Updated on 10/04/2014 12:04AM

O'Neill suspended by New York gaming commission

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Doug O'Neill

Trainer Doug O’Neill will serve a 45-day suspension and was fined $10,000 by the New York State Gaming Commission for the finding of a forbidden substance in one of his horses following a race at Belmont Park in June 2013.

Under a settlement reached with the gaming commission, O’Neill’s suspension does not begin until Nov. 3, two days after the Breeders’ Cup is run at Santa Anita. The suspension runs through Dec. 17.

Also, as part of the settlement, O’Neill would have to serve an additional 45 days if he incurs another violation involving a Class 1, 2, or 3 medication between now and Dec. 18, 2015, at any track.

O’Neill’s suspension comes as a result of the finding of the drug Oxazepam, a sedative with muscle-relaxing properties, in the post-race sample of Wind of Bosphorus, who won a $35,000 claiming race at Belmont on June 2, 2013. Oxapezam is a Class 2 drug, according to the American Racing Commissioners International’s website.

According to the New York State Gaming Commission, the drug was administered within a week of the horse’s race, a violation of New York racing regulation 4043.2 (h).

Owner Yildirim Gelgin had to relinquish the first-place purse of $24,600, and Wind of Bosphorus was ordered unplaced in the order of finish. Wind of Bosphorus was claimed that day by Steve Asmussen for owner Clark Brewster.

Asked why the penalty was so severe, a spokesperson for the gaming commission, in an e-mail, noted that O’Neill has had 18 prior equine drug violations – nine since January 2009.

On Aug. 25, 2010, at Del Mar, one of O’Neill’s horses, Argenta, raced with a higher-than-permitted level of total carbon dioxide.

For that violation, the California Horse Racing Board on May 29, 2012, suspended O’Neill’s license for 180 days but stayed 135 of those days provided O’Neill did not receive another medication positive at a California track or any U.S. or international racing jurisdiction for a Class 1, 2, or 3 drug during an 18-month probationary period. This New York violation would seem to fall within that 18-month period.

O’Neill is best known as the trainer of I’ll Have Another, who in 2012 won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. I’ll Have Another was injured and scratched the day before the Belmont and subsequently retired.

O’Neill, in an e-mail sent by his publicist, Kelly Wietsma, late Wednesday night, said, “Although I was not present or even in the state of New York when the alleged infraction took place, and I am confident that none of my employees or staff administered the alleged substance, I was the trainer of record and am taking responsibility for the positive test. I care deeply for the horses under my supervision and am responsible for ensuring their well being.”

The California Horse Racing Board is aware of the recent settlement agreement between Doug O’Neill and the New York State Gaming Commission.

The issue is currently under investigation by the CHRB.


Carolyn Davies More than 1 year ago
 people like this should be banned simple no matter how much $ they have!
Lynn Errickson More than 1 year ago
What a dirty reputation he has. He should lose his license permanently.
Toni R More than 1 year ago
He needs to be banned from the industry. This is not a first offense. I hope casinos eliminate horse racing ; too many horses being bred, treated like a commodity rather than a sentient being. Look at Zenyatta; oh she is cared for. Now she is a breeding machine. Cant get ONE year off!!!! Really!!!!! How about Mr. Commons, anyone think of giving him a short vacation. O'Neill is repulsive
Cool cat More than 1 year ago
why do people think drugging a horse is why the industry is hurting? Nope its called TIME,,,and Time brings change, and the biggest knife in the horse industry back is CASINO"S,,,its never gonna be like it use to be,,,get over it,,,
Lane Seliger More than 1 year ago
The CHRB, at the very least, should require a full panel blood screen before every race before allowing an O'neill entry. And they should require him to pay for it.
Lane Seliger More than 1 year ago
Even more interesting is that the offense occurred a year ago. What took so long? Mr. O'Neill's participation is not critical to the survival of racing. As a matter of fact, his banishment might provide more and better opportunities for honest trainers and owners. There are plenty of them.
Lane Seliger More than 1 year ago
O'Neill didn't know about the drug having been administered? Please! He's only been busted how many times? And he's still training. Seems to me that only an owner who does not object to circumventing the rules in the interest of winning at any cost, would send a horse to him. At the very least, he should have to serve the 135 days that were stayed from the prior offense. A Dutrow like treatment would not be too severe. He needs to make a living. Maybe just not training thoroughbreds. Who, in their right mind, would send a promising mare to I'll Have Another or any other O'Neill trained stakes winner standing anywhere?
Margaret Paddock More than 1 year ago
18 priors and he is still training? Guess that says how much anyone cares about the safety of the horses. He should draw a life suspension and the owner too for not having better sense than to let this guy around the horses.
Mary Johnson More than 1 year ago
Now let's not be too harsh on Mr. Drug O'Neill. He says that he cares "deeply" about the horses under his care. And there are those who wonder why racing is in trouble - big trouble! So many cheaters who are trying to win, at the expense of the horse, in this gambling industry. Sick, and sad...
elliottfactor1 More than 1 year ago
intentionally interfering with the outcome of a public sporting event is a federal offense,a crime. why isn't he being prosecuted??? - AT LEAST FOR ROBBERY!! - this penalty is far too lenient- after dutrow I was hoping thing might change - after this I see no hope