Dear Doug: Seize the Moment

  • click above & share!
    X
  • click above & share!
    X


  • click above & share!
    X
  • click above & share!
    X

It’s been 12 years since Marion Jones thrilled the sporting world by winning five Olympic medals at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. Twelve long years. Since becoming the darling of track and field and signing multi-million-dollar endorsement deals, Jones has had to endure grand jury probes, public ridicule, six months in federal prison, bankruptcy, and personal shame. All because she embraced cheating through the use of performance enhancing drugs and then, faced with an opportunity to fess up, refused to come clean.

In other words: deny, deny, deny.


Jones is trying to clean up her image as the 2012 London Olympics come into view, appearing recently on CNN’s Piers Morgan talk show to discuss her long personal nightmare. Just like disgraced athletes in other sports, including baseball’s Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Roger Clemens, Jones had a choice. She could have, from the time authorities first began investigating whether or not she was cheating, stood up and said: “I did it. It was wrong. I’m sorry.”

That’s what world-class sprinter Kelli White did in 2004. Caught up in the same Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative investigation that wrecked the careers of Jones, Bonds, and others, White did what few other high-profile athletes have done: she immediately admitted her guilt, then offered to use her inside knowledge to help clean up the sport. While Marion Jones was calling the United States Anti-Doping Agency probe a “kangaroo court” and lied to two federal grand juries, White promptly admitted her wrongdoing, saying, “I have not only cheated myself, but also my family, friends and sport. If I can make a difference in cleaning up the sport, then I will have done more for the sport than anything I could have done on the track.”

While Marion Jones was crying herself to sleep in prison, Kelli White was earning an MBA degree and preparing for a career outside of track and field. White, who did the unthinkable and broke rank by ending the code of silence among cheaters, was considered by many to be a hero. Jones, who milked her fame for every last dollar, was seen as the poster child for what is wrong in track and field, and sports in general.

Horse racing is not immune from the problems involving performance enhancing drugs that have haunted other sports. And like those other sports, with rare exceptions, the knee-jerk reaction from participants to positive drug tests and rules violations is the same: deny, deny, deny.

That’s what Triple Crown trainer Doug O’Neill has done when four of his horses – three in California and one in Illinois – tested above the permitted level for total carbon dioxide. TCO2 levels can be raised artificially by loading bicarbonates into a horse’s system. The end result is the neutralization of muscle fatigue-causing lactic acid buildup.

O’Neill, the trainer of Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner I’ll Have Another, was handed a 45-day suspension and $15,000 fine by the California Horse Racing Board last week for his most recent TCO2 infraction, dating back to August 2010. The penalty followed the recommendation of a hearing officer, who said the excessive TCO2 level was not caused by a traditional “milkshake,” an illegal procedure that involves flushing a mix of baking soda and fluids into the stomach via a nasogastric tube. The case was delayed, in part, because O’Neill filed a federal lawsuit, since dismissed, against the regulatory board, saying its testing procedures are flawed. Yet only a small number of TCO2 violations have been called in California since 2006, and no trainers besides O’Neill have been charged with more than one.

He fought previous sanctions for his TCO2 violations as well. O’Neill and surrogates for him have claimed the CHRB, for some reason, is out to get him. He also appealed to the CHRB to keep the suspension given to him by the Illinois Racing Board for a 2010 TCO2 violation from being reciprocated in California. O’Neill claims to have no idea how his horses, among the thousands that tested below the 37.0 millimole per liter threshold, exceeded the legal limit.

O’Neill has sworn on stacks of Bibles and on his children’s eyes that he’s done nothing wrong, but I think it’s time to cut the crap, to stop acting like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds or a pre-imprisoned Marion Jones. Of course he didn’t administer milkshakes or knowingly do anything to raise the TCO2 level of his horses above the permitted level. But did he, his stable staff, or veterinarians he employed try to manipulate the physiology of O’Neill’s horses to get an edge by increasing carbon dioxide levels higher than the norm?

If the answer is “yes,” there would be no better time than now for O’Neill to come forward and admit wrongdoing, to say he got caught up in the competitiveness of the sport, that he was only trying to compete on a level playing field because he thought everyone else was doing the same thing.

Why now?

Horse racing is in the cross-hairs for a number of reasons, and O’Neill is our present-day poster child for what is wrong with the game. Yes, he is as tireless a promoter of racing as anyone in the sport right now, and I’ll Have Another could carry him to heights he could never have imagined. But the questions about his numerous medication violations, including those four TCO2 infractions, are going to dog him between now and the June 9 Belmont, and all the way down Victory Lane should I’ll Have Another become racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner.

I wrote last week I believe O’Neill deserves another chance to remold his image, that whatever misdeeds occurred in the past will not be repeated. I was called naïve (among other things) for believing that success, instead of spoiling Doug O’Neill, has taught him a valuable lesson in how to conduct himself as a Thoroughbred trainer.

By not continuing down the road of denial traveled by the likes of Marion Jones or Roger Clemens and baring his soul in the manner of Kelli White, O’Neill could put an end to all of the questions about his past.

By cooperating with racing authorities instead of fighting them or suing them, by saying he made mistakes that he will never again repeat, by accepting the 45-day suspension (and perhaps voluntarily taking additional time off), O’Neill could turn enemies into supporters. He could become a hero to those who are pushing for reforms in hopes of cleaning up racing and its image, in the process transforming himself into a leader of that very movement. O’Neill could almost singlehandedly change the conversation and help make the game stronger, its future brighter. And he would almost certainly feel better about himself.

That course of action would have a far greater positive impact on the sport than a Triple Crown triumph ever could.

