Doug O’Neill Deserves ‘Another’ Chance

by | 05.24.2012 | 9:33am

No racing writer has been tougher on 2012 Kentucky Derby/Preakness-winning trainer Doug O'Neill in recent years than I have been over his medication violations and the catastrophic breakdowns of horses in his stable. I would, however, be the ultimate hypocrite if I didn't believe O'Neill deserved a second chance or an opportunity to rehabilitate his image.

I don't regret anything I've written about the trainer of I'll Have Another, whether it was about his denial at the time of his medication violations that he shouldered the ultimate responsibility, his reaction to criticism from fellow trainers over an equine racing fatality, or the schadenfreude he demonstrated when one of those critics later suffered a racing setback of their own.

But I've seen O'Neill in a different light since I last addressed those perceived shortcomings in the fall of 2010. And I'm not just talking about the enthusiasm and humility he's shown in front of the NBC Sports television cameras at Churchill Downs or Pimlico in recent telecasts of the Derby and Preakness.

We learn from our mistakes. Trust me, I speak from experience in that regard. I hope and truly believe that O'Neill has learned from the missteps he's made, that he's matured as a person and as a trainer, and has come to understand that his actions affect the entire industry, in ways that can be positive or negative.

I knew as soon as I'll Have Another caught Bodemeister in deep stretch of the Kentucky Derby that O'Neill was going to be in for a rough ride, having to answer questions about his history of medication violations and equine fatalities. The heat is going to be turned up even higher between now and the June 9 Belmont. And it certainly isn't unfair for anyone to bring up his past or ask tough questions about it.

His record will be brought up today before the California Horse Racing Board, which is due to meet and consider a recommendation from a hearing officer on a TCO2 infraction on a filly named Argenta from August 2010 at Del Mar. O'Neill faces up to a 180-day suspension, and the CHRB has some choices. It can accept whatever decision the hearing officer recommends, it can reject the recommendation, or modify it.

More likely, CHRB members are going to kick the can down the road a month or two and not be a buzz-killer for horse racing during this exciting Triple Crown season for O'Neill and the racing public. That's their right.

O'Neill's past isn't pretty. By my count, from 2005 to 2011 in California, Florida, and Illinois, he has been sanctioned no fewer than 12 times for overages of therapeutic medication, positive tests for drugs that should not be in a horse's system on the day it races, or violation of TCO2 threshold levels, which measure the amount of total carbon dioxide in a horse's blood. An increase in TCO2 can neutralize the lactic acid buildup that causes fatigue in a horse.

According to the New York Times, O'Neill has a fatal breakdown rate that is about twice the national average.

He knows those kinds of statistics are not acceptable. While O'Neill remains in denial over the TCO2 violations (only a handful of trainers in California have been sanctioned once, and he has three violations on his record in his home state, plus one in Illinois), he has admitted to racing writers that he's made mistakes. That is something he wasn't willing to do two years ago, or even last October when I conducted this interview with him.

His brother Dennis didn't help the Doug O'Neill rehabilitation process when he appeared CNN's Outfront with Erin Burnett and made the preposterous comment that he had to Google the term “milkshake” to see what it meant.

Yes, O'Neill starts a lot of horses, and many of those Thoroughbreds compete in claiming races, where it's standard operating procedure for virtually every trainer to treat various ailments with medication between starts. But O'Neill should know he can no longer afford to push the envelope on medications; if withdrawal guidelines say 72 hours, he needs to stay on the safe side and go to 96 hours or more. That's how trainers like Graham Motion, winner of last year's Kentucky Derby, have avoided ever being fined or suspended for medication violations – to err on the side of caution.

I'm not suggesting for a minute that O'Neill deserves a pass on his history. If the CHRB hearing officer recommends a lengthy suspension and the board concurs, it would be wrong to treat O'Neill with kid gloves because one of his horses is on the verge of making history as the sport's 12th Triple Crown winner.

What I am saying is that I'm going to judge him on how he conducts his business in the future. Everyone deserves a second chance.

  • JC

    Might be a good thing to set up a life where one does not have to google the term “unethical” to see what it means.  Not to mention that horses are beautiful, living creatures that deserve the proper care and compassion, money-makers or not. 

    That’s along the line, I believe, of the point Mr. Paulick is making, and I concur.  I can believe in second chances and open minds, and I hope I’m not disappointed.  

  • I sincerely hope you’re right about O’Neill finally maturing a bit.  More power to him, if that turns out to be the case.  But, while he’s hardly the worst trainer out there, I still don’t think much of him as a horseman, and I just can’t bring myself to root for I’ll Have Another in the Belmont.  Besides, I know it seems petty, but Reddam’s always made my skin crawl.

  • Ray,Sorry i have to disagree with you somewhat….By your own count he’s probably on his 13th second chance…Trainers have to be held responsible to a higher standard when getting a positive test or the”game”will not survive……I’M not saying rule him off for 5-10 years but you can’t let him and Dutrow and others like them off without some serious ruling against them just because they PROMISE not to do it again if you just let them keep playing……I do think that his brother should be ruled off for stupidity for thinking that he had to look up milk shaking…

  • Charlie Weis

    I Enjoy your Web-Site and your comments on almost everything, but I strongly disagree with you here. Trainers like O’Neill, Dutrow & other Big Names have had many-many 2nd chances over many-many years and they continue to violate the Rules. No other business would keep an employee or do business with a contractor who continue’s to violate the Rules/ Break the Law over & over again.
    This is one of many reasons that there are more former owners in the grandstand & in front of their computers, then there are on the backside.
    I don’t believe that you would be (NOW) wanting to give Doug O’Neill, (Still) another chance to redeem his image, if he wasn’t training “I’ll Have Another”, who may win the Triple Crown, which you & others, including me, think that would be very good for the Sport, but, IMHO, only for a short time. The big problem may be the lack of Foals, becoming of racing age over the next several years. Hasn’t there been a 15 to 25% drop in births from 2006/7/8 to 2009/10/11.
    While I disagree on this subject, I believe you have the quickest/most accurate information, concerning the Thoroughbred Industry. Keep up the good work.

  • Anderson5999

    From watching O’Neill’s post-race interviews from the Derby and Preakness, he appears to be a very likeable, humorous guy that would be a great spokesman for the sport, much like Baffert has been. His son’s comment about wanting a hot tub after the Derby win was hilarious! I wish O’Neill’s record was clean, but maybe he is committed to cleaning up his act. I agree with you, Ray, in giving him a second chance. Let’s hope that, when the bright lights of the Triple Crown fade in a year or two, he doesn’t revert back to his previous form when it comes to medication.

  • Moira Fanning

    Everyone wants to be successful. It’s how you get there that matters.

  • Jim M

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of horses that, due to Mr. O’Neill, never got  asecond chance.  Why should he?

  • ttowntony

    A second chance??? Tell that to the horses that died on the track under his care! I’ll Have Another may very well win the triple crown, and if he does, it only proves that the old adage is true….”Crime pays” Go Union Rags!

  • McGov

    Well said.  I agree, everyone deserves a second chance.  There have been many a ‘great men’ that started by clawing and then were finally satisfied to play by the rules.  Too many to list really…but a good example is some modern, very powerful families, have ties to opium trading over 100 years ago.  My point is, sometimes great men will do anything to achieve their objectives, and sometimes the ultimate end result is good.
    Let’s hope that Mr. O’Neil has learned that playing by the rules is more rewarding, and ultimately, provides potentially much higher success.

