Updated on 05/29/2012 12:05PM

O'Neill banned 45 days; penalty to begin July 1 at earliest

Barbara D. Livingston
Doug O'Neill celebrates the Preakness victory of I'll Have Another

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Doug O'Neill, who trains Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I'll Have Another, has been suspended a minimum of 45 days and fined $15,000 after one of his runners at Del Mar in 2010 tested in excess of the permitted level of total carbon dioxide. The penalty will not begin until July 1 at the earliest.

I'll Have Another is scheduled to start in the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 9, in an attempt to sweep the Triple Crown.

The decision was released on Thursday by the California Horse Racing Board after the seven-person board met for more than two hours in a closed session at Betfair Hollywood Park.

O'Neill hinted that he may appeal the decision.

"I didn't know what to expect," he said. "I've got to know all my options and have to go through all of that."

O'Neill said he would take advisement from Paul Reddam, the owner of I'll Have Another.

O'Neill was suspended 180 days after Argenta, who finished eighth in the sixth race at Del Mar on Aug. 25, 2010, tested in excess of the permitted level of total carbon dioxide, 37 millimoles. But hearing officer Steffan Imhoff recommended that 135 days of the suspension be stayed contingent on O'Neill having no violations for medications listed in classes 1, 2, or 3 for an 18-month period.

[JAY PRIVMAN: Many layers to Derby-winning trainer O'Neill]

The board agreed with that decision, but has not announced a starting date for the 18-month probationary period. It was not clear on Thursday when the 45-day suspension period would begin, but racing board executive director Kirk Breed said in the statement that it will not begin before July 1.

O'Neill's case was heard by Imhoff in a seven-day hearing. During that hearing, Imhoff concluded that Argenta had not been "milkshaked," or given a concoction designed to boost stamina. Furthermore, Imhoff stated that there were no suspicious betting patterns to the race and "no evidence of any intentional acts on the part of O'Neill in connection with this incident," according to the racing board's statement.

Both the racing board and O'Neill had stipulated that tests conducted by the Ken Maddy Laboratory at the University of California at Davis showed an excessive amount of total carbon dioxide levels. Under the trainer insurer rule, in which the trainer is responsible for the well-being of horses in their care, O'Neill was found at fault, which led to the suspension and fine.

O'Neill served a 15-day suspension in 2010 after Stephen Got Hope tested in excess of the permitted level of total carbon dioxide after a seventh-place finish in the Hawthorne Derby at Hawthorne Racecourse.

[I'LL HAVE ANOTHER: Derby, Preakness winner runs for Triple Crown]

