06/12/2012 2:01PM

O'Neill plans to contest 45-day suspension

Barbara D. Livingston
“I’ll fight it until I can’t fight it anymore,” trainer Doug O’Neill said of the suspension.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Trainer Doug O’Neill, who won this year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness with I'll Have Another, plans to a contest a 45-day suspension issued by the California Horse Racing Board last month after one of his starters tested in excess of the permitted level of total carbon dioxide in 2010.

The suspension was issued by the racing board May 24 following a seven-day hearing in 2011 and a decision released in April by administrative law judge Steffan Imhoff.

“I’ll fight it until I can’t fight it anymore,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill was suspended 180 days and fined $15,000 for the overage, but 135 days of the suspension was stayed provided that the trainer did not have any violations of drugs in classes 1, 2, or 3 for a 18-month period.

The starting date of that probationary period was not announced. The racing board did not announce a starting date for the 45-day suspension, but said in May that it would not start before July 1.

O’Neill was penalized 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.

In his decision, 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 a statement released by the racing board.

Both the racing board and O’Neill had stipulated that tests conducted by the Ken Maddy Laboratory at UC-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.

“The [administrative law judge] said he found no wrongdoing,” O’Neill said. “They have said it could have been Lasix, sweat, or feed. Those are things trainers can’t control. There’s no motive. The horse didn’t win. It’s ridiculous.”

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.