New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry
  • Watcher

    It’s too bad you don’t apply your standard for criticism equally among trainers who’ve been caught cheating.  I don’t recall you making similar remarks about Todd Pletcher, Richard Dutrow and Steve Asmussen, but then again they are employed by some of your turf club buddies and advertisers.

  • Stanley inman

    Ray, don’t worry about O’neill tarnishing the triple crown.
    Rule breakers like those mentioned come and go.
    No one thinks any less of baseball or track and field because of jones or Clemens;
    History assigns them to another category
    Nothing they say can change that.

  • Rufusous

    Well written and blistering, Ray! Unfortunately, I not sure sociopaths and serial cheats like O’Neill and Dutrow have a conscience, which would allow them to admit their guilt. After all they’ve been allowed to get away with in the sport, they proved how incompetent or how foolish everybody else was, for tolerating their actions and allowing them to continue.

  • Bellwether

    how many TCO2′s has Milkshake Mullins had???…

  • McGov

    Good article.  I never thought of this situation as an opportunity, and you could be right, if O’Neil were to wash his soul in front of the world, it could have a bigger impact than winning the Triple Crown.  The sport could use someone that is brave enough to be contrite regarding their magic trip up the ladder.  In order to clean up the sport properly, discussion regarding the true underbelly must occur, and a collective movement away from this ugly history.  There is a long list of things that happen every day in this sport that are beyond any sense of decency.  O’Neil is hardly the worst offender, but he has the biggest stage and could use it in a meaningful way if he chooses.

  • stillriledup

    Good stuff Ray.

    Near the bottom of this piece, you say “by cooperating with racing authorities instead of fighting them or suing them, by saying he made mistakes that he will never again repeat”

    I think there is a difference between a blanket statement “i made mistakes and i’m sorry” to i “knowingly put baking soda in these horses” .

    Just a blanket apology isnt enough, we need to specifically hear him say “i cheated and got caught and i’m sorry”. The media (led by you) needs to press him on this issue.

    If he wants to have closure and wants the industry to forgive him and view him as a nice
    guy, good trainer and good family man, he needs to actually ‘fess up’ to KNOWINGLY breaking racing rules and not just “i made mistakes and im sorry”.

    When i see all these denials and all this folly about having to google milkshake and all the legal challenges that suggest the testing is flawed it makes me think that Doug and his people are not truly sorry and they just want this issue to ‘go away’

    When the TC is over, win or lose, Doug will fade off into his suspension, he will fade out of concious view and the media will just forget to keep asking him to his face “did you knowingly cheat, you could come clean right here and now”.

    I won’t hold my breath however that anyone will ever get a confession out of him. Maybe we will get the blaket “im sorry” but when someone just says “im sorry” what they really MEAN is “im sorry i got caught”.
     

  • voiceofreason

    “I think it’s time to cut the crap, to stop acting like Roger Clemens,
    Barry Bonds or a pre-imprisoned Marion Jones… But did he, his stable staff,
    or veterinarians he employed try to manipulate the physiology of
    O’Neill’s horses to get an edge by increasing carbon dioxide levels
    higher than the norm?

    If the answer is “yes,” there would be no
    better time than now for O’Neill to come forward and admit wrongdoing… “

    Hahahah, LOL! What are you smoking Ray?

    Forget O’Neill. There isn’t ONE. SINGLE. INDIVIDUAL. in all of racing that won’t trip over themselves to protect “what works”.  That type of fortitude and integrity doesn’t all of a sudden appear, like POOF! In this business? Hahahaha. Lay off the juice buddy.

  • Damon Runyon

    Excellent commentary.

    As I see it, Mr. O’Neill would have to have the character to make it believable. Otherwise, that kind of admission could be very harmful.

  • desertrailrat

     I don’t know why don’t you enlighten us.  Or am I supposed to search the CHRB database for the rest of the evening?

  • ktq1

    I agree that in whole there is a double standard, even among those championing reform.  Why do Baffert, Pletcher and Asmussen get a free ride?  Not to mention their wealthy owners?  Tho I might have just answered my own question.  Attacking Dutrow is easy – Baffert another story.

  • Watcher

    It’s implausible that you could mention Baffert and Dutrow in the same breath.  He may drill his young horses too fast for their own good but Baffert could never be characterized as the dope dispenser Dutrow is.

  • Big Red

    WOW, this may be the best article you ever did Ray.
    Unfortunately, like someone with an additiction, O’Neill (both of them) will never admit to cheating or pushing the envelope to the point at which they got caught.
    “Hard work” like Doug keeps preaching doesn’t produce a positive test.

  • JC

    It is true that one hopes people have integrity, but many times that is not the case.  Thus, perhaps it pays to treat certain adults like children.  An astute psychologist(Terry Real, I believe) once stated that good parenting consists of three things–1) love/nurture; 2) guidance; and 3) limit-setting, with this last sparking debate as to whether or not it’s the most important, especially in preparing humans to run free around society. 

    For the record I am not stating, lest I be accused of such, that federal government regulation is the answer to horse racing’s problems.  What I am saying is that, something(CHRB, states, Jockey Club; whatever, whoever) needs to SET LIMITS–and, if you are going to set limits, more importantly, ENFORCE THEM, AND ENFORCE THEM CONSISTENTLY.  Then, you just might see those who are acting like children(how many of those have cheated or lied until taught otherwise with negative CONSEQUENCES) start to behave like caring adults with SOME integrity. 

    Come on folks, money’s nice, but more so are those beautiful horses.  It’s time to do better. 

    Good column–not a word wasted or untrue, in my view.  Roll in the muck or rise to the occasion and stay there.  And for God’s sake take care of your horses, and that care does not include performance-enhancing cheating that is detrimental to their lives and health. 

