No Breeders’ Cup for O’Neill Due to NY Suspension

by | 10.03.2014 | 12:25pm

As a result of the New York State Gaming Commission issuing a 45-day suspension to trainer Doug O'Neill, Breeders' Cup Limited has released the following statement. Trainers who are not allowed to pre-enter horses are prohibited from running in the Breeders' Cup:

“Due to the recent administrative action by the New York State Gaming Commission, Breeders' Cup Limited has informed trainer Doug O'Neill, and has notified the California Horse Racing Board, of the provisions of the Breeders' Cup Convicted Trainers rule. Under that rule, adopted in 2010 and amended in 2012, Mr. O'Neill will not be permitted to pre-enter horses in the 2014 Breeders' Cup World Championships.”

The Breeders' Cup Convicted Trainers Rule states the following:

No person may participate as a trainer of a horse pre-entered or entered in a Breeders' Cup World Championships race if that person, during the twelve months preceding the Breeders' Cup World Championships, has been found by any racing regulatory agency, whether a governmental agency or a non-governmental regulatory body, to have violated a racing regulation prohibiting the possession or use of any substance listed under Class 1, carrying Category “A” or “B” penalties, or Class 2, carrying a Category “A” penalty, in the Association of Racing Commissioners International Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances or a racing regulation prohibiting the possession or use of steroids and the appeal periods for such finding shall have expired or all appeals, if any, will have received final disposition (a “Drug Conviction”).

O'Neill issued the following response Friday to the Breeders' Cup's ruling:

“‎I accept the Breeders' Cup decision that I will not be permitted to participate in the 2014 Breeders' Cup World Championships and I will not appeal it.

In agreeing to settle the underlying allegations made by the New York State Gaming Commission that Wind of Bosphorous, a horse for which I was the trainer of record, tested positive for a benzodiazepine drug, I agreed to be suspended from participating as a thoroughbred trainer for 45 days and pay a $10,000 fine. 

 I maintain that I did not administer the drug, and I am confident that none of my employees or staff did either.  In fact, I was not present or even in the state of New York when the alleged infraction took place. Nevertheless, I was the trainer of record and take responsibility for the positive test. 

One of the reasons I wanted to resolve these allegations was to not be a distraction to the racing community.  Unfortunately, it has become clear that certain reactions to the settlement have had the opposite effect.  In particular, the provision that my suspension be postponed until after the Breeders' Cup has caused a particularly strong reaction in some quarters. 

I now realize that delaying the suspension so that I could participate in the Breeders' Cup was a mistake. Accordingly, after further reflection and prior to the Breeders' Cup announcement that I could not participate, I made a request to the New York State Gaming Commission that my suspension begin on October 6, 2014, or as soon thereafter as is practicable.  

I truly care about the horses under my care and the sport that we all love and do not wish for my suspension to do any more harm than it has already done.” 

  • Ben van den Brink

    That hurts

  • ASL

    Good. Very good. Glad the BC upheld its own regulations.

    • Barbara Bowen

      Boom. That was the other shoe:-)

  • Geri10718

    So will Leandro enter Goldencents?????

    • betterthannothing

      Early Christmas bonus. O’Neill thought of everything.

  • G, Rarick

    Does it really matter? All of these trainers who are “suspended” just put everything into the assistant’s name and life goes on, business as usual. Doubt this makes a bit of difference.

    • Ben van den Brink

      Yes, I do think that this makes an tiny bit of difference. First his assistant becomes the trainer. And only for the horses that maybe competes in the BC races. A lot of media will notice this without a doubt. Further the time frame from the gaming commission, effective after the BC, is ruled out this way.

      • G, Rarick

        Yeah, but it’s still just a name change. Nothing actually changes for the horse. And if the media are stupid enough to believe that changing the name of the trainer changes anything in the way the horse is handled, they deserve what Dr. Bramlage said the other day!

  • GloriaU

    YES! I hope that means no one can enter his horses.

    • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

      The ruling will not preclude the horses from being pre-entered or entered in BC races as long as those horses have a trainer of record not named Doug O’Neill as of the time of pre-entry or entry.

