Finley Piece on O’Neill Nominated for Stan Bergstein Award

by | 10.13.2014 | 5:04pm
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Team Valor International has nominated a recent Op/Ed by Bill Finley in the Thoroughbred Daily News for the 2014 Stan Bergstein Writing Award.

Finley's piece, “Insanity, Stupidity, Cowardice, Call it What You Want, CHRB's O'Neill Ruling a Farce,” addresses the “stipulated agreement” between the California Horse Racing Board and trainer Doug O'Neill announced last week that, as Finley puts it, amounts to the CHRB rolling over instead of adhering to its own ruling from two years ago.

At that time, O'Neill received a 180-day suspension for a drug violation, with 135 of those days stayed as long as he did not have any more Class 1, 2 or 3 violations within 18 months. When he did pick up another violation in New York in that timeframe, the California board only suspended him 45 additional days and allowed him to serve most of that penalty at the same time as his New York suspension.


Finley writes, “Not that any of this should come as a surprise. The O'Neill verdict was a matter of business as usual, albeit a high-profile one, for a sport that just doesn't have the guts to do the right thing when it comes to people who refuse to play by the rules.”

The full piece is here.

The nomination is Finley's second this year for the Stan Bergstein Writing Award, which carries a prize of $25,000 and will be presented on November 14 in Lexington. He previously was nominated for a story on the financial impact of drugs in American horse racing for owners.

Team Valor has nominated ten stories so far for the third annual Bergstein Award, which is open to stories about horse racing from a North American publication or website between November 2, 2013 and a deadline of November 1, 2014. Judges Tom Hammond, Karen Johnson, Tom Keyser, John Pricci and John Sparkman will select a winner. 

  • Zaffiro

    That’s crap. The veterinarian signed information saying the specimen was not a valid sample and not legally a positive, so how the hell can he get a punishment for that. Some one needs to get all the correct information out there.

    • Chesley Brooks

      Preach Zaffiro. Keep saying the same thing, but time after time, naive uninformed individuals keep complaining.

      Furthermore, how classless of Barry Irwin (Team Valor) to do something like this. It is not new news that Irwin hates O’Neill and he is literally trying to bury him. Barry, I have met you and you are one of the saddest old men I have ever come across. It is not people like you that this game needs (i.e. old, ornery guy). Why would any of the younger generation ever want to attend a horse race because of you? You epitomize the boring, lifeless aspect of the sport, which is infested with old money. It is guys like O’Neill who exudes exuberance, passion, and down-to-earth characteristics, which we never once have seen from you in your post-race interviews or press-conferences. O’Neill has admitted to not being perfect, because no one is. Maybe you don’t have the heart to see that people make mistakes, BUT IN THIS SPECIFIC CASE, SCREW YOUR HEART AND USE YOUR BRAIN – USE THAT PREHISTORIC EDITORIAL SKILLS AND READ THROUGH THE ENTIRE CASE BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH. IT’D BE NICE TO SEE YOU HAVE AN INFORMED OPINION AT LEAST ONE TIME.

      • harnobuff

        Right on the money, Chesley. Bill Finley and his wife are attention-starved hacks who have absolutely nothing to offer this industry. The attempted hatchet job by Finley, his wife and his buddy Andrew Cohen on Lou Pena was a classic example of bad people trying to talk their way to credibility in the horse game. Of course it backfired big time and just exposed them for what they are, namely, jealous, resentful, outsiders looking for acceptance. Throw in Barry Irwin and Ray Paulick and you have a modern day Murderer’s Row of media hacks.

        • greg

          Let’s settle this, Doug is a nice guy, Doug loves his horses, Doug treats his owners very well, Doug is a gentleman, Doug smiles all the time, Doug’s horses run with illegal meds, for some reason all those who “LIKE” Doug for all the reasons I mention are physically unable to accept he cheats. There is no group out to get him, it’s not personal, it’s just true. Elvis is dead, Michael Jackson was a pedophile, and Doug cheats.

          • togahombre

            his past record is in black and white, but this particular case leaves alot of questions unanswered

          • AngelaFromAbilene

            Which meds has he used that are illegal? Big difference between illegal and overage.

          • time to leave

            That says it. O’Neill’s fan boys can’t accept the facts. As for those who believe Doug loves his horses, I have one word for you: Berna Dette.

        • HogHater

          I’m an O’Neill supporter, but I have to give B-Eye his due. B-Eye has swam in waters with the blue-blooded sharks for over 30 years and has beat them at their own game as a total outsider introducing thousands to the sport through his various partnership groups. The fact that he hasn’t gone the IEAH route speaks volumes.
          However, I do agree that Bill Finley is the biggest hack in the equine media. I make it a point to post as many negative comments and/or thumbs down on anything that he’s associated with.

      • Keyne

        Chelsea,this much I know for FACT-circa 2007-2008 Oneill shipped rougly 20-25 horses east here to Monmouth Park(and Parx).Within 2 weeks track security found thousands of dollars worth of milkshaking paraphanelia in 2 empty stalls of his.He was tacitly banished from the grounds(one of his assistants was traing those horses).
        It mustve cost his owners what,2 grand a horse to ship cross country,only to leave 2 weeks later? Here we still call O’Neill Breyer’s,cause he makes lots of milkshakes….

        • Tammy37

          Oh my god. This why we should stop this stuff. I am very good friends with one of his assistants who ran the barn at parx. Never ever was there any milkshake stuff found. He left because financially it made no sense. He was never banned and can run horses their at any time. He was there for 6 months. Management was very upset he left. Unbelievable how you print such fictional blog. You should try science fiction next.