    Want to know about the merits/benefits of cheating?  Ask someone like that poor Lyle Alzado.  In the end, even HE admitted he was wrong, and was paying the price for it.  Posthumous kudos to him for his honesty.  When it comes to DO, I don’t think I’m hearing a whole lot of honesty.  What I’m hearing is either deafening silence or denial.  GROW UP…

  • Battlerbilly

    Don’t hold your breath.

  • Canarse

    Kelli White had a life ahead of her outside of Track and Field.  O’Neill does not.  It sounds great to write an article to call on a man to give up his career and deprive his family of the earnings to which they are accustomed.  If O’Neill did what you ask they would grill him on a spit and make an example out of him.  This would serve to make the public think racing authorities are tough on cheaters and it will serve notice to those within the sport to keep their mouths shut.

    I don’t condone what O’Neill, Dutrow, Assmussen, Pletcher, and many others have done. It has to stop.  At the same time it’s naive to ask or expect someone who is doing pretty much what most others in his business are doing to fall on his sword.  

  • Barry Irwin

    This is the dumbest response to a sincerely written story I can remember. If Doug O’Neill took Ray Paulick’a advice it would not negatively impact his career, but enrich and lengthen it. Read it again pal…Ray is presenting a scenario in which the trainer can become a major hero. I, for one, would be proud of Doug if he did this and I am sure that I am not alone in this regard.

  • stillriledup

     Someone has to fall on the sword, it needs to start now. Enough is enough, bettors are sick and tired of cheats running the sport, it needs to get cleaned up now.

    as far as his family being deprived of ‘earnings’ what about the people who are deprived of earnings (bettors, other owners, etc) because they lost to a baking soda horse? They dont take the purses away from the owners (not to mention the betting money they made because they knew in advance which horse was juiced) and redistribute, they just give a paltry fine to the trainer and a wrist slap.

    For a serial offender, a 45 day suspension means nothing, he has a top notch assistant and a cell phone, laying on Manhattan Beach while on the phone is not my idea of a punishment. As far as the 15k goes, that’s a small percentage of his cut of IHA’s earnings this month, its a pittance.

    The way the rules are set up, its a good idea to TC02 your horse and just deal with the consequences later..the punishments arent nearly strong enough to deter this behavior. Bettors are wagering hundreds of thousands of dollars per RACE, tens of thousands of dollars are ‘changing hands’ on one baking soda overage and yet, those bettors have no recourse. Those bettors had money taken out of their pockets and they’re supposed to just forgive and forget?

  • Barry Irwin

    Well done Ray. I am proud of you. I would like to be prouder still. Keep up the good work. I am a proud advertiser and supporter of the Paulick Report from the beginning. This piece exemplifies what I had in mind when I signed on.

  • Tinky

    Seriously? That’s a remarkable assertion – especially from someone who (I believe) is based in California. 

    I don’t have any information relating to Baffert’s recent exploits, so perhaps he was smart enough to clean up his act. But his powerful stable was – beyond a shadow of a doubt – built, in part, on the serial use of some of the most potent PE drugs.

  • stillriledup

     Barry, the key to Rays above article is where he says “ive made mistakes that ill never repeat”. To me, that still wouldnt be an admission of guilt. Anyone can say “ive made mistakes” its a completely different animal if he says “i knowingly put baking soda into these horses, i knew what i was doing when i did it”.

    A vague “im sorry” isnt as powerful as actually admitting you cheated. Anyone can say “im sorry” but not actually admit what they’re ‘sorry for’.

  • Watcher

    Baffert has had a remarkably clean record in every state he races for many years. I used to report on drug violations, and the penalties assessed, in California and can tell you that Baffert’s name was rarely, if ever, mentioned.  On the other hand, trainers like John Sadler, Art Sherman, Mike Mitchell and Jeff Mullins were regulars.

  • Canarse

    I don’t doubt Ray’s sincerity, but I don’t believe for a minute the guy would be a folk hero.  We seem to like nothing better in the US than to hang ‘em high.  It would take major stones to do it and I would certainly respect it, but I think it would go badly for him.  I don’t know Doug O’Neill and maybe he’s set financially for life like you probably are Mr. Irwin.  If he is it makes it a lot easier.  A lot.  You may find my response dumb, but I find yours arrogant.  C’est la vie.

  • Canarse

    I don’t disagree with any of your post, but it’s a lot to ask for one guy to carry the sins of many in the industry.  Even if he did it what’s to stop the next cheater from stepping up to the plate.  The fact that owners continue to employ known cheaters tells you what’s important to them.  I just don’t see O’Neill fessing up changing much.

  • Tinky

    As you well know, the real cheating is not reflected on the official records. Both EPO use and milkshaking (to use two examples) were widespread before the testing began, and some of the most successful of the cheaters have relatively clean records.

  • Barry Irwin

    I think Ray is merely suggesting something that you have set in stone. Take Ray’s suggestions for exactly what they: suggestions. Leave it up to the trainer to craft his own response, should that ever take place.

  • Matthew Martini

    This is a great article. When thinking about O’Neill, McGwire, Bonds, et al. I almost think that their denial is an act of self-preservation. It takes a strong person to admit that how they achieved their success (and, in some cases, greatest successes) was due to cheating. I don’t think that the types who cheat to begin with are generally the types of people who are honest with themselves. But I’m not a psychologist, so I would not know.

  • dh

    Great post Ray, just when I thought we were losing you. This kind of writing makes PR the best, and slightly addicting. But like most addicts, we want more….but this is a very good start.

  • Steve

    Nice sentiment Ray. But guys like O’Neill are compulsive liars. They tell the lie’s so much, that they believe them as gospel. They have gotten over time and time again, why fess up to the truth that we all know.

  • FlyFilly

    It would have to be a carefully-crafted apology with a focus on reform. Otherwise it could be misconstrued as another “Dutrow admits to giving clenbuterol to Big Brown” moment. But if so–it would make him a hero to many.