  • Ida Lee

    Mr. Paulick, I see where you’re coming from but sometimes there are things which are unforgivable. If the reason so many of his horses broke down was because of illegal medications on race days (which is the issue here), then this, in my humble opinion, is indeed unforgivable. Having said that, I’m not going to take it out on I’ll Have Another. It’s not his fault his trainer is not Michael Matz or Larry Jones. IHA is a gorgeous animal with incredible talent who will be chasing history in a couple of weeks. I for one hope he catches that Crown.

  • Stanley inman

    It’s not about whether Doug deserves a second chance;
    We can pretty much guess the outcome of the CHRB hearing.
    Doug will get whacked; punishment starting post Belmont.
    Everyone will say, “perfect”
    Best decision right?
    All the “insiders can have their cake and eat it.
    Another example why public will not join up with us.
    No Integrity.

  • Hrprfan

    balanced article and I agree with it.

    consequences of his previous business means that he is not well liked across
    the board and many racing fans will be rooting against him rather than for
    him.  I will be rooting against him and a
    TC and that is a terrible feeling to have. The combo of a habitual drug
    offender and a loan shark is too much for me to handle.

  • McGov

    At the end of the day, if you assume that O’Neil did nothing illegal, the Lava Man claim and subsequent success, puts O’Neil in a different category of trainer.  This guys really must know his stuff and here is with a Triple Crown hopeful.  So, I think it’s safe to assume nothing illegal is going on with IHA, further evidence that he belongs in a different category.  IMO, it is inappropriate to lump him in with the group of no goods…despite his obvious earlier unethical behaviour.

  • Meyer1127

    YEAH RIGHT,He has a possible TT winner so lets forgive all and CROWN HIM KING.
    Wrong is wrong.Throwing the rules in the face of authority with a smirk is wrong.
    I hope the horse wins and I hope DO is punished for doing the same things over and over and getting numerous second, third, and fourth chances.
    Punish all of them that have had repeated violations and punish them well.

  • Stanley inman

    Every cause deserves a martyr.
    What would we know about “heresy” without a Joan of arc.
    No one in our sport has the courage
    So we substitute our equine partner
    The public sees the hypocrisy
    And says no thank you.

  • Tinky

    Here is the main problem that I have with Ray’s generous spirit: the importance of optics.

    O. Neill, in stark contrast to R. Dutrow, is relatively charming in public. Would Ray have reacted similarly had O’ Neill acted anything like RD? I think not.

    Now, judges face the same sort of dilemmas. Should they be lenient because a particular criminal dresses well and claims to be repentant? 

    The devil is in the details in both cases, and the details don’t reflect well on O’ Neill…

  • Frank L.

    Ida Lee —

    Exactly “WHAT” illegal medications
    are you talking about?

    You obviously are not aware of what is
    at the center of accusations. There are NO medications that can be
    given, race day, that will alleviate the pain of a horse ready to
    break down. The amount needed will show up in a post race test,
    greatly, I repeat “GREATLY”, larger than allowable “trace
    levels”. Now, I said “GREATLY”, meaning full dosage or greater
    — this does “NOT” involve O’Neil, and never has. Milkshakes
    are “NOT” detrimental to a horse, further, their usage has
    nothing to do with masking pain. Snake Venom is not a medication,
    rather a potent drug, that is “NOT” widely used, for more reasons
    than being illegal, and this does not even apply to O’Neil. I only
    mention this because some here that “DON’T understand my posts, try
    to interject things that have nothing to do with what is being

    Now, you ARE an example of what I mean
    by the MEDIA “controlling”, “CONTROLLING” negative perception
    in those that have NO understanding of what is, and isn’t. I don’t
    mean to attack YOU, I do enjoy reading your posts, BUT, you DO make
    my point about the “negative perception” given by an AGENDA
    driven media. And, there is an Agenda behind the crucifixion of

    Ida — be careful of what you believe
    that you “READ”, or heard, in/from the media!!

  • Frank L.

    Ronald —

    Your stupidity, and others here, are
    the reason why O’Neil “needs” to ignore the negativity, much like
    movie stars do, and just go on about his business. What good thing
    do you ever hear about Angela Jolie/Brad Pitt, Liz Taylor/Richard
    Burton, Cassius Clay, in his early days, etc, etc. If you are secure
    in yourself, you “DON’T” need public approval — He knows, those
    in the know, know, what a great asset, ambassador, he is to the
    sport. Nothing more to be said!!

  • JC

     I’d like to believe that he can learn from his mistakes, and hopefully all this has also taught him that, despite how slick you think you are, your crap will always get found out.  We shall see…

    I don’t discount your point or your right to make it.  TC winner or not, were I a horse owner it would be a cold day in hell before he’d train any of my horses.  They would go to Graham Motion, were he willing to take them. 

  • Battlerbill

    Doug O’Neill used the blueprint for success in modern horse racing…cheat until you make it….then, clean your act up, hire a big staff and everybody forgives you.

  • Hrprfan

    Sorry Frank but that made no sense what so ever.  JLo could make a better rebuttel than that.

  • Equine Avenger

    Sorry Ray, but you can give him another chance, i’ll pass! I have no interest in giving someone another chance that has spent their whole career abusing horses.

  • Tinky

    Gee, Frank, it’s a real mystery why some here “DON’T” understand your posts…

  • Equine Avenger

    Well said Battlerbill. That is EXACTLY what is going on in some of these stable.

  • Bristling

    They never cheated the public

  • Frank L.

    Tinky —
    Tell me, what YOU don’t understand?

  • Hareteamracing

    The thing that bothers me is the horse that went to Los Al for what looked like the only reason was to be claimed and broke down.  Did that $2,500 mean that much?

  • Frank L.

    As I always say, Can’t argue with ignorance!!

  • Anne

    No not cookies, chances!

  • Bobrrose

    Drug’s continued efforts to deny responsibility for the death of Bernadette, do not afford me the opportunity to wish a ‘second’ (actually 14th) chance for him. He would have to make a public confession that he was responsible for her premeditated murder, before anyone should even begin to think irrational thoughts of ‘aww, let’s forgive him.’ I sure hope any person dumb and calloused enough to think it would be just to suggest we forgive him, never winds up on the Ca. Parole Board as they hear Charlie Manson’s plea’s for forgiveness.   Instead of stopping on Bernadette and turning her out to heal, as true horseman do, he continued to drop her in class from $50k, to $25k, then finally to her horrendous, terrifying death in a measly $2,000 claimer at Los Al. Oh, he did accomplish his mission, as she was claimed away in that race, although all the new owner received for his $2,000 was the carcass of a once gallant race mare who’s gigantic heart earned her owners $126,000. Make that, $126,000 plus $2,000 more for the carcass that was left after the cold hearted ‘trainer’ sent her to her death, in the name of greed. We shall never forget you Bernadette…nor wish anything described as ‘a second chance’ for your murderer. Rest in Peace. There is Karma, but I pray it only strikes your murderer, and none of his horses. I do hope the ever game and gallant I’ll Have Another continues his winning ways. There’s long been a sayin on the backstretch “A good horse is dangerous in anybody’s hands.” I hope it continues to stand, cos you have the love of your Nation behind you, I’ll Have Another! 

