What Next for O’Neill? Possibly a Lengthy Suspension in California

by | 10.06.2014 | 12:48pm
O'Neill has a trio of horses set to run Friday at Santa Anita

The New York State Gaming Commission suspension of Doug O'Neill set in motion steps that could have far-reaching implications beyond the stipulated settlement that was intended to sideline the Southern California-based trainer from Nov. 3-Dec. 18, 2014. We already know O'Neill has been suspended 45 days and will not be able to participate in the Breeders' Cup. But things could get worse for him, much worse, based on what actions are taken by the California Horse Racing Board.

The suspension stems from a positive test for the drug Oxazepam, detected in a post-race sample taken from O'Neill-trained Wind of Bosphorus, who finished first in a race at Belmont Park on June 2, 2013.

The start date of the suspension, obviously, was negotiated so O'Neill could conduct business as usual for his large stable at the 31st Breeders' Cup championships at Santa Anita Park. Or so he thought.

Those plans were spoiled last Friday – less than 48 hours after the O'Neill suspension was first reported – when Breeders' Cup officials invoked their “Convicted Trainer Rule.” Originally adopted in 2010 and amended in 2012, the Breeders' Cup rule bans participation of trainers who, within the preceding 12 months, received a medication violation involving either a Class 1 or Class 2 drug carrying a Category A penalty under guidelines adopted by the Association of Racing Commissioners International.


Oxazepam, a human anti-anxiety medication, is classified by RCI as a Class 2 drug with Category A penalties.

O'Neill, as a result, will not be able to be the trainer of record for any horses at the Breeders' Cup.

The RCI's recommended penalties and model rules for a first offense in Category A, which the New York State Gaming Commission apparently did not follow, call for a one-year suspension absent mitigating circumstances, along with a $10,000 fine for the trainer.

Since the negotiations between O'Neill and his attorneys and the New York State Gaming Commission were conducted secretively, there is no way of knowing what, if any, mitigating circumstances may have been involved. O'Neill told his side of the story here.

The stipulated settlement states that not only is O'Neill suspended 45 days, but “every horse is denied the privileges of the grounds and shall not participate in pari-mutuel racing in New York State that is (a) owned or trained by (O'Neill), or by an individual who serves as (O'Neill's) agent or employee during (the) suspension.”

In other words, O'Neill's horses cannot run in New York under his assistant trainer's name, as typically occurs when a trainer is suspended. It is not clear whether that portion of the stipulated agreement is reciprocal in other states.

That may explain why O'Neill-trained 2013 Vosburgh winner Private Zone was transferred to Parx Racing-based trainer Alfredo Velazquez prior to this year's Vosburgh, which Private Zone also won.

But will O'Neill's stable be able to operate in Southern California during his suspension?

Not if the California Horse Racing Board follows its own rules.

On May 24, 2012, after the O'Neill-trained I'll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, the CHRB voted to accept the recommendation of a hearing officer to suspend the trainer for 45 days in a medication complaint dating back to August 2010, when a filly named Argenta tested over the allowable limit for total carbon dioxide (TCO2). In California, that is a Class 3 violation of CHRB rules. The suspension was conveniently served after the Triple Crown's final race, though I'll Have Another was scratched on the eve of the Belmont Stakes with a career-ending injury.

The hearing officer concluded the TCO2 overage was not the result of an intentional act (a.k.a “milkshaking” a horse by giving it a mixture of ingredients that would reduce lactic acid buildup and prevent fatigue). Nonetheless, the hearing officer recommended the 45-day suspension, based on rules that assign absolute responsibility to the trainer for any medication violation.

Included in that ruling were “135 additional days of suspension stayed for 18 months, provided O'Neill commits no further Class 1, 2, or 3 violations, regardless of jurisdiction.”

The New York penalty falls within 18 months of that May 23, 2012, ruling, so it would seem the CHRB has no choice but to suspend O'Neill 135 days, now that the New York case involving a Class 2 drug has been decided.

The CHRB has been non-committal about whether it intends to enforce that portion of the 2012 ruling.