Union Rags TC Lock More than 1 year ago
Without the nasal strip he runs up the track at Belmont, just like Big brown id when taken off steroids. Lol
robdybas More than 1 year ago
In honor of O'Neill's quest for the Triple Crown, McDonald's should name a milkshake after him.
R. Martin More than 1 year ago
You should win an award yourself for your brilliant, insightful, and funny answer. I congratulate your wit & humor. I also concur with your analysis/response.
allen payne More than 1 year ago
Because of crapola like this : Charges of ' milkishaking ' and using nasal strips ...(really , not making this up ) too much Gatorade or alka-seltzer given to horses by their Trainers ) The CHRB and other Racing Venues , are painting an unfair picture of Horse Trainers ...actually causing some ill informed people, because of the phony railroading charges of milk shaking to further de-fame these Trainers by calling them : Shifty , Wall-street businessmen , Cheaters and the list goes on ....In Calif. Its hard to fill the cards anymore ...5 horse fields are norm , for GG..BFH ...etc....These , over zealous officials have ruined Horse Racing in Calif. ....
Steve Burnett More than 1 year ago
Good job NYRA after the horse loses and such a shifty trainer. first of all, 90% of The trainers will have or in the future try to cheat or get an advantage. This is Not a West or East Coast issue. until we get a commissioner or the state boards Put the hammer on any and all trainers, this will continue period.My family has Raced for two decades against Pletcher, Baffert, Mullins, Dutrow, Assumusen. they all have been nailed for a violation. ake it a 25,000 fines and 1 year and i Bet it would stop some of the issues. But for NYRA to impose no Nasal Strip, they are piling on. I keep hearing about this rule about nasal strips, please show me. I do hop for the sport IHA wins but I guess it does not matter because the CHRB Has already ruined the positive economics this would have on the game. If the CHRB would of dealt with this last year the black cloud would not be over the Biggest moment in horse racing the chance at the triple crown
Robert Smith More than 1 year ago
I think that clouds name is perception.
R. Martin More than 1 year ago
Listen, folks, let's cool down and reflect on the funny aspects of this upcoming Belmont Stakes. Possible quotes from Participants: "I definitely think, when I'm trippin', that my super horse Optimizer has a chance to win this". Sir Lukas. "GQ sent me here to expose their fine clothing". Dandy Bob B. "What, me cheat?" Straight As An Arrow Doug O'. "If I had been sober at the time I would have preferred REDDAM'S RED GOOFBALL over the unflaterring IHA". Paul. "By any other name I'm still the best trainer". Doodnauth Shivmangal.
Colleen Sandbach More than 1 year ago
seriously you idiots NOW???? even if this great horse wins the triple it will forever go down in history like this...YOUR TIMING IS just WELL no wonder horse racing is floundering!!!! USE YOUR FRICKIN HEADS CHRB
Union Rags TC Lock More than 1 year ago
Yeah, turn a blind eye to a trainer who has now been caught multiple times cheating and delay ruling so this fake can win a TC, yep, that will surely restore legitimacy to the sport? LOL, not! Ps - he aint gonna win the tc anyway, hahaha
Aaron McCullough More than 1 year ago
Read the full article and not just the headline. Actually try to understand the issue as fully as you can, possibly by reading more than one article. Then post.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
read between the lines. understand fully the trainer insurer rule, get an understanding or CO2 levels in horses, go see how they can cause "THUMPS" which is potentially lethal to a horse THEN POST.
Aaron McCullough More than 1 year ago
There are multiple causes for elevated C02 levels, not just milkshaking. I understand the trainer insurer rule, but how often is it applied, and to who? Not Todd Pletcher, right? Reading between the lines tells me that the media (mainly NY Times recently) has made racing administrators more worried about how they look and so they are using this evidence and ruling during a media spotlighted triple crown bid to show the public how tough they are, and keep the scrutiny off of their own ineptitude and corruption. Ditto with nasal strips and NYRA. This is hardly justice.
Bobby McMeans More than 1 year ago
Yeah Rags he may not win the Belmont but you didn't think he'd win the Derby or the Preakness either. I guess your credibility is now in question.
Helenea Dennis More than 1 year ago
Exuse me - we expect equine drugging to stop in a country where the humans are doped up with every kind of pharm from anti this to energize that? I'm not saying it's right but until we look at what we put in our own bodies, we'll think it's ok to put it in our horses, (dogs, cats etc) This story will pale compared to what will come out of the London this summer. Most law cases take years - try even getting a quick divorce. hahaaa!
Robin Dawson More than 1 year ago
James...thanks for the apology. This is, rightly so, a very heated and important issue. I don't think Doug O'Neil should be singled out any more than other trainers (Todd Pletcher, for example, with Left Bank at Saratoga some years ago)...but the whole medication issue and other nefarious practices (War Emblem and Bob Baffert) must be confronted ASAP before American racing is left in the dust.
James Turner More than 1 year ago
Thank you for accepting my apology Robin and I agree with you 100%. I just don't like seeing someone who may be guilty of shoplifting being convicted of armed robbery in the court of public opinion. I will now go back to writing 500 times " I will always double check to be sure to whom I am replying to".