  • Joemom

    He deserves another chance? How about all the owners who suffered/left the game because they could not compete against his drugged horses? Pretty sad that you let him con you into thinking he is a good person all because he is excited and friendly during his triple crown run.  Ray claims to want to clean the sport of drugs yet is now going to support Doug O’Neill??  Do you support the new rules being you can have 12 violations before you are suspended, or do you only want to apply that to doug? Oh wait he raises money for charity…ya so does every other criminal to fool people like Ray.

  • Tom

    What a convenient sense of timing you have for your compassion, Paulick. Your multiple and lengthy pieces on O’Neil cast him as an insensitive butcher who didn’t care for his horses’ welfare. It was clear to this reader that you wanted him run out of the game. Now that he’s ‘overcome’ your vicious attacks and won two of the biggest races of the year – and in turn risen to the height of the game – you decide he’s worthy of a second chance? Wow!

    Your hypocricy is jaw-dropping, matched only by the speed with which you sold out and switched positions on ‘evil’ trainers. (Judging by this article I guess you feel Richard Dutrow deserves the same consideration?) Obviously the foundation on which you launched your attacks was not built on a strong sense of committment to right and wrong.   

    The only thing more ridiculous than this flip-flop is the transparency with which you wrote it. You should be ashamed of yourself, Paulick.

  • Tom

    Why did you take down my post, Ray? Hit a little too close to the truth?

  • Olebobbowers

    Charles Manson wishes you and Ray were on the Parole Board.

  • Tom

    I don’t understand why you’re blocking my comment. There wasn’t anything rude or vulgar in there, and I am certainly entitled to my opinion. Would the moderator please weigh in?

  • Tom

    Your comment is there for all to see. We didn’t block you. Please stop saying we did.

  • Tom

    My apologies. It was shuffled down. Please feel free to delete my follow-ups for clarity’s sake.

  • Olebobbowers

    Ronald T…lol @ “I do think that his brother should be ruled off for stupidity for thinking that he had to look up milk shaking… ” I can only imagine how it went down. Dennis lays awake trying to think a way out of it for Drug. Finally, at 3:15 A.M., he runs and knocks on Drug’s bedroom door. “Wake up, Drug, wake up…I thought of a solution to the milkshake deal! We can just tell the CHRB that we had to Google ‘milkshake’! *drug and dennis do the happy dance in their jammies*” The CHRB, at their finest, gives him another 14th second chance, upon recommendation of certain turf reporters. While walking back to the barn, drug tells brobro, ‘we better change the flavor of the milkshakes on this second chance’.

  • RayPaulick

     Speaking of transparency, “Tom”…

    As I pointed out in an early reply, I feel there is a difference between the current attitude portrayed by Doug O’Neill and Rick Dutrow. I have yet to hear any statement from Rick Dutrow saying he’s made mistakes. O’Neill has. That doesn’t forgive his past transgressions, and I suspect he’ll be sanctioned for the Argenta TCO2.

    I believe people are capable of changing.

  • Ray, let me start out by saying, I respect you and your opinion immensely. But, I can not side with you here. Think, perhaps, you are getting caught up in the TC hoopla and it is clouding your view ( along with others ) ??? Of course, a cheat who gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar ( how many times now??? ) is going to say what others want to hear, and those that WANT to find a reason to forgive will believe him. But, from where I sit, an offender who has been caught THAT many times, is likely a zebra who won’t change his stripes.

  • ktq1

    Tell that to our trainer, who struggles to make ends meet and win a few races, all because he plays by the rules.  It would be so wrong for this trainer to be the one to finally break the TC curse…..

  • ktq1

    Union Rags all the way!

  • ktq1

    You hit the nail on the head. 

  • ktq1

    I’m on my last horse, and won’t get back in after his career is over.  We just can’t compete with the Dutrows/Jacobsons of NY, and honestly my integrety won’t allow me.

  • Joemom

     Admitted “making mistakes” is too broad.  I can understand and have nothing against giving him a second chance if he came out and said “yes i milkshaked that horse and many others” and then served the suspension given.  IMO him fighting every positive test is his way of not admitting to any mistakes.

  • ktq1

    Milkshaking is illegal.  Period.

  • ktq1

    But only after they have made it to the top.  That’s my problem with this Ray.  After a lifetime of loving the sport, I got in 8 years ago.  On my last horse now and will exit when he’s done racing.  How can our responsible trainer compete with Dutrow, Jacobson and others on the NY circuit?  It’s a defeating feeling.  Oneill is the same to me.  He broke down the small time horses, to get to the big time.  And more than once.  It’s easy now to say he’s changed.  (sort of like a convicted murderer on death row, suddenly finding God at the last minute). A TC this year would be the worse thing for the sport I’ve loved for nearly 40 years.

  • Joemom

     You and many others.  Amazing how people don’t see the damage.

  • Noelle

    I hope you’re right.  Some people do wrong because they really don’t know any better.  They have to learn from life what they didn’t learn from their parents.  Maybe O’Neill will take better care of all his horses in future.  I hope so.

    In the meantime, I’ll Have Another is a wonderful horse with a wonderful jockey and I hope they take the Triple Crown.

  • Gtony63

     Frank L. …YOU are insane fella.  Check yourself.

  • Clem Clemson

    DO is well liked at Santa Anita by people who are willing to look the other way on the substance of his training record.  Basically, likeability trumphs all vices and flaws of character.  But the Paulick Report should not be such a dupe.  We rely on you to see behind the curtain for us.  If you believe that DO deserves another chance because he’s likeable, then all of your journalistic credibility goes out the window. 

  • Clem Clemson

    Poor, sweet Burna Dette doesn’t get a second chance.  Why should Doug O’Neill?

  • Ida Lee

    Gee, maybe I should have said “performance enhancing substances – although not always successfully and some horses ended up dead”. “A Rose by Any Other Name”. Will that do it for you?  And for the record, I’m much more interested in what Mr. Paulick writes than anything you have to say.  He at least writes about things he knows about unlike you who believes you know where I’m coming from or what my views are on the media. For the record, you don’t. 

  • ttowntony

    I’m glad to see that people are finally getting fed up with all of this. Hard to believe that DO has a horse this good and will more than likely win the triple crown. I’m telling you all, and I’ve said this many times “CRIME PAYS”.

  • James D. Jimenez

    Mr. Paulick,

    All I can say is WOW! Based on what I’ve witnessed the last 4 weeks I never would have seen this coming. You make some very valid points that I would support. I believe the part about Dennis is incorrect just based on how they butchered the taping to get 2-3 second blips. Dennis also wrote a lengthy explanation on your site about what he actually said. 

    I give you credit where credit is due.

  • Turnbackthealarm

    You would know as you are the poster boy.

  • Clem Clemson

    I am not sure that “Crime Pays” isn’t a wide sweeping generalization.  But I do agree that its hard to believe that a claiming trainer like DO who doesn’t pay his feed bills to Magali can be entrusted with a horse like IHA and do well with him.  It makes me think that there is no justice in the world.