John Bowman More than 1 year ago
We used to feed electrolytes and give an elect.jug prior to giving lasix.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I heard they give them Gunness in Ireland.
robdybas More than 1 year ago
I think Anonymous and Ms. Jackson should hook up on the outside. A night on the town might relieve some of that pent up frustration these two show with their War and Peace-like posts. I'm just a stupid horse player. Anything more than 3 sentences and i zone out. Maybe we can all chip in and get them a room at the Oriental Hotel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OK by me !
Robert Gotland More than 1 year ago
Come on they are trying to use Doug O Neill like a genie pig, Churchill Downs Inc and obviously MID Group who control the horse racing industry in many different ways simply use their hand picked stewards and Horse Racing Commissions to conspire to ruin trainers like Doug O Neill who refuse to bow to their beck and call but the above self Governing Masonic bodies like CDI//MID Group who control the Breeding Industries etc, will use their manipulative ways to demoralize anyone who refuses their hand shake which means all horseman must bow the knee to these half-bred holy than thou crocks, please Doug O Neill give me a call 954 3941619 owner/trainer Dennis Fisher/Rene Wagner we have much evidence that we believe will help and support your case. Churchill Downs/MID Group hierarchy allow their horses via their hand picked trainers to race their horses on Elephant Juice (M99) which has allowed them to reach fame and fortune their main game is to fix races from behind their closed Masonic doors of their private property racetracks trust nobody Doug O Neill they have many on their pay roll which includes vets and attorneys we will wait your call in Florida refer to our web page conspiredcorruption.wordpress.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I get to have to use the name anonymous like 500 others and these people can do what they please!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please take control of this blog.
Doug Vair More than 1 year ago
We are all half-nuts. All this talk of possibly giving a race horse baking soda and sugar? I have been in this Industry for 55 years and can't for the life of see why jurisdictions don't ban all race day meds? Lasix leaches the calcium out of young horses bones and they can lose up 125 pounds when they race on it. Bute can cloud a test according to the chemists who run testing labs. When asking where else do they run drug free on race day...just hit the ALL button.
JohnFRossi1 More than 1 year ago
I believe some of the people commenting have no clue. U.S. racing is still the best in the world simply, get rid of the trash and let the sport be that a sport. The only bad factor is actually a few in a sport of thousands.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
U.S. Racing is the best in the world?....really? You mean horses that can barely run 10 furlongs....and some morphing to quarterhorses?....
JohnFRossi1 More than 1 year ago
This is my opinion I see you have a differnt one which is fine as I am also sure you have never held a shank in your hand . put some actual time in with a horse then get back to me. As I said I am a third genaration horseman who parents and grandparents have been in the sport we too have different opinions. All the best.
Kenneth Porteous More than 1 year ago
Best in the world? Isn't Black Caviar racing in England this summer along with Frankel and Camelot? It's interesting Black Caviar flew OVER the USA to get to England. Why would she want to race here where over-medicated horses and trainers would do ANYTING TO BEAT HER?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
make your bets in England then. Get your dental work done there also. Good day sir.
Kenneth Porteous More than 1 year ago
What does that have to do with Rossi's comment "U.S racing is still the best"?
Yvette Gillam More than 1 year ago
US racing isn't what it use to be, over medication horses has made sure of that.
JohnFRossi1 More than 1 year ago
Don't know how many of you actually have a background with horses.But I am a third generation horsemen and believe that competition is best when everyone is even. Legal medications should be ok such as Lasix to help prevent bleeding. Enhancement drugs on the other hand have no place in the sport. Mutiple offenders should be run out of the business. They are the ones dragging the sport down. I believe there are still many who can train winners without cheating. Just my two cents
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Then how come other countries can run without race day medications?
Robert Smith More than 1 year ago
Different environment for horse training.
slewfan More than 1 year ago
Different environment?? What about all the great horses and races here in the USA BEFORE Lasix was legalized?? We had eleven TC winners, remember?? How many TC winners after legalizing Lasix?? ZERO! Don't use environment as an excuse...that's lame! The excuse is it's easier to put the horse on drugs than to deal w/a bleeder. Also, it's a legalized performance enhancer...Lasix is a diuretic that rids the horse of gallons/pounds of water before the race...that's what this is all about. Statistics taken from ALL the other countries not using race day Lasix has shown that only 5 to 10% of all horses are bleeders; and if you care about the horse, you wouldn'd drug a bleeder to run. Using Lasix should be done away with if we are ever to improve the breed and get back to what the sport is all about...THE HORSE!!
James Turner More than 1 year ago
Ban Lasix, let them wear nasal strips.
Sean Ali More than 1 year ago
Easy... OLD SCHOOL !! Horses are given the necessary time to develop as 2 year olds. They're not required to blaze 1/4 and 1/2 miles in yearling sales before their bones are fully developed and then medicated to help them recover. It' has been the slow death of American racing for a couple of decades now, dont'cha know ? Where've you been !!
JohnFRossi1 More than 1 year ago
Apparently more than people who have never been on the backside. Its easy to sit in the grandstand and judge something you really know nothing about. Best of luck
Kenneth Porteous More than 1 year ago
Don't know how many of you horsemen have a background in gambling, but horse racing's odds are horrible. If a horse has 50% if the win pool bet on him, we can assume he that he has about a 50% chance to win. What does the track pay you? 60 cents on the dollar when the true odds are dollar for dollar. That's financial suicide.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I'm glad he's fighting it and I hope he gets the decision overturned. Many trainers do when they fight these kind of decisions. The way this whole incident was handled, and the suspicious timing of it, by the CHRB was regretable, at the very least. When the CHRB handed down their ruling, they should have clearly announced that there was no evidence of "milkshaking" found, as the horse in question ran eighth in the race (obviously negating any of the so called "benefit" alleged in the supposed incident), AND explained what the Trainer Insurer Rule is and what it involves. The way the CHRB announced their ruling allowed every layperson out there to put their own spin on the ruling and throw around unsubstantited accusations without properly researching for themselves what the ruling truly meant, and then making an intelligent decision on the matter. Instead, they took their information almost solely from enterprises like the New York Times, who wrote a very vague, yet accusatory, story designed to sell more newspapers for them rather than just reporting the truth, and stoking the ire of a lot of misguided people. Quite regretable.
Laura Coronado More than 1 year ago
The reports I read did state that they found no evidence of Milkshaking and explained what the Trainer Insurer rule is. That some media outlets chose to not report it, is just bad journalism. Under the Trainer's Insurer rule he is responsible. And just because no evidence was found doesn't mean that he or someone on his staff didn't milkshake the horse. If it was the first time it happened I would be inclined to support his fighting it, but it isn't. Something, whether against the rules or not, is going on in that barn. If he is innocent as he claims, he should be doing everything in his power to figure out why he has had high TOC2 levels and work on correcting it.
Susan Huart More than 1 year ago
The NY times hasn't been able to deliver the truth about anything in years. It's dependent on 2-full page Tiffany ads for income. The newspaper is done. So, why would a hack sports reporter bother to research his article like an ethical journalist? No reason. Hurry up and print the gossip. NY drove the ONeill team into the ground, without grounds. So negative!
James Mcrae More than 1 year ago
well well imagine that and his horse scratches the day before the derby no coincidence ,the retention barn at belmont was the real reason ill have another didnt run another black eye for raceing
Robert Smith More than 1 year ago
Yea rocket scientist ,belmonts the only place they could run the horse.