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
it's sad that such a great colt is having to deal with such a shifty trainer and i say trainer in terms that he is a wall street type businessman not a true horseman... he's a cheat.. he's been exposed to the world and that's that.... as a person who deals with this daily i get it.. GOOD JOB NYRA... too bad when IHA loses(and i hope for a crown winner) all that will be said is NYRA was jealous of a west coast trainer winning iin their back yard so they prevented it. when the realtiy is he may just get beat by a fresher horse and a more experienced jockey..i.e. UNION RAGS OR DULLAHAN....
allen payne More than 1 year ago
Shifty ? Wallstreet Businessman ? .....Cheat ? D.O'Neill is a fine trainer and does not resemble or should be identified with any of the charges you have leveled against him ...He has been accused of 'milk shaking' can you name the drug that is used in this practice ?....This is a railroad job at best....Oh ,very brave of you to pick U-Rags & Dullahan ....Your Problem Is (PBCAK) ...'Problem Between Computer And Keyboard' Next time you decide to bring your thoughts to type ........DON'T
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
its not me that brought these charges first off... tests don't lie... and officials are very careful to point a finger... especially in public during these times of racing.... AND THIS IS AMERICA I'LL TYPE WHAT I BELIEVE.. thanks though i admire your loyalty and COURAGE as well..
neigh sayer More than 1 year ago
You so easily throw the word cheater around. Baking soda, gatoraide, sugar and now a nasal strip? Why such hate when he was never accused of using drugs? Maybe he beat one of your favorite trainers horses at 3-5 and watched him fade to fourth and still with the needle hanging from his butt.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
should i address you as neigh or mr. sayer? there's no drug in a milkshake. i don't bet. and my favorite trainers don't cheat or use needles.... now just one question??? why take a plea if you are innocent? why have that on your record? he got caught in illinios and now in cali. high levels of CO2 ARE EVIDENCE OF MILKSHAKES. YOU CAN ONLY PROVE IT IF YOU SEE THEM BEING GIVEN...in the back of a stall with several lookouts under the cloak of darkness..... OR A HAT IN THIS CASE..please go read the blog in belmont news where stewards won't allow the nasal strip.. it may clarify more.. ther's research involved not just naivety....
James Turner More than 1 year ago
not sure wall street type businessmen wear baseball caps with their suits.
Bobby McMeans More than 1 year ago
You sound kind of shifty to me Thomas but I don't know you. You obviously don't know Doug O'Neill either. You do know that THE drug test is from two years ago on a horse that finished last and we wouldn't even be talking about it if Doug hadn't decided to fight it because he knew he was innocent? You do know that almost every racehorse in America is feed some supplement with bicarbonite of soda and electrolytes for muscle fatigue and tieing up? And that some horses retain supplements and medications longer than others? You also do know that the O'Neill barn has not had a positive test since and yet you still want to call him a cheater? Your favorite trainer doesn't use needles? Does he run all his horses Bute and Lasix free and does he not vacinate them as well? I'm sorry you people are so bitter and can't enjoy what is a feel good story across America. I suggest you not watch the Belmont because it could be more of the same.
Mortimer Post More than 1 year ago
Agree with you about the more-than-suspicious post-start odds plummet...renders the entire proposition of finding and exploiting an overlay a joke in many instances....Destroys win wagering and slashes the value in all exotic propositions, especially verticals! Disagree with you about I'll Have Another.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
COME ON GUYS... why the sour grapes... losing sucks but don't blame the industry.. the odds drop because simulcast monies are figured from hundreds of locations at once... not cuase vinnie the vegas bookie is standing at some hidden window for goomba's with a briefcase to bet on #3...
Robert Smith More than 1 year ago
Conspiracy Theories selectively applied.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The IHA controversy, though highly valid and important, pales when it is compared to the greatest fraud which is perpetrated EVERY DAY against horse-racing gambling degenerates like myself and countless others. The bell rings, the gates open, "They are off and Running" chimes the race caller. You bet the # 3 nag at 5/1 one minute before post. At the start your horse (#3) breaks like gangbusters and is 1 length ahead 15 feet from the start. Race ends. Three wins easily. You check the final totalisator board and you cannot believe your eyes---the # 3 horse is 9/5! These frauds occur daily. Until such time as ALL BETTING stops when the first horse enters his gate the Sharpies will bet for 1 to 3 seconds after the gate opens and we all get you-know-what. The entire horse racing industry is corrupt to the core. Weanlings raised on steroids, flawed yearlings sold to brainless new entrants with more money than smarts for outrageous prices, cheating trainers, drugged drunk or incompetent (or all three) backstretch employees caring for costly horses, short fields, huge track takeouts, inflated entrance, racing forms, and food prices. Good grief! I just convinced myself Never To Bet Again! At least until June 9, when I'll bet against the Nasal Wonderhorse. So much for commonsense, rational sense, and will power. Spoken as a true horse degenie!