  • PiratesGOTme

    Ray, as a racing fan, I want to say thank you. Its been a long while since I’ve seen great journalism and the industry used together. If it is, it’s usually with such negativity that it makes me sick. I would shake my head at anybody who exploits the triple crown at a time like this. Still, feeling so strong about an issue, you put it out there in such a proper manor. Well done.

  • Bssniffer

    Ray:

    This is the last article I will read on your website. How many stories are you going to post about Doug and a TCO2 infraction that occurred 2 years ago? Any opportunity to show your East coast bias. It’s obvious why you got fired from the Bloodhorse, you have no sense.

  • Bssniffer

    Barry:

    I know your smarter than everyone else. It’s evident from the way you look down your nose at everyone. By the way, that was a thing of class and beauty calling all your former trainers liars last year. It’s a wonder why you don’t have more fans.

  • Bssniffer

    Hey Twinky:

    Was that you on the side of the causeway in South Beach this past weekend? I thought so.

  • Bssniffer

    Stanley:

    I know how you can be useful. Go hold the tail of the filly you trained while I touch her with my cattle prod. Thanks in advance!!!

  • Bssniffer

    Well Barry, as I said before. You provided the TV audience at last year’s KY Derby with the dumbest response to any question ever asked to a owners of a KY Derby winner. You calling something dumb, is like the kettle calling the teapot black…. 

  • Don Reed

    SPLENDIDLY written, Ray, first-rate stuff.  Wouldn’t be amazing if what you’re proscribing actually would be taken seriously by O’Neill, and executed by him as encouraged?

    No punch lines.  Not this time.

  • Don Reed

    Ray, remember when, a couple of years ago, you tracked one of these messages back to its source – someone posting from his desk at the Bloodhorse? 

    Did history repeat itself tonight?

  • Barbara

    “If the answer is “yes,” there would be no better time than now for O’Neill to come forward and admit wrongdoing, to say he got caught up in the competitiveness of the sport, that he was only trying to compete on a level playing field because he thought everyone else was doing the same thing.”

    Who, exactly, is “everyone else” and does Doug get to swipe them with his sword before he falls on it?

  • desertrailrat

     TROLL ALERT, DO NOT REPLY TO THIS pos. 

  • desertrailrat

     Bssniffer is a troll who is trying to make a point about anonymous posts

  • desertrailrat

     Ray borrow one from Jim Rome: Uh oh! BLOCKED!  I dont like that post, not a very good post!

  • desertrailrat

     Sick!  Don’t let this sorry SOB take our freedom of speech.  THANK YOU RAY

  • Mallie125

    I would hope that we dont get too caught up in focusing too much of our enegry on blaming the trainers only about the the use of illegal drugs to some of the horses that are in their stables, and realize that in order for most of these violations to be corrected, race tracks must do a better job of seeing that horses that are drugged illegally never make it to the starting gate, and deal with these individuals that are responsible as soon as the vet report their findings, more Immediate temporary bans from the tracks where the violation happened, and speeding up the hearing process for the alleged violators, like is done to traffic voilators will aid in giving other race tracks a file that can be accesed to avoid their tracks and racing fans being a victim of the same violators. lack of enforcement at some race tracks is the major reasons that we are discussing these problems today, needless to say there are many more problems that the racing industry are faced with that need its attention immediately if it wants to continue to attract the intrest of such a large sector of the sporting world and continue being the proud controller of “THE SPORTS OF KINGS”

  • desertrailrat

    Don, can you please say something that doesn’t make me laugh or I don’t agree with so I can snidely attack your integrity?

  • desertrailrat

      Go away idiot.  We only eat our own here.

  • groucho

    baking soda, gatorade, and sugar. we need to keep repeating these three words. baking soda, gatorade, and sugar.

  • Josh

    JoyJackson211 day ago
    ITA – And something I’ve said online here in the past. If the infraction occurred and if the supposed intent was to make the horse perform better, then it failed miserably because the horse came in 8th, in the back of the pack. That was true of another case they brought him up on, too. According to that kind of evidence,”milkshaking” must not work very well. I don’t see why anyone would try it if the results of it makes a horse run in the back of the pack, sort of defeats the supposed purpose of it.

  • Adamk

    Comparing Doug Oniell to Marion Jones. Sorry, u have the wrong poster child for cleaning up the sport. I like the concept, Ray, though your plea comes a bit too late. Your Dear Doug letter shouldve read “Dear Bob”… Baffert: Class 1 morphine positive, or “Dear Steve”Assmussen, Class 2 or “Dear Richard” Dutrow and fianlly “Dear Todd” Pletcher on their mepivicaine positives. But “Dear Doug” Oneill: baking soda. Come on folks…please keep it real.  

  • stillriledup

    I’m not asking him to carry sins of other people, i’m just suggesting that he needs to admit to the cheating in order for me and many others to ‘forgive and forget’.

    Ray Paulick is forgiving and forgetting without this confession, i was saying that i’m going to hold Douglas to a higher standard and ask nicely for the confession.

    As far as a trainer cheating or not, that has nothing to do with the ‘sins of the industry’. Being dishonest is a personal choice, hopefully his relatives are proud of him.

  • Bellwether

    don’t b a dumb @SS…

  • Watcher

    If you have proof offer it up.

  • Watcher

    Yes, Ray has done the same bang-up job as he did at the Blood-Horse on investigating and reporting on the grave abuses at the two-year-old in training sales. Talk about rampant drug use! And worse yet there’s no enforcement of the laughable “Code of Ethics” the NATC imposed on itself. 

    Ray Paulick has served with aplomb his many advertisers who are complicit in this suicidal scheme.

