10/09/2014 4:23PM

Probation violation earns O'Neill another suspension

Barbara D. Livingston
Doug O'Neill received another 45-day suspension, this time from the California Horse Racing Board.

ARCADIA, Calif. -- Trainer Doug O’Neill began a 45-day suspension on Thursday after reaching a stipulated agreement with the California Horse Racing Board for violating the probationary terms of a 2012 suspension for a medication violation.

O’Neill suspension is the second 45-day penalty issued against him in the last 10 days.

In late September, O’Neill was suspended 45 days and fined $10,000 by the New York State Gaming Commission – from Nov. 3 to Dec. 17 – for a medication violation at Belmont Park in 2013.

The violation occurred during a time when O’Neill was on probation for a previous medication violation at Del Mar in 2010. In that ruling, issued by the California Horse Racing Board in May, 2012, O’Neill was suspended 180 days, but 135 days were stayed provided O’Neill did not have a violation for medications in classes 1, 2, or 3 in an 18-month period. The Belmont Park violation occurred during that time frame.

The suspension from the California Horse Racing Board that began on Thursday, and runs through Nov. 22, reduced that penalty to 45 days, and stayed the additional 90 days. In the ruling, O’Neill was placed on probation for 18 months, beginning on Nov. 23. Any medication violations in classes 1, 2, or 3 during that time would result in the restoration of the 90-day suspension.

As a result of the stipulated agreement, O’Neill will have concurrent suspensions in California and New York for a 19-day period in November. During the time of the suspension, O’Neill will not be allowed on racetrack grounds, including the barn area or grandstands.

He will be allowed to resume training on Dec. 18. If the 135-day suspension had been enacted, O’Neill would not have resumed training until the spring of 2015.

The penalties will prevent O’Neill from attending the Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita on Oct. 31 or Nov. 1. Last week, Breeders’ Cup officials said O’Neill would not be allowed to enter horses in Breeders’ Cup races because of the organization’s rule barring entries from trainers with medication violations in classes 1 or 2. O’Neill was cited for a Class 2 violation at Belmont Park.

O’Neill was not available for comment on Thursday.

Last Saturday, when entries were taken for Thursday’s program, the stable began entering horses in the name of O’Neill’s longtime assistant, Leandro Mora.

Mora won Thursday’s early daily double with Take Back Spring and Afleet in Time.