That looming 135-day suspension would lead to another CHRB rule preventing O'Neill's horses from being automatically transferred to an assistant. In fact, O'Neill would have to give up his stalls and remove all of his equipment, tack, and signage should the CHRB decide to enforce section “L” of Rule 1843.3, which reads:

For the purpose of this regulation, licensed trainers suspended 60 days or more, or whose license is revoked, shall be banned from all inclosures under the jurisdiction of the CHRB. In addition, during the period of suspension, or revocation, such trainer shall forfeit all assigned stall space and shall remove from the inclosures all signage, advertisements, training-related equipment, tack, office equipment, and any other property.

Enforcement of the 2012 Argenta TCO2 ruling and CHRB Rule 1843.3 (l) puts O'Neill out of business through May 2, 2015, Kentucky Derby day. Any assistant trainers currently working for O'Neill who want to open their own public stable apparently would have to apply for stalls and purchase their own tack, equipment, webbings, and signage.

What that means for horses like defending Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents is unclear at this time.

Everyone is waiting to see if the other shoe is going to drop.

  • davidinD

    So the spotlight shines on the CHRB; what will happen next? Interesting!

    • Lou Baranello

      Their PP”s are not very good. I expect them to wimp out.

      • davidinD

        Maybe they will run a breakout Beyer on this one?

        • If they ascend to the first positive number on the scale (“1”), I’d be surprised.

  • Greg J.

    Bravo, so hope O’Neill gets the 135 days, like article states, “so it would seem the CHRB has no choice but to suspend O’Neill 135 days,
    now that the New York case involving a Class 2 drug has been decided.” Hope the right thing is done…

  • hairdr90277

    This penalty seems fairly harsh, especially for a false positive due to cross contamination.

    • Greg J.

      Of course it was a false positive, maybe poppy seeds? Smh…

      • hairdr90277

        I find it disheartening people choose to believe the worst of a great team of people when they don’t know themselves for certain.

        • Vegas

          I fully admit I do not know Doug or the team.

          But I believe he learned from Dutrow, and he does have several violations. The Cinco De Mario incident isnt very pleasing to read either.

          Note: whenever I have seen Doug in person he has been very fan friendly and easy to talk with.

          I appreciate your reply.

          • togahombre

            when you say you believe he learned from dutrow what exactly do you mean ?

          • Vegas

            I thought O’Neill trained under Dutrow. I have since deleted my comment. Thanks.

          • The connection was by osmosis.

        • Greg J.

          Answer this, why do the likes of Mr. Graham Motion and Mr. Reid Nagle have ZERO bad test’s, while Mr. O’Neill is at 19 or 20? Is that me believing in the worst or me going by facts?

      • Mr. Ed

        No, that’s what Baffert said when he got a morphine positive.

        • Greg J.

          Yes, but Frankel claimed the same (before Baffert) in 1996 with the poppy-seed bagel defense (and he won).

          • Mr. Ed

            No one said bob was creative. He got his thrown out on a technicality.

          • Barbara Bowen

            Yeah Ed, and no other trainer has ever done that with a split sample or missing sample. If it is a massive overage, trainer says that had to be a mistake, why would I do that? If it is trace amount, trainer says why would I do that, that wouldn’t help!

            Stop trying to defend DO by going after someone smart enough and careful enough to not have a positive while under scrutiny or worse yet, on probation.

      • togahombre

        the chemist that handled the split sample didn’t mention poppy seeds but he didn’t believe the data from nyrwb supported a positive

  • Vegas

    As I tweeted: O’Neill horses should NOT be allowed to run on Breeders Cup Day, and that includes moving the “trainer of record” to Mora. I am sorry this will hurt the owners, but when you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

    Blaming trainers…yeah…they have to be accountable. But let’s get help from the OWNERS. Stop employing drug/needle trainers! You can make a difference! Insist on clean trainers, insist on knowing what is going on with your horse, insist on safety/wellness standards! Or, are you a “win at any cost” owner…….

    My thesis is: we need owners to step up and help in this fight.

    How many more milkshakes or drug violations have to occur before Doug’s owners (and any potential new owners) say “enough is enough, you lost my horses Doug”. Without that stance, is it safe to say the owners support Doug’s practices?

    And then we have good old “its never my fault” Doug. “I wasn’t in New York”. “None of my workers did this”. “We’re innocent”. Too much smoke with Doug……the fire is there too.

    • Greg J.

      Bravo Vegas! Agree withe your every word.

    • forestwildcat

      The horses nor their owners were not found guilty of anything and therefore they should be allowed to compete.