      • greg

        I know lots of trainers and in the past when discussing cheating and drugging I suggested that if/when a trainer is suspended for drug violations that EVERY horse under his care should be banned from running during the trainers suspension and CANNOT be listed by another trainer, EVERY trainer said if that was implemented nobody would cheat, because virtually no owners would give horses to them for obvious reasons and no trainer with any real horses would risk losing owners permanently. It’s the only way to make this stop ASAP. As an owner you know if your trainer has a bad reputation that you run the risk of paying training bills for 30-90 days and not running anywhere, would you give that guy horses??? Currently there is NO fear of being caught

        • snazzygirl

          You forget – not every owner knows that his horses are given illegal drugs, particularly if the trainer has received no infractions or suspensions. Been there, done that. Once known, the horses were immediately removed. If the trainer cheats, it does not necessarily follow that the owner knew…..there’s no reason to penalize owners and their horses for a trainer’s misdeeds if the owners are unaware.

          • David Juffet

            Well said! Owners should fire Doug today. He’s a nice guy with a great mouthpiece but is a cheater.

          • Mr. Moo

            we may know each other …..
            have you ever gotten a out of Cort settlement against a vet and trainer for that very thing ? (after you horse died)

          • snazzygirl

            No – thank goodness I have not had that experience.

  • c bea

    Excellent job Breeders’ Cup!! I applaud this decision!!

  • Nayrod

    It’s a shame Doug is the example, I do think he’s a good trainer. Kudos to the New York State Gaming Commission to take action.

    • Lou

      Something is rotten in Denmark! Why don’t they go after trainers who have been proven guilty? This idea of holding a trainer responsible for ‘dopping’ a horse when that trainer wasn’t even in the same state when this infraction occurred, is ridiculous! Class 1, 2, and 3 drugs should be administered by licensed veterinarians and the vet, alone, should shoulder that responsibility and bear any repercussions. While foremen and other stable help are capable in their care of these horses, they don’t haver the knowledge necessary to properly administer these drugs or, I dare say, any drugs. Indeed, it is a shame that Doug O’Neill is the example.

      • Ben van den BRINK

        The trainer is allways accountable for any horse in his care

      • harry

        Oh Lord, quit defending the cheaters! 18,18 previous violations!! Are you kidding me?? Owners need to change to honest trainers or risk sitting in the barn while their no good, rotten, cheating trainer does his time!

        • betterthannothing

          Well said. Cheating owners who choose cheating trainers and are in racing to cheat and cash in may throw the towel if their trainers and vets could not drug their horses days before a race in hope to get an edge and had to face fair competition! Sportsmen and true horsemen would replace the abusive scumbags and the horses, everyone and racing would be far better of.

        • Danny Gonzalez

          I dont know if its changing to honest trainers as much as it is a better managing trainer

  • Darlene Allison Anders Sanner

    horses will just be entered under asst name

  • Greg J.

    Bravo! Ruling should also include no horses under his care should be able to
    run, either under an assistant trainer or another trainer, quite simple.
    Sorry that horses need to suffer, but that is the way it SHOULD be.
    Good riddance to O’Neill and his likes, sport is better without them.

    • togahombre

      wouldn’t seem fair if it was altogether different owners, they wouldn’t have any business in another owners affairs

      • Greg J.

        It would sure make owners think twice from using a trainer with 18 prior drug violations, with 9 since January 2009, wouldn’t it?

        • togahombre

          owners need to be more vigilant with who they hand the keys over to,but banning a completely different owner or ownership group has alot of moving parts and no one can say for sure if this would be a fair action or some well meaning impulsive mistake, remember the ncaa smu death sentence, that worked so well not only haven’t they used it again, they don’t even acknowledge it

          • Tanzzee

            J. Paul Redham doesn’t seem to give a damn. Shows you his ethics too doesn’t it?

          • Tinky

            Ethics? All you have to do is look at how he made his fortune to understand his ethics.

          • I’ll never forget the day I saw him in person, up in Saratoga, about seven years ago. Made my flesh crawl.

          • Tanzzee

            Loan sharking? I agree!

          • betterthannothing

            He and Mike Gill. Owners of dirty businesses choose matching trainers.

    • betterthannothing

      You bet it should include the horses! And horses will not suffer if they don’t run, but owners will. It would force the enabling owners to think twice about choosing to give horses to trainers with long rap sheets. Nothing like drying the cheating well that way.