  • Abcya123ya

    “If the answer is “yes,” there would be no better time than now for O’Neill to come forward and admit wrongdoing, to say he got caught up in the competitiveness of the sport, that he was only trying to compete on a level playing field because he thought everyone else was doing the same thing.”You buried the lead, Ray. 

  • Jimculpepper

    Yup!  Precisely the ingredients for oral rehydration therapy for infants with diarrhea.  I don’t get the rule, though a rule is a rule.

  • Guest

    Interesting that a couple of O’Neill’s positive tests came from the barn of now Santa Anita CEO Mark Verge. Doug seems like a good guy and straight shooter. Verge on the other hand? I’ve heard my share of stories about his rise to prominence. Nothing I can confirm 100% but I wish someone would take a closer look under that rock.

  • Pomdeterre

    if you think multiple violations in 14 states isn’t “real”, i’ve got a bridge to sell you.

  • Stanley inman

    Trolls groins tingle when they do their work; (they get off with a keyboard)

  • B Eye has no class

    I’m surprised that Ray didn’t remove your post like he did last night to a couple of people who had honest opinions about Barry’s egotistical ways. Ray probably didn’t catch this one. He was probably asleep at the wheel. G-d forbid someone should be allowed to criticize an advertiser of his.

  • JB56

    Its true…..when are all these cheaters going to realize that lying and denying just makes their situation worse.  Clemens could also have been a hero if he just admitted it from the beginning.  Look at Andy Pettitte, its almost forgotten that he used.  But lets give O’Neill a break here…after all, he doesn’t even know what “Milkshaking” is!!!!

  • Femac

    I have read the comments, and what I don’t understand is why no one wants to take responsibility for their actions. It seems everyone wants to blame someone else.  You are acting like children not responsible adults. Teddy did it but he didnt get punished. Why punish Ed just because he got caught.  Johnny is worst than Pete, but nothing happened to him.  I think the term “Horsemen” should be changed to “Horse Children”.  When you do run into someone who has the guts to speak his mind, you the “gutless” criticze.

    A tip of my old derby to Ray and Barry.

    Femac

  • Imperfect Intregrity

     It’s just amazing how success has so many critics!  People like to see other fail because it makes them feel better about their own shortcomings.  Keep up the great work promoting the sport, Ray and Barry.

  • Joemom

     After reading this I feel better about your previous article on Doug deserving another  chance.  Come clean, admit in detail what you did to cheat, suggest changes to make the sport better and then you may deserve another chance.  That said, their is no chance that Doug will ever admit to any specifics and the most he will say is “I have made mistakes.”

  • Frank L.

    O’ Neil —

    Hold your ground!! Don’t admit to
    something you did not do to satisfy an outward AGENDA by those who
    want to conform to international racing for their own profit! Yes,
    you have violations, as many other trainers do, BUT, you are the
    center of attention right now — NO BETTER PERSON TO ATTACK!!! You
    live in a faulty generation caught up in personal transference of
    wrongdoing by the general public focused on lack of commitment to
    themselves, family, and country!

    Doug, just look around you and see what
    the present day ideology has done to our country, NOW, they want YOU
    to become part of that same agenda in the sports world — DON’T DO
    IT!! The people around you know you for who you really are —
    forget about the deadbeats, and the press, who themselves should be
    ashamed of their lack of responsibility to the people of this
    country! Focus on winning the Triple Crown — YOUR WAY!! You’ve
    come this far on your own, stay that way!! Good Luck — the “TRUE”
    fans will support you for who you are, not what others want to make
    of you.

  • 2sunroofsue

    Barry, you alluded to the magic words.  PERMISSIBLE LEVELS.  Trainers rely on their vets to know those levels, which differ in each racing State.  Positives result from a horse failing to metabolize medication within the “accepted” number of hours or days from time of treatment to Race day.  You both have plenty to say.  How about the truth?

  • Frank L.

    Josh —

    It doesn’t attribute to a horse running
    in the back of the pack —- as my vet told me back in the 70′s, he
    didn’t think milkshaking worked, in the first place. Again, this was
    back in the 70′s, this is “NOT” something new.

    What we are looking at here is
    something that can be proven in the lab (technically), but, not
    necessarily in real life action!!

  • Anita Xanax

    And Prilosec…don’t forget the Prilosec…

  • Frank L.

    Mallie —

    Traffic Court is a Great example of
    “injustice”, on a large scale, in our country. When was the lat
    time you went!! Traffic court exists to make the appearance of State
    stealing from the public — LEGAL and JUST!!! Now, if that exists
    on the State level, out in the open, how much better do you really
    think that type of operation is going to work in racing?

  • Frank L.

    Bssniffer —

    Your assessment is right on. Paulick
    is becoming the ENQUIRER of racing (not necessarily true), while the
    Jerry Springer angle (Impact through negative portrayals) is used
    selectively!!

    What Ray has realized, is that the
    general public “FEED” on/off negativity!! Nuff said!!

  • RayPaulick

     No.

  • Don Reed

    No, you don’t remember, or no, history did not repeat itself, which one?

  • Don Reed

    I am wanting in the integrity department. find another avenue of approach.  Warning: Sense of humor has a moat around it, freshly stocked with black-type alligators, invasive Asian carp, and needles discarded by trainers.  Pole vault might work.

    Suzy Uchitel, freshly minted detective, informs me that “Frank L.’s” former alias (on the Reader’s Digest site) was “Calvin Coolidge,” and that she still misses Tiger.

  • SteveG

    Milkshaking was the scourge of (international) harness racing before it became prevalent as a performance enhancing method for T-breds. 

    Here’s an interesting & fairly comprehensive item posted by the AHRC of Australia in which real racing results were held up to TCO2 levels of actual entrants & which proves, (not in a lab) if “proof” beyond the grass-roots knowledge is required, that milkshaking is potent performance enhancer.