      • Vegas

        In theory, I cannot disagree.
        I’m more interested in finding a way to have owners have more skin in the game. More of a say….more of a concern of what can happen with a trainer who has violations.
        Honestly, what is the point of moving Goldencents to Mora? If Goldencents can run, why the “pretending” that Doug isnt really the trainer?

        • forestwildcat

          In my opinion his horses should be allowed too compete as long as they are under the care of a trainer that is not currently/has never been employed by O’Neill, that would seem fair.

          • togahombre

            thats the rule in ny

          • Vegas

            Seems fair to me.

            But you do see my point about having OWNERS having some responsibility too? Like….If I owned horses, maybe I wouldnt deal with trainers that I though were suspect. That may bite me in the ass later.

            Wish more trainers would take an Augustin Stable approach.

            Thanks.

          • Ryafan

            Vegas, I agree with you partially. Owners should also be held accountable IF AND ONLY IF they are/were informed and aware of what the horse receives. I had the shoe on the other foot once, and it was disturbing, to say the least.I bred a filly that was only pony sized, about eight hundred and fifty pounds, and she had a paralyzed flapper from getting sick as a yearling. However, she loved her job and never failed to pay her own way.She didn’t have a pimple on her otherwise. I was shocked by the bills I received.By this time she had run maybe three times for this trainer, hitting the board but not winning.When I asked the trainer what was going on, he told me supplements. The bill also listed supplements. For six hundred dollars, that is allot of supplementation, imo.It took awhile, but finally I was told she was administered Clenbuterol, which sent me through the roof!WHY administer a medication a horse does not benefit from? I knew the fillies history and had told this trainer about it.The end result was I pulled the filly and sent her to a person I knew was all horseman. The result was a fifteen dollar vet bill for a three month period, two wins and a third.The fifteen bucks was for a Vuitamin B shot.So administering medications in a scattergun method did not work.This trainer stated everything in his barn was administered Clenbuterol.My filly could of swam in that stuff and it would not of helped her.She loved what she did and did not need drugs to do it. Just the opposite. She won two in a row after being taken off of it. So yes, Owners should be held accountable, but how many owners would know enough to investigate “supplements” on the bill?Most owners trust the trainers and vets.

      • Barbara Bowen

        Goldencents should have his stallion contract fully executed before BC and run out of Mandella’s barn;-)

        The owners who use a trainer with that many violations plays to win, now ya gotta pay.

        • Zipchip

          What the hell are you talking about now?! Clearly you have ZERO idea what is going on.

          • Barbara Bowen

            Easy Zippy. It was a joke. Kinda. The horse is going to stand at Spendthrift.

    • Mr. Ed

      “drug/needle trainers”? “milkshakes or drug violations”?
      It helps to know what you’re talking about or have an understanding of the drugs and what an illegal drug is, what a performance enhancing drug is, what the amount or in this case a real understanding of what a trace amount is.
      it would also help to know about those awful “milkshakes.” A milkshake has no drugs in it. Electrolytes, sugar and sodium bicarbonate. Said to cause an elevated level of tco2. All of this goes back to a horse years ago with high tc02 who ran eighth. Also as you don’t know, the board agreed that this was not the cause of a milkshake.
      This was a tiny trace amount, and all the powers to be admit it could not have affected performance. Why is fairness never involved in the public lynching.
      Where were you when Baffert got a morphine positive to scream about it. Where were you when Catalano had ten positives in two months with ten different horses, all ten winning. He got nominal fines and no suspension. Why is everyone so happy to crucify this one guy and ignore others. If you want to throw him out of the game, then start with others who have more violations than him. Baffert, Holledorfer, Sadler, and Assmussen.

      • Vegas

        Mr. Ed,

        Thank you for your reply.

        I should state: It is my OPINION that Doug O’Neill has milkshaked horses. It is also my OPINION that Doug has been found guilty of drug violations (I believe there is evidence to support my opinion on this topic). I should also state: I think Doug is a different trainer than he was 20 years ago. I think he cleaned some things up and matured. Don’t we all? It is my OPINION however, that if I owned racehorses (I do not), Doug would not train them.

        Regarding Baffert (especially) and the other trainers you mentioned (I would include Pletcher), they get NO love from me. Again, if I owned racehorses, none of the men you listed would train my horses. The only thing I can say about Baffert and the other trainers you mentioned, is that they were very nice and personable to me. I asked for their autograph, they gave it to me, they were easy to approach. The more I read about Baffert’s “sudden death” horses, the less I liked. I also have some OPINIONS regarding how Paynter got ill after the Haskell. Let’s just say, I’m not a fan of Thyroid junk.