  • Stanley inman

    So true,
    Maybe another outcome produced by
    I’ll Have Another winning the TC will be
    We can use the event to showcase what needs to change;
    Doug will get his legacy winning the TC.
    true fans of the horse and sport will get to write the last chapter;
    he will forever be attached with the WORST part of the sport.
    Kind of like j.t.Lundy and calumet.
    That’s something for Doug to think about
    When he’s got a beer in his hand and
    Dreaming about The upcoming race.

  • Big Red

    Ray, I can’t believe I’m reading this from you !
    He was caught red handed, science doesn’t lie.
    I just read the article about Lou Pena. He is really a nice guy. Should we forget his violations ? Dutrow I’m sure has his good points, probably goes to church, lets give him a break to ? etc. etc. etc.
    And we wonder why the granstands are empty ? 

  • Rita

    I have seen modest claimers, numbers rise astronomically when a horse enters certain barns.  When average beyer speed figures rise 40 and 50 sometimes 100 percent, something isn’t right.   You can’t bet on them and you certainly can’t bet against them.  Seldom do these performance ratings last though.  Usually only a few starts and for a brief period of time.  I’ll pass on playing the ponies!

  • Stanley inman

    Should have read J.T.lundy’s management of calumet.
    (love calumet)

  • Rufusous

    I choose to disagree, Ray. It’s about choices and judgments. People play by the rules of racing, which are laid out for everybody. You abide by them or, you don’t. You play fairly like most everybody else or, you cheat Then, you hope nobody catches you and, if they do, you keeping denying it and stalling for as long as you can. There was a good reason why he was nicknamed “Drug O’Neill” wasn’t there? He cost those honest trainers and owners shares of purses, that O’Neill didn’t deserve. The time to have thought about cheating and dismissing it as not the proper thing to do, should have been done before he undertook the role. Hundreds of other trainers do it. They realize it’s a tough sport but, they choose not to cheat.

  • Stanley inman

    There have been 11 other horses since the last triple crown winner
    who won the first two legs.
    Yet none of us have heard let alone had a conversation with those horses farrier
    leading up to the Belmont?
    Why is this time so different?

  • Don Reed

    Sorry, Ray, can’t agree. 

    How many people would take the position that D’ON deserves “another chance” –

    If it were NOT May 24th, 2012 –

    With the impending Triple Crown – with a horse trained by D’ON – on the line? 

    Re-think this, please.

    There’s no genuine glory to be attained, no integrity that can be acquired after the fact – by going down the George Steinbrenner Highway, regardless of how many Yankee pennants gained during his sordid ownership are currently flying over the fatally compromised borough of the Bronx (my home town).

  • Equineplay2003

    Thank you Ray being the much needed voice of reason. Those who really know Doug will concur.

  • Don Reed

    you’ve become an embarrassment.

    Lay off, go have a cup of tea. We all support
    freedom of speech, but you’ve been abusing the privilege. Take a rest, then
    come back and voice your thoughts.  There
    must be something worthwhile in the cauldron of your undisciplined thought that you have all too
    frequently shared with.  Let’s see if by
    toning it down, you can inspire us, not repel us.

  • James D. Jimenez

    You’re not very bright are you sir? 

    The internet has allowed forums like these to be used by all and not just special people like you.

    I suppose we could just allow special people like you post things that you have zero clue about.

    Not sure why you have a bug up your butt for me but it’s obvious you do. You’re entitled to your thoughts and opinions but guess what, so am I so deal with it.

  • Sandra Warren

    I have a number of friends who use DO as a trainer in racing partnerships.  Some of these friends are actively involved in horse rescue.  DO seems to be extraordinarily friendly and willing to provide access to his barn for pictures with Lava Man, etc. Secretive butchers don’t normally let strangers wander around their barn area; rather, they put up sawhorses to keep people out.  DO willingly participates in re-homing horses that are at the end of his career.  But then there is the Burna Dette occurrence, which was not at the all the only time that happened.  I’ve asked my friends how they feel about using him as a trainer after the Burna Dette situation, and they all seem to think that the man they read about on the Internet is not the man they know in the shedrow. 

    How to reconcile those two things?  Part of me says perhaps his conscience only works when someone’s watching:  if a horse is bowed and can’t be entered at a low price, he’ll work hard to re-home it.  But if he can patch it up and shift it to Los Al for a quick claim, hey, it’s just business.  Then another part of me says, to use a phrase used often recently, perhaps his conscience is “evolving,”  mostly because it’s getting harder and harder to cheat.  Steroids and milkshakes gave a guy quite an edge in the last 20 years.  If they’re both out, then what’s left but horsemanship?  He seems to be a darn good horseman in the way he runs the barn.  Certainly there’s been a lot of fellows who have slipped dramatically down the ladder of success since testing has gotten better.

    I think Ray’s right:  it’s important to let the man have a chance to start fresh.  But we’ll be watching.  Right now, DO is carrying the weight of the whole industry on him.  If IHA wins the Triple Crown, racing may pick up.  If DO has any high-profile breakdowns while he is in the public eye, racing may sink further.  I hope he thinks twice.

  • Rufusous

    Ask Burna Dette is she’s willing to forgive O’Neill?

  • desertrailrat

      O’Neill is and will continue to be an enigma and a walking contradiction, thing is, he’s not going anywhere.  Winning 2 TC races with the possibility of making history in a few weeks will provide him many new opportunities, now it’s up to Doug to decide how to proceed from here.  The added prestige is going to allow him to be more selective in which owners he trains for and obviously will bring higher quality animals to his barn. 

      That being said, if he goes back to CA and continues down the same path of violating rules and then flatly denying it, the CHRB will take him down eventually and he could possibly lose it all.  I have gone back and forth on this guy so many times, he’s likeable and I doubt many of his detractors on here would walk away from meeting him saying anything but “he seems like a cool guy”.  When Argentine bred Mi Rey broke down opening day at Del Mar a couple years ago, I really got the heartfelt feeling that Doug was genuinely sad and hurt inside watching his animal die on the track.

      Then he turns around and does such obnoxious nasty things like the Burna Dette incident and when questioned, he lets out the coldest most corporate sound byte imaginable, “we are deeply saddened, etc..” and never answers the question of “what the hell was she doing there in the first place?”.  Even this last week when he said he would be retired by the time the CHRB figures out what to do with him, it showed a level of pompousness that has seemed to flourish in him in recent tears.  

      We need to hope he can change, there will be more equine athletes then ever in his barn and he needs to remember that they depend on him to do right by them, and the sport as a whole needs him to become a good example, and not an embarrassment to himself and our great game.

  • Lobieb

    I will never forgive O’Neil or Rick Dutrow.  Tigers don’t change their stripes.  Just watch they will let O’Neil off with a slap on his hand because he is in the “big time” now.If they do chastise him I will be the one jumping up and down.  I love I’ll Have Another and hopefully they will take him away from O’Neil at some point before he runs him into the ground as well while trying to stay “on-top”.

  • Don Reed

    The comment was approved & posted, but to Tom’s credit, when he then checked to see if it had been posted, it is likely that he forgot to chick the option box at the top right of the screen which follows Ray’s comments – and if it featured anything else than “Most Recent,” his post did get “shuffled” out of the deck.