    • TomyLee

      I think in order to be effective horses should be able to run under a different trainer – not the assistant & the transfer of trainers should be effective for 2x the length of the trainers suspension so that the owners can’t just shuffle them around. Something has to be done nationwide and the owners should be held accountable for their choices too

      • betterthannothing

        It would be better than the farce going on now but suspended trainers still could tell owners which friendly trainers to give their horses to and make a $$ deal with them like they do with their assistants. As long as racing has not passed significant safety and integrity reforms which would hopefully include very long suspensions for all involved and all trainers are not competent and clean, perhaps officials assigning horses ready to run to local trainers with no or shortest rap sheets might be a temporary solution.

    • Danny Gonzalez

      The owners who invested there money suffer, They still have to feed there horses , so not a wise thing. What should have been done in this situation given the past positives he should be ban from participating for 6 months in any stakes races over 50k that will teach trainers a lesson not the slap on the wrist he got

      • Black Helen




        • Danny Gonzalez

          If you have read the list of trainers from the ny times who had positives guess what there is only one who had no positive and is a leading trainer. Sorry to let you know that the drugs they give horses are allowed trainers are being mislabled as bad cause horses test positive for a substance. There is no way you can clear the sport of drugs and have a nice race card its impossible these animals are not kept in a pasture with green grass around them to eat and sunshine there kept in stalls near major cities where smog and polution are present, I know nobody is going to like what i say but This ridiculous labeling of trainers and crooks has to stop, We need more clarification in the sport and we need more reliance on science than on commisions that have no clue or vendettas against certain trainers.
          8 trainers have been handed suspensions due to a drug called butarphanol brand name torbutol or torbelgesic. This drug in NY can be be given 4 days out or 96 hours. As per the science that was done by the rmtc through the UC davis the drug only clears 70 percent of horses urine within 96 hours but 30 percent of the horses it doesnt clear for urine for more than 120 hours so since NY doesnt clarify there rules trainers can be violated for following the rules.
          This has to stop we need more clarifications of rules and we need to change the way we suspend trainers giving 45 days for a person who has 19 previous medication violations since 2009 is ridiculous. We need to start making them responsible for there own actions by given suspension and preventing them from on there return to the track from participating in the big races. Trust one thing nobody wants to be knocked out of the big races, The suspensions should also carry over the the assitant trainers who handled those horses as guess what there an assitant TRAINER thereby held by the responsible also. This would prevent trainers from handing horse over while they are on suspension and really make an impact to clean the stable up

          • Tinky

            “…there [sic] kept in stalls near major cities where smog and pollution are present,”

            Apparently you’ve never been to Hong Kong. They race drug free, under conditions that are arguably worse than American horses stabled near major cities.

          • Danny Gonzalez

            There is no raceday medication allowed but they do medicate and they do have to clear the horse before with a urine specimen

      • Barbara Bowen

        Please. Any owner with certain trainers know they are playing with fire and took the risk.

        • Danny Gonzalez

          LOL there is many trainers that dont know what there doing out there but there is no trainer that runs his stable medication free its impossible. You think an owner will give his horse to a 2 percent trainer never happen owners want to go with winners . those records they keep are bogus regarding violations. the rules are enforced to some trainers while others are swept under the table . If they dont like you they violate you

          • Barbara Bowen

            Training horses, nor life, is so black and white Danny. There are trainers that have decent winning percentages and win big stakes races that do not have numerous med violations. Christophe Clement and Graham Motion are most often cited. And I didn’t say med free barns. But if you go with a trainer that has numerous positives and overages, and a badly managed barn, then you reap what you sow.

          • Danny Gonzalez

            Clement has had positives LOL The guys you mentioned also get the best of the best when it comes to horses they dont get your average horse

          • Barbara Bowen

            I am going to cite you for an overage of LOL.
            But Clement does not have a positive listed. Tell us about them Danny Boy. And yes, owners are ultimately responsible for the game, the horses, and their choice in who trains and cares for their horses. You make my point about badly managed barns and the excessive overages of anti inflammatories.

  • Amazing! Someone has been held accountable. One less Dutrow smirk on a face.

  • gus stewart

    what a universal rule for all tracks…… There has to be a mistake! I’m sorry Doug O’neill has to be the choice to be the example Others and yes top trainers have done the same if not worse but you gotta start somewhere right.