        Thank you for reading.

        • arazi

          I would rethink what your writing here. I’ve met Doug. He is a very nice person and I spent time with him on the backside and saw no evidence of any wrong doing. He cares for his horses. About the positives. They’re many circumstances on how he can get a positive. About Argenta. I believe she was a bottom level claiming horse and if she was milk shaked it did not enhance her performance. She ran off the board. I’m not here to say these people are saints but NY has it out for Mr. O Neill..

          • Barbara Bowen

            It has always confounded me how such a nice guy – and he is – would be such a target of so frequent subterfuge since his barn is always so innocent, and never sloppy, pushing the envelope, or guilty.

      • Barbara Bowen

        Ed, Baffert gets blasted all the time for anything he does. Why do you say it is only DO?

        Then again, you seem to have an affinity for milkshakes, and plenty gan go wrong when tubing a horse with one.

        • Mr. Ed

          I do not have an affinity for any drugs. There is no drugs in a milkshake. You should know that, and it’s time others learn that.
          When the CHRB was climbing trees and spying for the dreaded milkshake, that’s when I knew they had no idea what they were doing and barking up the wrong tree.

          Baffert gets blasted for anything he does? Yea, 7 dead horses from sudden cardiac death, all of his horses on thyroxine. Two necropsies finding rat poison in the system. Know what that is used for and why? And too bad he got blasted for that, “no wrong doing found”, and O’Neil will hang for a trace amount of a non performance enhancing drug.
          What penalty did Catalano get for 10 positives for an illegal drug, 10 different horses, and all ten winning? No suspension. Yea, it’s all fair as you see it. And learn how to tube a horse properly.

          • Barbara Bowen

            KY and every other state banned milkshakes, not just CA. There ARE no drugs in a milkshake, Ed, not is. Funny how you have no problem with the lynch mobs out for Bob with his 20 med violations (which very agreed, does not include his pals at the CHRB), but defend DO and his 19 hits. It doesn’t matter if I tube a horse Ed, but it might matter if a barn employee got as careless with tubing entry #9 today as they did with trace amounts of illegal meds. But you don’t get to be the one in charge of splitting hairs on degree of violation, Ed. Of course, I am answering someone who thinks that only trainers with white hair use thyroxine, too. It would seem to me it was the inadvertent cocktail in one barn at HWP, not just the thyroxine.

          • Mr. Ed

            Lynch mobs for Bob? You can’t be serious.
            Barb, use some logic and common sense, there should be some leeway with the authorities regarding the type and degree and intention of violation.
            You can’t honestly believe that a singular tco2 should count the same as something far more serious.

          • Barbara Bowen

            Ed, I’m sorry, but you seem confused. That is why med violations are categories and even sub categorized within Class 1,2,3. So no, milk shaking is not as serious as other med positives or overages, but multiple offenses of even a Class 3 will increase the penalty. And yes, on Bob, if you have missed the vicious, reckless, senseless tee off that “fans” launch at him on all social media and blog comment sections, and that influence others, then I suggest you stop taking meds and pay attention. If you want a fair court of opinion, then it has to apply to everyone, not just your own pets.

            Just so you are clear here, DO is about to be nailed for ANOTHER offense within a probationary period, NOT for the original violation in 2010.

          • Mr. Ed

            So you think ” no wrong doing found” in that “investigation” was vicious and senseless teeing off on bob, I don’t get it. And careful Barb, no beef with you other than heated debate, don’t start with the personal insults you won’t like it returned.

          • Barbara Bowen

            You suggested I lack common sense and logic, yet worry about me insulting you? Really? Again, once more, I specified the social media, and “fans” teeing off, not the CHRB that lets almost everyone off the hook, not just Bob. I guarantee you that DO would have trained thru the BC if that violation happened in CA. WHICH IS THE POINT OF THIS STORY.

          • Mr. Ed

            I did not suggest you lacked common sense and logic, If I did I could not have said “use some logic and common sense” suggesting you have it and asking you to use it. But you knew that.

          • Vegas

            Mr. Ed
            Are you saying milkshaking is OK or acceptable???