          • greg

            Fact, you will have some fantasy excuse for any and everything anyone says, from listening to you Doug has NEVER even 1 time done anything even bordering on illegal and everything is made up, that is having no credibility. So because Baffert killed 7 horses and was not punished than what Doug does is OK? I have facts that for valid reasons I won’t post online, and there is obviously nothing I could say to open your eyes (or many others) so yeah, i’m done posting here or elsewhere about So Cal racing. You just fiddle as Rome burns and at some point, hopefully very soon) all the info that I have obtained will be brought to light. As for Mitchell, who in my opinion was the absolute worst of all of them, my comments were always kept about his professional life, however I am a firm believer in Karma.

          • Tammy37

            Blah,blah,blah. More nonsense with no substance. If a guy gets caught with frog juice or cobra venon, I am all for hammering them. Not a contamination positive of something so small they could not identify. It was a plea bargain for a reason in ny. You made specific comments on mikes health . Your memory is as bad as your opinions. Very bad. You blogged last week on a trainers looks. Believe you said he looks like a troll. For someone who posted a picture of himself and changed it to his car, that was your 1st smart move in a while.

          • greg

            wow, sounds like I have either a fan or a stalker, you seem to follow my posts pretty closely, and such detail, if only your facts on Doug were as accurate.

          • greg

            Let me tell you something that has been lost to you, I have been a fan for almost 40 years, owned horses for approx. 15+ years, I LOVE horse racing and every aspect from backside to finish line, I absolutely HATE what is happening to the sport due to several trainers who cheat, do I blame them 100%, No, the folks in charge allow it to happen with pissy penalties and a joke as a rule enforcer, that’s another issue. I have never been afraid to be outspoken. When I see something that I am sure is wrong I check it out, and than I speak out, loudly, I have no issue with a discussion of the facts, but do not like blind followers. The sport was a fine sport when trainers had respect for the sport, today it’s all about the win % no matter how you get it. To say that there is little or no cheating because the penalties are negligible is just silly. What’s happening in So Cal takes every bit of the fun and challenge of handicapping as well as running horses against others knowing no matter how well your horse is doing you can’t win against them. I can say with 100% certainty that there are 4-5 guys who cheat with impunity, and I despise that they get away with it, whether Doug is one of those 5 isn’t relevant, but if he’s not than I ask, why don’t the trainers who are completely clean do something to get rid of the others?? They know who does what, and if you say they don’t you’re either completely naive or just lying. Hire an atty. tell him/her what you know, point out how the facts can be discovered and get them gone, if it were me being painted with that brush I sure as heck would, but that’s my position, nothing more or less. So with that I’m done, I have become too obsessed with this and I don’t need it, just remember in the future my posts and why they are there.

          • togahombre

            Why don’t cops or politicians that are compleatly clean do something to get rid of the others? Who’s being naive now?

  • Ben van den Brink

    This case should be taken over to civil courts, and therefore taken out of the hands of racing boards.

    • Mike Smith

      Yeah……..Ask Dick Dutrow how that is working for him.

      • Tammy37

        Dutrow is no comparison. They found needles and he had multiple issues of faking workouts etc. those are issues of integrity. There is nothing close to any of those with oneill.

        • Keyne

          So Mike Gill and 3 owner-witnesses were lying about the falsed-bottom stall in Dougs barn with milkshake paraphanelia?And just bum luck that O’neills win percentages now are NOTHING to what they were around 5-7 years ago??lololololololololol…….

          • Tammy37

            Yes. All false. And Oneill has 14 to 16 % for 20 years. More fiction.

        • togahombre

          you toss 20 barn offices i’d bet half would have loaded syringes in them, i,ve seen very well regarded hof trainer work babys under someone else saddlecloth, you feel you should defend mr oneill, fine, but don’t hammer rick dutrow to even things out, you want to run folks off for” issues of integrity” all you’ll have left is barn cats and owls

    • Tammy37

      Amen. If a civil court looked at this,from what I have researched, a judge would throw this out in 5 minutes. If they found something, Oneill should be banned.

  • greg

    You make a wonderful mouthpiece for Doug, however you shouldn’t just take his PR firms words as gospel. While drugs like Omeprazole are legal in humans they are NOT in race horses, and while it sounds whimsical to say that there’s baking soda in the air in IL I strongly doubt that’s how the horse ingested it, regardless of the year. Also I have no skeletons to lie about or hide from with paid mouthpieces speaking for me, if there’s something you believe you know about me PLEASE put it out for the world to see, however there won’t be any response to that because just like Doug being persecuted your noise is just a smokescreen, a diversion, I await your reply.

    • Tammy37

      Greg, if 1 time you came with any facts on your opinions,maybe you would get a little respect. But you don’t, you just go on all these websites and rip people with nothing. Fact. Oneills positive in Illinois would not be a positive today. They raised the threshold level beacause of the lasix effect. Fact. Argentas tc02 was found by a hearing officer who works for the chrb to be not a milkshake. If you read the findings it is very clear why the horse went over. Argenta nearly went over 2 races earlier for her previous,hay,oats and water trainer. They got him on the trainer insurer rule. Fact. Ny started at 5 years, and came down to 45 days. Would they do that if they had any case? I am told the horse had less than 6 ng/ml in his system. 6 ng is virtually nothing. And hand written report from lab. Cmon, you have to be kidding. If this were a regular court it would have been comedy. Until we use some common sense on these situations, we will have uninformed people like you ripping people. You need to get off your couch and do some research and have an intelligent idea. Your post on mike Mitchells health is so classless that is pathetic. You have guy who killed 7 horses last year, has twice the drug violation rate as Oneill, who got no penalty. Seems fair.

  • Greg J.

    People that defend O’Neill are so comical.

    • Tammy37

      Another great comment guest. as always, when u have nothing to add, go with the very generic ” I know nothing” comment.

  • 100Smart

    O’NEILL THE NEEDLE DOCTOR.

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