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.