          • Mr. Ed

            OMG! Stop it. NO, I’m not saying it’s ok or acceptable.
            What I am saying, what I am trying to point out to the uneducated that keep screaming about all the drugs and talking about milkshakes in the same sentence, as I’ve said, a milkshake does not include drugs. So I will say, for me, in my opinion, is that it is not even remotely close to using a performance enhancing drug, or pain killer, or on and on and on. Any more words you want to put in my mouth?

          • Vegas

            If I was putting words in your mouth, I would not have asked you to clarify.
            I think others wanted to know your opinion on milkshakes too.
            Thank you for the reply.

          • Mr. Ed

            Ok here let’s try this, just for fun.
            If all trainers would stop training horses on clenbuterol, banning it, racing on thyroxine, putting on the banned list, stop training on steroids, or other anabolic type drugs, and stop racing on any drugs period, and only use therapeutic drugs on horses out of racing, and if they agree to all that in exchange for using a milkshake then why not. A milkshake has sugar, electrolytes, and sodium bicarbonate (antacid). Nothing illegal, no drugs and it can’t kill a horse. There isn’t a anyone alive that can tell me a milkshake is bad for the horses health. So if they agreed to all the above and more, then take away the drugs and hand out buckets, tubes and a pump. I say exchange all the drugs for milkshakes for all.
            Putting a milkshake in the same rhetoric as prednisone, or pain killers is ridiculous. No go back to what I said originally, just for fun, if…….
            Start testing for EPO or any blood doping drug. That can kill a horse. Why was rat poison found in those necropsies? It’s used to thin sludging blood.
            And so I’m not in favor it, but in the world of it’s all relative, I don’t understand what all the screaming is about. Barking up the wrong tree, and chasing the wrong tail.

          • Barbara Bowen

            Yes it can kill a horse if administered incorrectly. Do you have anything to do with actual horses of any kind? And yes it is performance enhancing, it reduces lactic acid build up. There is no, “oh, ban all flavors but vanilla, it tastes good. and is less filling.” And if you want to say hey, all the others are doing it, too, when defending Doug…then dismount the high horse and realize Bob isn’t by his lonesome either. In fact, I bet some trainers you seem to like better are right there in the same room, with the same vet. Woof.

          • Mr. Ed

            Seriously, give it a rest Barb. You’re trying to argue things that aren’t there. I know what the results of a milkshake are. What I said was…..never mind, you know what I said.
            Then take the milkshakes away and hand out EPO.
            The trainers I like and know, would not stand in the same room with your hero.
            And I was a long time owner and breeder and hung out with and knew and rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in the business, and spent plenty of time on the backside. Who cares.
            Stop making things up as if I said it and arguing something I never said. You’re bigger than that.

          • Barbara Bowen

            He is not my hero. But you clearly have an agenda. I will take the comment about being a breeder and owner as, “No, I’ve never been hands on with a horse except to feed him a carrot.” Was that before or after he was tubed by your trainer’s assistant?

          • Mr. Ed

            Now you’re crossing a line here Barb. I’m being patient and giving you a pass that won’t last long if you keep this rhetoric up, and attempting to disparage me. Don’t be jealous of my history in the horse business.
            Suggesting that any of my horses were “milkshaked” is beyond any dignity you once may have possessed.

          • Barbara Bowen

            You’re funny Ed. Seriously. You write under DeeREff and Mr. Ed on multiple sites and you are anonymous to me. You say the same thing over and over. I have no idea who you are and the last thing I am is jealous of you. Maybe you should tell me who you are so I can reconsider? As for my dignity, I didn’t ever suggest milkshaking was ok in exchange for other med bans, either. Even for fun. Lets do call it a night, though, because once you cross the line into threatening me with your anonymous wrath, I think we need to be done.

          • Mr. Ed

            Now I threatened you? I think I gave you way too much credit. You pretended to put words in my mouth using quotes suggesting I or my trainers milkshaked my horses. Now you want to change what you said. I definitely gave you too much credit.

          • Horse guy

            Ok folks, wether Doug is a good guy or not is irrelevant. And wether mil shaking has drugs or not is also irrelevant. He is and agreed to have administered a class 2 drug that is manufactured for humans. It has no business being in the system of a horse. Sticking to the facts are very important here and it’s animal cruelty plain and simple.