  • Jim

    It’s interesting that O’Neill seems to assume that NYSGC will just back-peddle and allow him to take the suspension starting Oct. 6th (Monday) — he argued for and got his way to start suspension in November. Now, it is “more convenient” for him to start sooner. Hope that the NYSGC doesn’t change so he can enjoy what he wrought … of course, I doubt they will.

  • bangem andleavem

    give all the horses to Alfredo

    • forestwildcat

      Which one?

  • Jay

    We are about to find out of what the C.H.R.B. is made.

    • justanobserver


    • Danny Gonzalez

      There made of nothing but hot air

  • Bellwether

    Could this be the beginning of all the tracks form coast to coast getting together and dropping the hammer on all cheating trainers/vets???…Lets hope so for the of sake ‘The Horses’ and ‘The Game’…This is a great move on their part!!!…Period…

    • peeping tom

      East coast tracks will drop the hammer on west coast trainers and vice versa

  • G, Rarick

    Mr. O’Neill’s statement brings up another very troubling aspect of the thoroughbred industry (and industry is exactly the right word) in America: While he was the “trainer of record” he basically says he doesn’t know anything about this horse or how it could possibly have tested positive. He wasn’t even in the same state. Now if you’re a horse owner, why do you want to place your investment with a factory trainer who doesn’t even know what color it is, much less anything about what sort of racing or training it actually needs? Seems owners are just impressed with ridiculous win percentages with no thought at all about the day-to-day running of the operation.

    • snazzygirl

      I take it you’re not a racehorse owner.

  • Sandi

    About time the suspended trainer can’t set his own suspension time!! GO BREEDERS’ CUP!!!!

  • Bubba

    BC is not a regulatory body. O’neill could feasibly train the horse to the BC and then the public be deceived by a different trainer of record. O’neill taking the days now will eliminate that from happening. The BC is over stepping their boundaries. BUT NY dropped the ball by not doing more.

  • Richard C

    When in doubt, blame it on the hired help.

    • Pbchi

      O’Neill had 18 months probation but CRRB ruling 10DM041 beginning May 29, 2012. Current violation occurred on June 2013. As previously mentioned- now what is California going to do? Its black and white as to the violation means he should get another 180 day suspension. Moment of truth here

  • davidinD

    Bravo Breeders Cup!

  • Craig Brogden

    Until the person (I mean Vet) who actually administers these medications is penalized for horses having positive drug tests the beat will go on. I am not here to defend any individual but at times the trainer is not and should not be held 100% responsible for a drug positive. More often it is the administering Veterinarian who is responsible for a positive drug test either from incorrect dosage, time frame or even trying to cheat the system.
    If a medication is administered it is a veterinarians responsibility to make clear records both regulatory and for their billing of the client (horse owner not trainer).
    Regulators just need to require all medications administered to any horse in the state to be put on file with the commission within 24 hours of treatment. Any other medication found in the horses system is the trainers responsibility.

    • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

      Great comment Craig. Extending the responsibilities and punishments for positives to include veterinarians (where culpable) would be progress and an additional deterrent.

    • Danny Gonzalez

      Someone speaks with some sense. Richard Dutrow had a violation in maryland where the vet was also fined. Until more things like this happen in the sport we will never clean it up. One thing that should be noted and has happened on many occasions an owner can overide the trainer and have a horse treated. I had an owner call the vet and have a horse treated . The filly was green and needed more time so the owner had an idiot tell her give her equipoise and it will make her run better. She ran herself into more vet bills and had to find a new trainer

  • Roger

    Can BC provide a list of banned trainers for 2014 BC – including European trainers.

  • forestwildcat

    He broke the rules and he’s suspended, well done. Goldencents Belongs and Deserves to Run in the Breeders Cup.

  • Flag Is Up

    No dog in this fight but as a retired trainer I have an opinion.

    Obviously the O’Neil haters are thrilled with both this ruling and suspension. But since this medication was likely given by a Vet doesn’t it bother you just a little bit that the truly guilty or negligent party will get away Scott free? The trainers insurer rule is a lazy way out for the Stewards and the governing party. Much more needs to be done to get this industry on the right track!!!!

    • Ruffian31

      I find it funny the boards continually go after the trainers but the vets don’t get in trouble at all. How is that fair?