    WHICH again points out the intellectual dishonesty of the Disqus system (posts should be solely listed in chronological order), which serves as a reminder that if comments & site systems are robotically rigged so that the most “popular” comments are automatically listed first, then long-term integrity will be always be subjugated (& ultimately destroyed) by the unscrupulous needs of the public relations and television pimps.

    Ray Paulick has integrity.  But DISQUS is something that the Paulick Report should no longer tolerate & no longer use as the platform for this admirable site.

  • Clem Clemson

    I agree.  What DO did by placing Burna Dette in that race at Los Al is unforgiveable.  Remember, both her front legs brokedown at the same time on the turn. Both. That only happens when there are pre-existing stress fractures.  He dumped her and all he could say about it is that he wanted her to win and climb back up the ladder.  Right.  And I have swamp land I would like to sell DO in Florida. 

  • Don Reed

    I too was intitially tempted by the comparison between Doug O’Neill (2012) and Rich Dutrow Jr. (2008).

    Despite the apparently obvious similarities, it doesn’t hold water.

    The most disqualifying example is that in 2008, Rich Dutrow – in the wake of the 2008 Big Brown Belmont Stakes disaster – flew off the handle and slandered a great Belmont trainer –

    By insinuating that Gasper Moschera – a superb & honorable trainer (retired), had succeeded by the use of the needle, etc.

    Mr. Moshera had absolutely NO – ZERO – drug violation penalties.  NONE. 

    If he was an underhanded operator, then, please, can anyone explain why, in the course of a 30-year carreer, he had won only one (1) Grade One race? 

    If anyone knows of an instance when Doug O’Neill has behaved in such a revolting manner, let us know, please.  My guess is that it has never happened.

  • Don Reed

    “K”: Line Two, should “got in” have been phrased as “got out”?

  • Stanley inman

    I must not be very bright because I didn’t get your drift-
    something about me thinking the Internet being just
    “for special people”?
    I’ve never said that or hopefully implied such;
    You have me mixed up with frank, I guess.

  • Don Reed

    It wouldn’t matter.  Rich Dutrow Jr. has the deciding vote.

  • James Staples

    that blueprint has happened all over the country for a long time & it won’t stop until the powers that be throw JAIL TIME/LIFE TIME BANS into the mix…PERIOD…still hope he wins the Triple Dipper!!!…

  • Stanley inman

    Why is it that when people here things they agree with they get all warm n fuzzy inside;
    And when they here things they disagree with they get mad?
    Then, assume (wrongly more often then not,)
    That the comment was about them?
    Why do people do that?

  • James D. Jimenez

    Then why the hate????

    You asked me to get Doug or Dennis here to answer some questions the other day but when Dennis posted his reply about the milkshake video not one single person and especially not you followed with a question. 

    How have I ever offended you? Why shouldn’t I join in a conversation here? What exactly is your motive? 

  • desertrailrat

      This is the last time I waste my time ripping you a new blowhole Frank.  Ray mentioned the term schadenfreude, perhaps you should change your blog moniker from Frank L. to that, as it seems you just want to make everyone on here miserable and you enjoy it.  Every time I log on to read the intelligent and thoughtful discourse shared by so many on here I have to wade through you posts calling everyone “stupid” and “ignorant”.  You are a jerk, you have made that clear, I see no reason why else anyone would want to disrupt and disrespect everything good about this blog.  I suppose you are unhappy and want to ruin the experience for everyone else and bring us down to your level of self loathing.  Perhaps you should check out the new Glenn Beck site The Blaze, as the level of conversation seems like a perfect fit for you. 

  • Jimculpepper

    I have often wondered if a random number generator was sequencing the comments, or maybe the scrambling of remarks is to put distance between our crabs in a basket.

  • Stanley inman

    James, my friend,
    Simmer down,
    None of my comments have anything to do with you.
    Perhaps you’ve misunderstood my question above.
    Itsnot that we shouldn’t here from you,
    But that the context, is very unusual, would you not agree?
    Dennis posted on all of my comments (with his pen name) and I responded. See PR.

  • James D. Jimenez

    Here or hear?????

    You directed your comment at me and even referred to the fact that I’m a farrier.

    Again I question: Why the hate???? Have I wronged you in any way????

  • Upstart

    It was $2000 for Burna Dette’s life.  Could buy a small a hot tub.

  • James D. Jimenez

    First your motives and now your honesty are in question. 
    First, your comment was indeed directed to me. 
    Second, I just checked the milkshake video column and there are 4 likes and not a single comment or question posted after Dennis o’s post so you are misrepresenting the truth.

  • desertrailrat

     Hey Turnback, there are 3 ways for a man to gain wisdom remember?  I think he skipped all 3.  Glad to see you posting here, I find it much more thought provoking and satisfying than the other place. 

  • keep writing Ray…

  • Jimculpepper

    This colt deserves his chance and perhaps, so do O’Neals eclectic, albeit borrowed conditioning methods. Speaking of  our whole third world culture of impunity, and not merely racing, the difference  between a child and a man is that a childs idea of right and wrong depends upon whether someone is watching who might tune up his ass, whereas a man will do what is right.  Imposing fines based on % of net worth would bring wealthy connections to heel without wiping out little guys who get caught.

  • u must b God???…

  • Upstart

    Oh, good.  James has checked in.  And he is reminding us that “Dennis” wrote a “lengthy explanation…about what he actually said”.  Thje world can now be at peace.

  • James D. Jimenez

    No, James checked in to read a far and well written article by Ray Paulick.

  • James D. Jimenez

    Truly apologize to you Upstart I used the work “fair” in a post to you. What was I thinking?

  • ask em in DC if CRIME PAYS…

  • Charlie Davis

    So despite his history of ignoring the rules, we should just assume that he’s now following all of the rules, and is just that much better of a trainer than everyone else?  Assuming he did nothing illegal, when he’s already been fined for doing things illegal, is just plain ignorant.  

  • Tinky

    Hate to burst your bubble, Don, but Gasper was nowhere near clean. He was clever, but not clean.

  • Charlie Davis

    “Gasper Moschera – a superb & honorable trainer”  

    Wow, that’s the first time I’ve heard Gasper described as anything close to honorable or superb. 

  • Stanley inman


    Did I say I posted, a”like”?
    Answer: no (i never post like or dislike)
    Did I say I responded to dennis’s post you refer to?
    I do agree with what you say , ” your motives and honesty are in question”
    You were speaking about yourself,
    You have no idea how you are harming the .
    I will make a wild guess;
    They will tell you to stay away.

  • Stanley inman

    There is no hate my friend,
    it’s all about deception.
    Is that why you keep changing the subject?

  • JC

     If it is true, as above, that Mr. O’Neill stated that he will be retired before the CHRA figures out what to do with him, then I wonder about his capacity for change.  As I’ve said already, I’d like to believe that people can learn from their mistakes.  But, to say something grossly insensitive and arrogant like that, when everybody and their mother knows about the Burna Dette(probably preventable) tragedy(at LEAST; people imply there are others), shows one of two things, or both–that 1) one has one of the most clueless big mouths ever bred in an alleged human being; or 2) one is that sociopathic and insensitive that one doesn’t care. 