    Without a doubt, despite the anecdotal wisdom of Frank L’s trainer from the ’70s.

    Does it work everytime?  Nothing works everytime.  Should an anecdotal poor finish for a horse with a high TCO2 level indicate that it isn’t effective, as you seem to imply?

    The following is a little long & without page breaks but on what would be pg.5 is a table drawn from actual races.  It’s an interesting read, in any case.

    http://www.harness.org.au/hra/…   

  • Clem Clemson

    FRANK L.  What planet do you live on?  DO was found to have a horse in his care that exceeded acceptable levels. Period. That didn’t happen by accident.  That horse did not take a cab down to a bar and load up on baking soda. He’s captive in a barn and subject to ingesting whatever DO feeds him.  We are not talking “Ideology” here.  We are talking about taking responsibility for a horse in DO’s custody, control and possession. If you ask me, it is the failure to take responsibility that is a problem in our society today.  Everyone wants to blame stuff on their mother, or an addiction, or on their rotten genes, or on the government.  Time for DO to man up!!

  • Skip Ean

    Very happy to see you name the big names in tb racing who have violations on top of violations.  I disagree with your position on O’Neill because he was using a different substance but was going for the same results as the other druggers. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1247271511 Suzanne Deckelmann

    IHA has been wearing a breathing strip, which is a step in the right direction for O’Neill & other trainers as well.  But what have the Belmont stewards done?  They’ve told him IHA may not wear it in the Belmont!!!  It was fine at Churchill…fine at Pimlico…why not at Belmont???  With such a crucial race at stake, this is not a time for regulatory power-plays!  Maddening!

  • Frank L.

    Sunroofsue —

    The use of levels is a misnomer — it
    should read “trace” levels, with the exception of Lasix, or ,
    maybe Premaren. Pain medications are NOT allowed, except in trace
    levels (micro: one millionth [10 -6])

    ( nano: one thousandth of one
    millionth [10-9])

    grams. At these trace levels, no
    benefits can be attained from whatever is being administered, prior
    to race day!!

  • Frank L.

    Clem —

    It would be nice if Know-Nothings, like
    yourself, would not contaminate these comments with stupid
    assertions.

    Yes, to having a horse in his care
    that failed the test — he is being penalized for that. The
    trainer is responsible (Scapegoat) per the rules — why not the
    track, itself?

    a) This does NOT prove that Doug did
    anything himself, just that the horse was in his care!

    Yes, the horse is captive in
    Doug’s barn, BUT, is subject to ingesting whatever “ANYBODY”
    in the barn feeds him. Remember he was cleared of “milkshaking”!!

    Ideology has everything to do
    with attitudes, mindsets, and beliefs. Maybe it is about time to
    make parents responsible for “everything” that their children
    (1-18) do, as some states are contemplating? Same mindset as to
    what you are talking about!!

  • Clem Clemson

    Frank.  You are a PR miscreant.  I have owned and ridden horses for 40 years. I know what goes on in the barn. The way you go around calling people names is really appalling.  I really wish Paulick could block you in some way. 

  • ZippelBayWalleye

    Ray, don’t you mean eye p address?

  • Hrprfan

    No it didn’t come from BH, I woud guess

  • Frank L.

    .

    Clem —

    You know, if people would
    state their experience, and, in “WHAT” capacity they were
    “licensed” at the track, then, this would not be necessary. Your
    name is not so important, BUT, in what capacity you were “licensed”
    at the track, to me, would be mandatory in deciphering comments!!
    Even though you were an owner doesn’t mean anything as far as the
    rules of racing — NO REQUIREMENT, which would explain your comment.
    Further, if you “DID” actually know what goes on in the barn,
    THEN, you would know what I have answered is TRUE!! Question: What
    do “YOU” know that goes on in the barn that he rest of us don’t.
    I caution you, don’t make up stuff, you don’t know who could be
    reading The Paulick Report today! You start taking illegal practices,
    even in exaggeration, you could be tracked down for questioning —
    You think I’m kidding — Go right ahead!!

    Understand, at this point we
    are “NOT” talking opinions anymore, we are talking facts — the
    exchange of pertinent information!!

  • Frank L.

    Steve G —

    Your comment is a case in point about
    parameters used, and actual experience of a commenter! The study was
    interesting, but, not conclusive for a couple of reasons — both of
    which most readers here should “understand” since most are
    gamblers and read the Racing Form.

    The report references a study on
    thoroughbreds, by Lawrence — the study states that performance
    was improved by an average of 2.8 seconds! That would mean that a
    horse that ran 1:10 would improve to running less than 1:08. In
    this example, it would seem track condition would play a larger
    part than enhancement.

    Note:

    In all examples odds of
    competitors are never given, further, track variance is
    neglected, although possibly, very prominent — especially
    having to go from 1:10 to 1:08!!.

    In this same study, it reported
    that 8 horses showed improvement, and 6 showed reduced
    performance.

    In the Comparison Table, no
    odds are provided for each contestant in each race, which could
    account for each placing in the race?

    The final conclusions of study:

    30 % showed better performance

    50% no change

    20 % worse performance

    I think this report brings out what my
    vet told back in 70”s. If a horse wins that was milkshaked, he
    probably would have won anyway. In the final conclusions of the
    study, referenced, it is important to note that 30% showed improved
    performance, BUT, no track variances, or odds, were provided to
    account for the change. Now, this is an example of when I state:

    What are the parameters of the study
    being examined.

  • Frank L.

    Ray —

    Great angle! I never thought
    of that, glad you have all the bases covered!!! I sincerely mean
    that!

  • Frank L.

    Doug O’Neil does not “NEED” anyone
    to forgive and forget. That kind of statement is “self serving”
    by the person requesting!!!

