INGLEWOOD (California) – Doug O’Neill, who trains Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I’ll Have Another, has been suspended for 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 1 July at the earliest.
I’ll Have Another is scheduled to start in the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on 9 June, in an attempt to sweep the Triple Crown.
The decision was released on Thursday last week 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 advice from Paul Reddam, owner of I’ll Have Another.
O’Neill was suspended for 180 days after Argenta, who finished eighth in a race at Del Mar on 25 August 2010, tested in excess of the permitted level of total carbon dioxide. 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. 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 1 July.
O’Neill’s case was heard by Imhoff in a seven-day hearing. During that hearing, Imhoff concluded that Argenta had not been “milk shaked’’ or given a concoction designed to boost stamina.
Furthermore, Imhoff stated that there had been 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.
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. – Daily Racing Form.