    This really is bittersweet.  My heart and prayers are truly with I’ll Have Another and Mario Gutierrez.  But the “Drug and the loan shark” stuff is enough to make me nauseous.  And if anyone believes that the latter two things help horse racing, then I think they’re wrong.  People truly come to a point where they despise a “sh*t floats” sort of world, and then they vote with their feet. 

    I hope the CHRA thinks fast, and thinks forcefully.  Again, if you won’t discipline from within, you’ll rot from within–and, as the body in charge of punishment for infractions in that state, if you will not punish when punishment is warranted, you will look like either wimps or a laughingstock. 

    Prayers for all horses and jockeys that they run well, and run safe. 

  • JC

     You can puff up all you want, but the Burna Dette tragedy has the look of being engineered by an “insensitive butcher”.  If you have evidence to the contrary, like x-ray reports of BD’s legs stating that she was sound prior to that low claim, then produce it.  Otherwise, admittedly, to an amateur reader/fan like me, the whole thing reeks, and that poor horse is still dead, possibly for nothing except greed or inconvenience. 

    And this is Mr. Paulick’s blog; he has a right to his own opinion. 

  • Upstart

    Ray. I understand it was probably disconcerting to post earnest stories about Lewis and Thayer and receive only 1 comment each,  but to respond to that and attempt to generate more traffic to your site by invoking Graham Motion’s name and somehow tying him/his training practices to this reprobate (unprincipled) just isn’t going to work.  Although it will be too late for me,  please explain to the others how stopping LEGAL medications prior to a race compares in ANYWAY to illegal medications and to breakdowns TWICE the national average.

    The sound you hear is the door slamming behind me.  Don’t worry,  you still have Janice and James.  Good luck with that.

  • Terri Zeitz

    The Daily Racing Form had an article about O’Neil’s case going before the racing board in California today with accusations of milk-shaking violations.
    There were several trainers who responded to the article about false positive test results. And one, who had a filly turn up with a false positive CO2 before she ran. It was due to her feed. As a healthcare professional,I know a diet in high carbohydrates can elevate the CO2 levels.
    One trainer mentioned that to verify the tests he paid $900 for the lab to run independent tests. When I go to the vet, it costs me only $40 to $60 for lab tests not this ridiculous sum of money. And what about the trainer who is barely making ends meet, how can he or she afford that sum? And the trainer who had separate tests found that the test done by the track was inaccurate.
    Several of the trainers called into the question the accuracy of the tests. If labs don’t run proper controls, the tests can be inaccurate. 

  • Goatroper7

    My husband is a handicapper and has made a lot of money off “DRUGS” horses.

  • Tinky

    Please. There were many trainers in CA who didn’t have any positives. If this were a feed-related false positive, it would have been far more common.

  • Goatroper7

    I had to look it up also.

  • ktq1

    You’re right, I stink at typing on the computer!

  • ktq1


  • James D. Jimenez

    You really should tell the truth when facts are so easily checked right here!

    You stated that you responded to Dennis under his pen name: Fact: you accused someone of being Dennis and never replied to his response when it was clearly him posting as dennis o. Fact: I did not say that you posted a “like”
    Fact: Read Dennis’s response it is clear that they have no problem with my post. Especially since I, like Doug and Dennis have told the truth. 

    Maybe a farrier has rubbed you the wrong way I don’t know. The issues are with you!

  • James D. Jimenez

    Congratulations Ray you even spoke out before he was proven to not have milkshaked a horse. Testing procedures are FLAWED! Doug and others were TARGETED! The CHRB must be stopped! We have the public watching the CHRB hang a person that they believe and love. Governor Brown do something!

  • Damon Runyon

    I have no problem using the DISQUS platform. In the box above, I simply change it to “sort by oldest first.” Then, as you scroll down, everything is in chronological order.

    Plus, if you use a Firefox browser, spell check works.

  • dh

    Frank L., Doug O’Neill called, he said “go get your SHINEBOX!!!!!”

  • James D. Jimenez

    Feed programs differ greatly from barn to barn! Who knows what combination might be the one that triggers a high reading on a horse? Maybe one combination that triggers on one horse won’t trigger others. Testing is FLAWED! It has been proven that lasix triggers on some and not others. Please Tinky, you wanted the man to be proven to have milkshaked his horses. It has been PROVEN he didn’t!

  • dh

    Typical media response Ray. You media guys buddy up with these trainers and then when they “poop rug” you ask your loyal fans to forgive and forget as you seem to be doing. Not buying it Ray, and I’m disappointed you put this article out there. O’Neill has used the blueprint for success, as some of your very astute bloggers have pointed out, cheat until you don’t have to cheat anymore (ie. you get nice horses, top day money, fame). We are supposed to judge him fairly now that he doesn’t have to cheat anymore, c’mon man. The damage is done, he has embarresed the game, like Dutrow, Pletcher, etc. Its like taking a country girl to a black tie affair and when she starts taking her clothes off on the dance floor you realize you should’ve known better. Believe me, O’Neill will let you down Ray, you should know better.

  • PWK

    O’Neill is a player.

  • Stanley inman

    You win James, (I’ve spit the bit)
    Call the dog food people. I want out of your barn.

  • Because he is a human being.

  • Gordon Calhoun

    would someone here please tell me when horseracing was 100% clean with only good guys? because you will never ever ever ever find it.  “Penny Chennery” you say? She demanded Angle Light be pulled out of the Wood, even though that was against the rules. “Michael Matz!” you say…Barbaro broke down and died on his watch and almost took the whole industry with it (same goes for Larry Jones).  

    So, shut up people and be more positive.  

    And yes, I am a stakeholder.  I own a breeding farm and race horses at the track.  So, yes, I do think I am holier than thou.

  • Geri10718

    Doug is 8/5 at the moment to gain racing immortality.  The sport of racing is itself becoming increasingly mortal, however, and I’m still quite upset by the breakdowns that make racing increasingly unappealing, some of which I witnessed at this barn.  I would be on the same page with Doug if he would endorse the legislation banning  all race day medications; without those, most of his breakdowns and most of those of other trainers would never have happened.  He’ll still win when the playing field is leveled by the no meds rule.  I’ve been in his barns and seen him win in weeks when his stalls were on surveillance 24/7.    If Doug would support that legislation. I’d believe he was demonstrating positive leadership in the sport.

  • dh

    I don’t think you could call Penny Chenery or Michael Matz a cheat (not sure about Larry Jones, time will tell). The problem is the CHEATS have taken over the game, there are 4 or 5 at almost every track and at every level of track, top and bottom, and they are ruining it. Where do you race your horses and breeding stock? Are you not tired of watching the same cheaters walk away with the majority of the win money, and wonder why no one claims off them and wonder why their 5k claimers are beating your allowance horses. I’m trying to be positive Gordon, but I will not shut up about the CHEATS.

  • Don Reed

    I’m worse.  What’s worse, decades ago, prior to these cheap crap keyboards, with the IBM selectrics, I could knock out about 45 words a minute; even better, as skill by repitition increased, my fingers actually could “tell” if a typo had been made before my eyes spotted it.  And even with “lift-off” tape, fixing typos was an ordeal, so there was a built-in fear factor that concentrated the mind.

    How do we communicate today?  Last night at 12:30 am, pitch black out, I’m having a smoke outside when along comes a junior high school student, walking along on a pavement across the street that hasn’t been maintained in years (another neighbor took a header on it six months ago.  After weeks of therapy, she seems to have recovered).