    Stay focused, Doug O’ Neil!!

  • Frank L.

    The
    only thing that Ray, and the rest of you want, is an admission of
    guilt!! I think Doug is smart enough to know, NOT to be used as a
    pawn against racing. This is what all this garbage is about — a
    con job to establish a base for a Central intelligence Agency against
    horse racing. If that happens, I hope the same kind of Agency is
    established by the Federal Government for the WELFARE of people!

  • Geri10718

    First, some of my posts aren’t appearing when I hit send.  This may be causing some people to think posts are being deleted.  I wrote earlier that have a lot of unhappy feeling with Doug about laming horses by running them on pain killers.  I’ll ask him personally sometime at Del Mar to endorse the ban on race day pain medications.  However, I’ll take the opportunity to ask it here in this post.  If I’m to wipe the slate clean, I ask to get rid of those first.And to the racing establishment:  The money I would spend on Breeder’s Cup Tickets is going to horse rescue until those meds are banned– and that will buy a lot of hay.

  • Stanley inman

    Frank,
    Your distortions are legendary,
    since you have been around the shedrow a bit
    I must presume you are not telling the truth.
    Most every starter in the U.S. Can receive 10cc of bute 24 hrs. Out from their race.
    Call it “trace” ( the term used by apologists for raceday meds.)
    But every horsemen knows it’s more powerful than “an aspirin”.
    Every horsemen knows that it can take from 24-36 hrs post race to determine soundness, because of the masking properties when bute is still in the horses system.
    Not bad for just using “an Aspirin”.
    If you are a trainer, you know that.
    You also know that you can go into just about any tack room in America and find a syringe.
    you also know that many
    Trainers “top off” a horse; (give bute within the 24Hr. Window), in smaller dose so not to blow the post race exam.
    This “it’s just an aspirin” rhetoric is promulgated by those who want to misrepresent the truth.
    Why would they do that?
    For competitive advantage obviously.

  • Stanley inman

    Some states recently have lowered bute to 5cc from 10cc. Most horsemen groups have fought this and many states have acquiesced to their demands.
    What does that tell you about “trace” levels of drugs given 24hrs. Out from a race.

  • Olebobbowers

    Plus, Steve, there are those kids eyes he swore on!

  • Olebobbowers

    Groucho…say the magic woids and the rubber duck will come down and give you a $50 bill!!!

    (i don’t expect anyone under 60 to ‘get it’)

  • Frank L.

    What a bunch of BULL!!!

  • Barry Irwin

    Steve, horse racing is always behind the curve. Cheating historically starts with the cyclists, moves to track & field, then harness racing and finally Thoroughbred racing.

    Australia was ahead of the curve by figuring out about milkshaking and banning it, as well as testing for it.

    I met informally one day at Santa Anita with two members of the California Horse Racing Board, namely John Harris and Don Valpredo. I explained to them how trainers were cheating by milkshaking and how a $30,000 testing aparatus could curtail the practice.

    I failed to move the dial with them, because at that time they laughed at the notion of trainers cheating. They reasoned that if a trainer was a cheat, certainly it would come to light, as a groom or assistant trainer was certain to turn in the trainer.

    As upset as I am about trainers in California that have cheated, I am even more upset with the former administrative head of the CHRB, who created and nurtured an environment in which cheating was allowed to flourish.

    After all these years, we are still dealing with the same old story and the reason is that the CHRB cannot get it right.

  • Frank L.

    dh —
    Go buy the Enquirer!!!  It’s written for your type intelligence!!!

  • Frank L.

    Stanley Inman —

    You neither know, nor “understand”
    what you are blabbering about. It doesn’t matter when you give bute
    — at trace levels (micro/nano) effectiveness is nil at race time!
    In fact, giving a horse that is ready to break down, 5cc of bute, is
    “NOT” even going to help him make it to the paddock without being
    detected (off/lame). Misinformation, power over the ignorant!!
    Again, experience is the only defense against lies, and
    misinformation — and you want to crucify O’Neil based on this type
    of rhetoric from a nobody??? This is an example of why I insist on
    knowing experience background, although in this case, Stanley, has
    stated in the past he did train horses — I would question that? I
    do feel sorry for his clients, unless — more than likely — he
    trained his own.

  • Frank L.

    Stanley —
    You would have to understand for an explanation to be made — you obviously DON”T!!!

  • Frank L.

    Geri —

    You can “NOT” race on pain killers
    in any STATE!!! Further, who cares if “YOU” wipe his slate
    clean. He is “NOT” beholden to you — only the racing
    officials, and he has answered to them!!

  • Frank L.

    Clem —

    You know, if people would
    state their experience, and, in “WHAT” capacity they were
    “licensed” at the track, then, this would not be necessary. Your
    name is not so important, BUT, in what capacity you were “licensed”
    at the track, to me, would be mandatory in deciphering comments!!
    Even though you were an owner doesn’t mean anything as far as the
    rules of racing — NO REQUIREMENT, which would explain your comment.
    Further, if you “DID” actually know what goes on in the barn,
    THEN, you would know what I have answered is TRUE!! Question: What
    do “YOU” know that goes on in the barn that he rest of us don’t.
    I caution you, don’t make up stuff, you don’t know who could be
    reading The Paulick Report today! You start taking illegal practices,
    even in exaggeration, you could be tracked down for questioning —
    You think I’m kidding — Go right ahead!!

    Understand, at this point we
    are “NOT” talking opinions anymore, we are talking facts — the
    exchange of pertinent information!!

  • Frank L.

    Steve G —

    Your comment is a case in point about
    parameters used, and actual experience of a commenter! The study was
    interesting, but, not conclusive for a couple of reasons — both of
    which most readers here should “understand” since most are
    gamblers and read the Racing Form.