      • val

        I’m yet to see a vet treating a horse without being hired to do so

        • Flag Is Up

          Let’s say a horse ties up or perhaps is running a fever, the trainer knows the Vet is treating the horse but rarely knows the full course of treatment. Shouldn’t the Vet be responsible if said horse then runs and comes up positive?

          • val

            The answer of your questions is No

          • Danny Gonzalez

            I am working with a case of a maryland trainer that got a severe violation for a banned substance. In this case the drug was ingested by the horse by accident the drug came from a groom that just came back from overseas and had the medication in his pocket the substance is sold over the counter, should the trainer be held accountable for this kind of thing

        • Tanzzee

          Surely the ‘buck stops at the top’. In my small business, I rely upon 2 employees and various sub-contractors. All have a certain amount of leeway to make decisions, but as the business owner, if any of those decisions turn out to be bad, I am responsible. That’s how my clients see it, and they are correct.

          • Flag Is Up

            Of course as trainers we all understand the Trainer Insurers rule and know it’s our responsibility to be sure these things don’t happen. This looks like a med that would have been given by a Vet and not a typical barn med and the fact that it was such a small trace amount it should be clear even to the most cynical that nobody was trying to cheat. Of course they are probably trying to make an example of O’Neill and making him pay for past sins.

        • snazzygirl

          In the past I’ve asked my trainer how my horse was being treated, and he gave me the phone number for the vet because the trainer wasn’t sure…..he wanted me to call the vet. The trainer didn’t know or he was too lazy to stick around and find out. Either way, the horses weren’t with that trainer much longer. That being said, the vet apparently had discretion of how to treat the horse without the trainer’s input or knowledge. The trainer may hire the vet, but the vet has the needles and medications, so to speak.
          And you need to consider this – at a racetrack a number of trainers will use the same vet service. There are far more trainers licensed at a racetrack than vets. So you may move your horses from one trainer to another, but still wind up using the same vet.

          • val

            Well the trainer did the right thing by making you call the vet. he hired the vet to treat your horse for whatever problem your horse had, and the vet had first-hand knowledge of treatment

    • Lou

      Thank you!!

  • Needles

    his horses will still run and he’ll likely still earn profit on his horses during his suspension while he is on vacation. That is how American racing is. That is why Doug couldn’t care less.

  • Nobackhand

    who laughingly refers to himself in public as “Drug O’Neill”, good riddance.

  • Dan Jividen

    The problem with Doug O’ Neill is that he’s just not a very good horseman. He didn’t grow up around horses, doesn’t ride well, has much less hands on experience than most horsemen. He lacks the true horseman’s confidence around a horse. Therefore he is easily cowed and manipulated by equine veterinarians with their esoteric knowledge of equine physiology and their vast pharmacopeias. The result is what you see: a stable that is closer to a pharmacy than a horse barn.

    • val

      He’s as good of a horseman as any and better than many, and being manipulated by the vets is just laughable

      • Dan Jividen

        We’re have to disagree on that, Val. When compared to genuine horsemen like Graham Motion, Christophe Clement, Shug Magauey, Jonathan Sheppard and the like — trainers more reliant on traditional methods of horse care and training, less reliant on pharmacology — Doug O’ Neil falls far short.

        • val

          Horsemanship is not measured by drug positives or the ability of someone to ride either (most jockeys for example) and what makes you think the trainers you listed don’t use pharmaceuticals ?

  • hank

    I forgot to add the horse they got caught treating was in to go that day,causing a scratch of the horse, had not a casual observer not noticed that he would of raced and probably won

  • Danny Gonzalez

    Dutrow is a choir boy compared to these guys. All of dutrows overages were for theraputic substances never anything that wasnt allowed

  • Tulsa Terry

    Funny how Jacobson, Rodriguez, et al never get a drug charge but every CALI trainer who goes east gets one. Santa Anita officials should lay a few charges on any eastern trainer brave enough to come west.

    • Mr. Moo

      Because … …..
      trainers in the Pacific/mountain time zones only know how to train with a neddle

      and the east coast stewards know it.

  • David Juffet

    Owners open your eyes,see where you are take a stand. 9 suspensions? Our sport needs transparency and integrity both of which he lacks.

  • peeping tom

    The trainer rule has to be amended. Doug O’Neill wasn’t even in New York when the vet treatment occurred. Amend the trainer rule so the person doing the wrong doing is punished. When this happens to trainers, it’s a good time to take their families on vacations. Aloha.

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