    Her head’s down, walking along, hypnotized by her text phone, oblivious to danger.

    1990: We needed lift-off tape.

    2012: We need to lift-up the zombies who, electronically preoccupied, keep walking into trees.

    (Maybe this explains Union Rags’s not-so-fast exit from the Derby gate.  Cancel the breathalizer tests; pat down the jockeys on the weighing scales for text phones.) 

  • JC

     I believe Angle Light still ran in the Wood, despite anyone’s “demands”.  Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.  And, unless you can prove that Barbaro was drugged on or right around race day, that is an unfair charge you are leveling at Mr. Matz.  I think Barbaro was a tragic accident, and it broke everyone’s hearts.  Lighten up. 

  • voiceofreason

    Dutrow deserves a second chance too. They both deserve a third chance too, because change can happen anytime. And a fourth. And fifth. So does NYRA, and all the alphabets. Anyone really.

    Faith that things will get better has served our industry well. Please, continue on. It’s much easier than hard changes.

  • voiceofreason

    Paulick headline: “Harness racing trainer suspended indefinitely after 1,700 drug violations”.

    He deserves 1701 chances too. And 1702.

  • Don Reed

    [It was necessary to post this response
    after composing it on Word because after it had originally been written in the Disqus
    comments box, the screen froze & I had to shut down the PR in order to be
    able to finish sending this.  My apology
    for the anticipated resulting crazy visual presentation of this response to DR;
    Don Reed 05/25/12 12:04 am]

    Glad you’re skating unimpeded, but
    there’s complications with your solution:

    A) You buy a nice car, take it home,
    everything should be all set. No more distractions. Then things change, &
    you keep having to adding things to the car that had already been installed in
    your previous car. Even if the additions are free, it’s a constant distraction.
    You not getting paid to drive the car, but somehow, now, you’re an employee of
    the machine you own.

    Same for computers. I have a huge
    problem when previously, I could compose writing on Office, spell-check it, &
    then cut-&-paste it to a posting system that retained the original spacing
    format, instead of what happens with this Third World Disqus, which reprints
    the posted work with two words on one line, next line seven words, next line
    three words, a half-mile of white space in between paragraphs, etc.

    It’s a minor miracle that our posted
    messages aren’t reprinted sideways, with each letter being of a different ink
    density, font, & type size!

    I didn’t need to add Firefox, Freak
    Fix, Fabulous Phonetics, & 100 other devices to a brand-new expensive
    computer system that was purchased & installed only six months earlier.

    Require unreasonable adjustments, &
    watch your readers (clients) disappear. Guaranteed.

    B) Disqus’s lack of spell-check is
    only one of about ten major failings that have disqualified Disqus as a
    serious, legitimate communications device.

    I’m not saying that VHS should have
    never been replaced by DVDs, etc.

    But in those specific instances, the
    positives created by technological improvement more than justified the
    adjustments we had to make & the money we had to spend updating our

    DISQUS has very few redeeming
    features. It reminds me of RCA’s insane product launched in the 1980s, where
    you could buy things that looked like record albums that played movies, etc.
    Not one of the geniuses anticipated that millions of dollars in R&D would
    go up in smoke because it was impossible to record TV shows, etc on the


  • Don Reed

    Simply going on the air with Erin Burnett is preposturous.

  • Don Reed

    JC, to whom was your comment addressed?  Was this originally written/posted as a reply to someone other than the PR staff, and then Disqus filed it as an original comments? 

    Just wondering.  At any rate, the suggestion that Barbaro was drugged is insane, and if directed at anyone specifically, should be the grounds for a slam-dunk libel/slander lawsuit.  Mr. Matz’s integrity is unassailable.

  • Don Reed

    Mr. Calhoun, if your comments can be construed to mean that Michael Matz has had anything to do with drugging horses, or using any illegal or unethical method whatsoever in order to succeed as a trainer, I sincerely hope that he files a slander/libel lawsuit against you.

    If this was not your intention, please clarify your remarks.

  • Don Reed

    JC, OK, all set.  Your comment was double-posted, both as a response and as an original comment.

    Using DISQUS is like being on the old 1920s-30s “party” telephone lines – then, you couldn’t even tell who was saying what if everyone spoke at once; Disqus has changed the scenario from audio to visual chaos.

  • Don Reed

    “This is the last time I waste my time ripping you a new blowhole Frank. ”

    Jeez, I thought Norman Mailer was dead.

    He’s been reincarnated as a racing fan, evidently.

  • Don Reed

    Will you two please get a room?!

  • Don Reed

    I think Disqus has admirable similarities to casino computer software programs. 

    Just as every 1,00th customer wins money, once in a great while, Disqus manages to correctly present a posting.

  • Don Reed

    In the context of the racing world, where people sincerely but irrationally feel that accusations comprise the actual evidence which confirm & justify their accusations, I dissent, & go by the record:

    He retired without ONE single drug violation.

  • stillriledup

    I think Doug needs to EARN that second chance instead of feeling that people should be obligated to give him a 2nd chance just because he’s a nice guy or happens to be training a horse who has a shot to win the Triple Crown.

    The one thing i havent seen from Doug or his camp is any remorse. He hasnt admitted to the cheating. In baseball, we, as a society, have seemed to have forgiven the players who admitted they did steroids and said “im sorry, i did a dumb thing” and we seem to have NOT forgiven players who havent shown remorse.

    To my knowledge, in order to get a 2nd chance, doesnt someone have to first admit to the cheating?

    Has Doug ever said “i knowingly gave my horse something that was banned and raced him knowing that i was breaking the rules” ?

    I think i’d be much more apt to give a 2nd chance to someone who admits to the cheating rather than to act like all the times his horses had banned substances in their system, he knew nothing about it and had no idea how it got there.

    Or, even if he doesnt want to admit to knowingly cheating, he could at least be more remorseful and say “i need to monitor my horses better, i did a bad job at making sure those horses werent racing with something banned in their systems, i’ll try and do better in the future”.

  • its a damn shame but your old man knows the deal…he figured out HOO the cheaters r!!!…ty…

  • then get off your @SS & send JESUS back???…

  • Don


  • voiceofreason

    “The New York State Racing and Wagering Board… has suspended harness trainer Luis (Lou) Pena immediately
    and indefinitely for illegally drugging horses in nearly 700 races in
    New York State and amassing more than 1,700 equine drug violations”

    He deserves a 1701th chance too.

  • Anne

    Wow and apparently DO has paid $250K to fight the claim! Poor guy only needed to spend $40 to $60!!! Heck he should open his own lab, test every horse he runs, prove his innocence and save tons of money all in one fell swoop! 

  • Olebobbowers

    He knowingly proceeded to butcher and sell Burna Dette’s carcass for $2,000. That is NOT the actions of a human being, Nick. Rest in Peace sweet girl, we shall never forget you, and karma will be served upon your murderer.


    Ray I try to like you and believe your program here with the blogs are great interaction. If O’Neill were just a small trainer trying to make good you wouldn’t even give him a shot. Quit sucking up to him, he is a bonified cheater and that is fact. I  cannot believe that you even wrote that. Much less posted it.