    The report references a study on
    thoroughbreds, by Lawrence — the study states that performance
    was improved by an average of 2.8 seconds! That would mean that a
    horse that ran 1:10 would improve to running less than 1:08. In
    this example, it would seem track condition would play a larger
    part than enhancement.

    Note:

    In all examples odds of
    competitors are never given, further, track variance is
    neglected, although possibly, very prominent — especially
    having to go from 1:10 to 1:08!!.

    In this same study, it reported
    that 8 horses showed improvement, and 6 showed reduced
    performance.

    In the Comparison Table, no
    odds are provided for each contestant in each race, which could
    account for each placing in the race?

    The final conclusions of study:

    30 % showed better performance

    50% no change

    20 % worse performance

    I think this report brings out what my
    vet told back in 70”s. If a horse wins that was milkshaked, he
    probably would have won anyway. In the final conclusions of the
    study, referenced, it is important to note that 30% showed improved
    performance, BUT, no track variances, or odds, were provided to
    account for the change. Now, this is an example of when I state:

    What are the parameters of the study
    being examined.

  • SteveG

    “The report references a study onthoroughbreds, by Lawrence — the study states that performancewas improved by an average of 2.8 seconds! That would mean that ahorse that ran 1:10 would improve to running less than 1:08. Inthis example, it would seem track condition would play a largerpart than enhancement.”

    Frank, the tests for T-breds were run at the mile.  It’s difficult for me to take your protest in regard to parameters seriously if you’re merely inserting the time differential into 6 furlong times to make a dubious point without getting the simple stuff correct.

    Track variants will effect final times & that’s a valid point. It would have been a better summary if the testers had indicated the going.   

    Odds do not effect final times. 

    The testers also made it clear that well-conditioned athletes will be less prone to improve & over-trained athletes will be less prone to improve, as well.

    If your main point is that milkshaking is NOT a performance enhancer, then I’ll simply respectfully disagree.  
    I do appreciate the fact you only chided me once for not understanding what I’m talking about. 

  • SteveG

    The laughed at the notion of trainers cheating, eh?  How Alfred E Newmanesque of them.

  • JC

     Kudos, Geri.  That’s where my money goes, too–rescue, and where it will continue to go. 

  • Don Reed

    It didn’t make any sense until March 10th.

    “Woids” spelling is actually better!

  • MLS6453

    This might be a silly question, but are the vets that are (or are they?) administering
    these drugs/treatments being punished at all?  They certainly know what can and cannot be
    given to these horses.

  • Jill Baffert

    You would be well served to acquaint yourself with the facts and outcome of the morphine positives against Bob, Mr. Frankel, Mr. Mendoza and the 20 other (morphine) positive urine samples cited within the span of a few weeks in 2000.  They were proven to be the result of environmental contamination.  If you want to keep it real, don’t compare apples to oranges.

  • Sosillyfilly

    Are you serious? Asking Doug O’Neill to be the poster child for the guilt of others, are you seriously off your rocker? Look to someone else to “save” racing. Starting with e
    very jurisdiction in racing with their own agenda. You are way of course!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bobbymac76 Bobby McMeans

    Should he not deny if in fact he didn’t do it? I paid the fine for a couple violations I know I wasn’t guilty of but you are guilty until proven innocent in this business.  

  • May Flower

    Within the horse racing world, cheating with new painkilling and doping agents and contraband often start with the abusive and corrupt quarter horse racing.

    Scary to think that the former administrative head of the CHRB became a state steward for Fair Grounds and Louisiana Downs! Racing never gets rid of villains.

  • http://twitter.com/Kerbrech Evelyn Waugh

    I am thrilled…that the NYRA/Belmont officials are…prohibiting O’Neill’s use of the nasal strip!

  • Mark

    A good start would be a National govening board with regional venues to adjudicate disputes and an appelate binding (non appealable) forum which would have final authority.  Breeders, owners, tracks and each state which taxes the horse racing industry should be responsible for funding the system.  An appeal bond should be posted and sanctions should be imposed against the unsuccessful appellants. I can’t tell you how many prospective owners currently want the trainer who wins at a rate which defies statistical success ratres.  At the current state of horse racing – why wouldn’t an owner retain someone with a high win rate despite questionable or suspicious past.  The sanctions have to apply to owners who elect to retain trainers with questionable training methods.

  • James D. Jimenez

    58, and got it!

  • Equineplay2003

    If people called you naive for suggesting Doug is given a second chance and you follow it up with this poor effort to placate your readers, I would suggest you read Bloodhorse.com whistleblower versus the CHRB.
    Please stop all the irresponsible journalism and dig a little deeper Ray. The truth will surface as it always does.
    Now sit back and lets root for IHA and for the good of horse racing.

  • Equineplay2003

    Now you are taking this to the ridiculous zone.
    Mark is the most positive and cleanest living guy I know. He is the brightest and most personable person to come to upper management of southern California racing in years. Racing needs CEO’s like Verge, not comments like yours that further tear down a torn down sport.

  • Iamadam36

    Congrats Ray! You ARE stepping up. I listened to the CHRB reasons for their delays and can . . . just barely accept their reasons for delay but at least they DID at last rule and give a punishment. No matter WHAT the infraction is . . . If it is illegal it is ILLEGAL! Otherwise being a little bit pregnant would work an an argument as many, especially men, seem to think. AND you are correct about how O’Neill can gain acceptance again. In fact, it is the only way and must be followed through. An added thought . . .  maybe there should a provision by which the CHRB can act in a more timely manner than their once a month meeting. One idea would be a pre-action on hold to be confirmed via notarized confirmation, so that sanctions start right away and there is NO benefit for delay in order to keep racing pending a meeting when the results are a given. After all, why should the miscreant have the advantage over the interest of the public?

Twitter