations a cheat as well. I know you won't when you find out who there are. And this is for amino acids. What a joke.
Walter More than 1 year ago
I'm not on a witch hunt for O'Neill. I'm against any/all who cheat. I don't care what the name is. I do believe there are many others who are dishonest. I'm guessing there are politics involved w the CHRB, maybe they have an ax to grind w O'Neill? It's a shame because SoCal racing should be the top circuit in the country.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
To be honest, and I really don't care, but it does appear the CHRB seems to have singled him out. The lengths they go to in hopes of finding a milkshake, of which they never found any proof. And now, ureeka, amino acid supplements. Do they hang from trees with binoculars? Yet they casually walk through another barn and step over the needles. They have no interest in getting ahead of the game with blood doping, a serious problem for over ten years. Baffert, Sadler, and Hollendorfer, all have more than O"Neil, and they also have more than Dutrow who got ten years.
John More than 1 year ago
No wonder he is known as "Arm & Hammer" and "Drug"O'Neil.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
amino acids are not drugs.
nick More than 1 year ago
Oh Mr. Horse cents, Maybe you should know of what you speak BEFORE you speak: it helps. While amino acids as they occur naturally in a living creature's body might not be called a drug, please look up the definition of "drug". You will find a drug defined, as by the Food, Drug,and Cosmetic Act of the U. S. A. , any non-food item administered to a body that affects it's structure or function. Ergo, dietary supplements ARE drugs. And if they didn't have an effect on a horse's performance, do you think money would be spent on them?
Mine thatbird More than 1 year ago
You didn't read the whole section. " A food or dietary supplement for which a claim, subject to sections 403(r)(1)(B) and 403(r)(3) or sections 403(r)(1)(B) and 403(r)(5)(D), is made in accordance with the requirements of section 403(r) is not a drug solely because the label or the labeling contains such a claim. A food, dietary ingredient, or dietary supplement for which a truthful and not misleading statement is made in accordance with section 403(r)(6) is not a drug under clause (C) solely because the label or the labeling contains such a statement." Further, the FDA considers amino acids as a "dietary ingredient." This is logical as amino acids are in food.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Love your last sentence nick. "if they didn't have an effect on a horse's performance, do you think money would be spent on them?" I suppose that goes for water, hay, vitamins, oats, etc. I spent money on that stuff too for my horses. But I do love your effort by looking up the FDA definition, so cute. Why not look up the allowed drugs and do some research and find out the good the bad and ugly. Nope, go out of your way to make people think amino acids are bad.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
I swear, some of you are like little children. How is giving a horse amino acids warrent those names. All horses get amino acids and many other supplements on a regular basis. Rules are rules and not within 24 hours of race. But, Not drugs. Do you even know why someone might be called arm and hammer? Oh no, the dreaded baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, antacid. I shudder at the thought. Do you know what it's used in? And meanwhile your hero's are doing much worse.