  • Turnbackthealarm

    hahaha……..I always post under the same name on all horseracing blogs so any friends from “the other place” will know it is me.  good to see you here.

  • Ridindirty3

    If this horse wins the Belmont…..D/O will get the eclipse award for outstanding trainer of 2012. Integrity be damned! BELIEVE IT LIKE WATER IS WET!

  • Don Reed

    You two have been placed on the Paulick Probation Report for not snidely attacking each other’s integrity.

    But not until July 1st. 

  • May Flower

    Remember what DO said after Burna Dette’s death: “It’s a business”.

    DO is smooth enough to put on a good show. He might even wear pink, say I am sorry publicly, shed a tear re. his broken and dead horses to get anxious industry “leaders”, opportunistic press and outraged public off his back quick.

    Should DO genuinely desire to change for the better, his matching owners would have to change with him. I can only hope and pray for a miracle.

  • ktq1

    I tried.  He wants no part of this planet!  Can you blame him?

  • Goatroper7

    I think that the horses that he abused should JUDGE him.

  • Goatroper7

    Intent is the key to this issue.

  • David P

    There is a dichotomy in our society between those high profile members of our society and the rest of us. Ray I would put you in the former group. Those people somehow get a second, third, fourth chance, ad infinitum. The rest of us, well, we’re not so lucky. We should all be treated the same, which of course, we are not. Saying that I hope IHA blows them away. GL to everyone involved.

  • desertrailrat

     Thanks……I think? 

  • stillriledup

    Im not sure if this is a good analogy or not (if its not, im sure you guys will let me know!) but cant you draw some comparison between Doug and baseball pitcher Roger Clemens? Now Clemens, who many feel has cheated, hasnt admitted that he cheated. He’s denying it. To my knowledge, Doug hasnt admitted he cheated either…he’s denying it also. All Doug’s positive tests were ‘mistakes’ and it wasnt his fault. Sure, he ‘accepts’ responsibility, but isnt admitting that he cheated.

    There are a lot of examples in our society of people who have ‘cheated the system’ and got caught and apologized and really professed how sorry they were and we, as a society, seem to go much ‘easier’ on the apologizers than the ones who deny, deny, deny.

    Clemens is the biggest name out of the baseball steroid era that’s denied this stuff and the way he’s being viewed in society isnt as favorable as if he came clean from the beginning and said he completely messed up and is terribly sorry.

    Now, here’s my question. Is there some difference between O’Neill just denying that he cheated and Clemens denying it? Because, it seems, that we’re really kind of not coming down on Doug nearly as hard as we came down on Clemens.

    I’ve mentioned this before, but shouldnt we require Doug to come clean and admit he knowingly gave these horses stuff he shouldnt have been giving them? Part of me wants an apology from him so i can clean the slate and start the healing process and possibly start believing that Doug is a decent human being who made a mistake and now he’s not going to do it anymore.

    I know personally, if i’m going to give anyone in my life a ‘second chance’ i had better see some serious remorse and also see something that indicates to me that the offender GETS IT and is really serious about rehabbing his/her image by being clean from this day forward.

    Do we all have what we need to accept that Doug has ‘changed’ for the better? Do we all think that Doug “Gets it” and is a changed man? Many responses here seem to think not.

    Why are we holding Clemens to a higher standard than Doug O’Neill?

  • BSsniffer


    Your a real dummy, aren’t you? Look at Dennis’s post and look at mine. Do you believe they were written by the same person? You would love to believe Dennis gave to Sh*ts about you, well i’m sure he doesn’t. Neither do I, what I do care about is the sub-set of people you represent. The so called fans of the sport who spend more time bad mouthing the game because it makes them feel better about their level of involvement. The sport doesn’t need fans like you. Go get a set of golf clubs and bad mouth the PGA for awhile. Your nothing but a horse’s ass.



  • GC

    I agree, William, I am quite disappointed when turf writers suck up to the guy in spotlight. One horse can turn a villian into a hero overnight.

  • Second Chance

    On this logic, all other trainers should start milkshaking until they are caught four times, and then ask for a “second chance.”

  • Second Chance

    Message to trainers: be nice and accessable to media so they think you are likable, and you will get a pass for anything.

  • voiceofreason

     This is the American Thoroughbred Industry. Define “higher standard”.

  • Dylan Clarke

    Trainers get bad tests all the time one by accident some not if a trainer gets one violation doesn’t mean he a cheat cause it could be by accident but if there’s a difference between a second chance after one violation or a second chance after u make it big in the industry

  • DavidM9999

    You are a grown up Ray. Judge O’Neill as you see fit. I choose to not overlook his rap sheet. The past counts and each successive offense he has piled up counts more. Maybe he will find himself rehabilitated now he struck gold. I will check back in about. A decade for an update. I would say he is about 1-9 to have another major offense over the next few years. Maybe Betfair will offer that prop.

  • ExactaGirl

    Wow. I have been sour on O’Neil but high on IHA, and the conflict has been hard to deal with. Your forgiving attitude makes me feel a little ashamed of myself. Thanks, Ray. I hope he’ll have no more violations moving forward. It’s still hard for me to forgive him though. I hope he proves worthy of your generosity.

  • Second Chance

    Why have you seen Doug in a different light Ray? Because his horse won? As you said, he is still in denial about his violations. Popularity trumps all.

  • s/s

    O’Neill is not your normal trainer. They have a name for his personality and unfortunately Ray has bought into his B.S.

    This guy will someday have to face the music and it will eat him up. I know, I have had many discussions with him and the fake laughter and smirks masks a nervous personality wrought with guilt.

  • Olebobbowers

    Bwahahaha…good one Don.

  • Thegoofontheroof

    While I don’t have an opinion on the subject matter. Any article that contains the word “schadenfreude” is the bomb in my book!!

  • Dwilsonfl

    Mr. O’Neill is a fine fellow, fan friendly and good to his horses. I’ve personally been on Lava man’s back and he signed my sweetie’s IHA hat.  You couldn’t find a nicer guy.  You people writing these negative missives need to get over your hatred of this fine man who has been wronged and unjustly singled out.

  • tarheel

    “O’Neil “needs” to ignore the negativity”….YES HE DOES!! I am so very tired of seeing all the negative statements, comments articles written about him. I do understand THIS article is a year+ old; however, the public needs to get a grip! Go after Baffert for a change, I mean the death of seven of his horses in such a short time frame and no one knows why? (I do not buy the rat poison theory
    as any ‘sane’ person would not have such chemicals near horses food.) If they do know, I–personally–have not seen it in print. Anyone know why “Tweebster” was considered ‘sound’ the day he ran his last race? And, Baffert is not the only trainer quilty of doing things not considered legal by CHRB rules, we all know that. What I fail to understand is why O’Neill has been appointed the face of all the ills in horse racing. Ronald, you are oh, so right, O’Neill is “a great asset, ambassador” to this sport!

    • RayPaulick

      You obviously haven’t read the Paulick Report the last five months.

      • tarheel

        What happened to my reply to your reply to me? Please forgive me if I offended anyone, especially you, Ray. I am new at this and perhaps an old lady–73, but not senile–should not allow my fingers to wakl across the keyboard! In all sincerity, I do follow the Paulick Report on a DAILY basis. It has taught me a great deal and I do thank you.

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