            I wonder how Doug might feel if someone gave Winstral V to his children? I know I’m pushing this example a bit, but it needs to stop and punishing the trainer and owners who have allowed this experimental behavior at the expense of animals and the wagerer are welcome and valid.

          • Mr. Ed

            And that’s the problem, everyone wants to “push the example” to the point of being ridiculous without any knowledge of the type of drug, trace amount or intention. “animal cruelty” is proof of that.

          • Zaffiro

            If you read the published report by the qualified vet on the testing on Doug’s horse, he said it is not a legally correct report and is not evidence. With that report, Doug should be able to sue.

          • NY Owner

            Sorry Mr. Ed. You are completely out of touch. A milkshake is bad for a horses health, it is performance enhancing and therefore, should be put in the same category as all other performance enhancers including drugs and blood doping. I find it frustrating when anyone asserts that we should allow some detrimental practices to continue simply because there are other practices considered to be “worse.”

          • Mr. Ed

            You clearly missed the part, “just for fun”, and also later when I repeated it. I am not for milkshakes. I was making a point. I never said it should be allowed, you knew that. However, I do not think it’s as bad as pain killers, synthetic performance enhancers, and blood doping. I don’t think it is because it’s not.

          • Jane Lutz

            So its OK to let horses die from liver failure, cardiac arrest, colic and internal abscesses because there aren’t drugs in it? Are you that thick? It is a serious performance enhancer with serious side effects. There is nothing good in that cocktail and believe me, there is more than electrolytes, sugar, and baking soda in those jugs. Baking soda can kill a horse (horses can’t burp and baking soda releases a lot of gas which can burst a horse’s stomach) and don’t forget about the DMSO, vodka, and other “non drugs” that get tubbed down a horse’s nose in that hot lunch.

            Why is it so difficult to train a horse as a horse and not as a pharmacy experiment?

          • Mr. Ed

            So I’m asking the honest question, what is in it that is so deadly?

          • Jane Lutz

            You do realize I’ve answered this multiple times, but since you are having a difficult time processing this information, I’ll repeat it again here.

            The Baking Soda is a serious chemical when placed into a horse’s stomach, when this baking soda is combined with carriers (this is where the DMSO comes in, it reduces inflammation and is a carrier) and the usual cheater’s medicine cabinet of vodka, cobalt, chromium, and lord know what else these scamps throw in anymore, and now we have a chemical chain reaction that cannot be stopped until the ingredients are used up.

            These chemicals overload a system, on top of the gas does to the heart and lungs, and can cause systematic organ failure in horses.

            This is a very serious side effect, and a huge reason (besides the performance enhancement) that the Standardbreds have worked so hard to try to eradicate gassers.

            Now, if this doesn’t give you at least a moment to say “hey, maybe pumping gas inducing chemicals into a digestive system NOT designed to handle gas is a bad thing” then nothing will.

            You do realize you can race horses without EPO, steroids, thyroids, hot lunches, pain killers, frog juice, and cobra venom? It happens a lot just not in most “big name barns”.

          • Mr. Ed

            So then I have it right as you say, bottom line it’s the baking soda.

          • Jane Lutz

            Yes and no, baking soda is really dangerous in horses but when baking soda is combined with other chemicals a different chemical chain reaction occurs and this is where the toxicity comes in from.

          • Sheree

            you are now an owner Mr. Ed so shut the hell up! What the hell do you know? Nothing! Go pick on some other issue. Or better yet, buy a racehorse, become and owner, find a trainer and educate yourself.

          • Sheree

            not an owner

          • Mr. Ed

            Thanks for the uneducated input, cheap shot hit and run artist. Don’t be jealous.

          • Mr. Ed

            I was an owner and breeder for many years. Spent plenty of time on the backside. Raced in Kentucky and Florida, all my horses were FLA breds.
            The people in the business I knew would blow your small and fragile mind.

          • Mimi Hunter

            No. But you might want to look up the definition of ‘drug’ – almost anything can be classed as a drug – not just pain killers. Electrolytes have to be within a very narrow range. Too much calcium can cause cardiac problems – that’s why some people have to take calcium channel blockers. Most every chemical on the periodic table can cause some weird symptoms, serious problems, even death. No a ‘milkshake’ probably does not contain medicine[s], but it is no where near the safe thing that you seem to think it is.

          • Mr. Ed

            Never said it was a good thing, said it is not as bad as the others I mentioned. So now everyone wants to say I’m for it, I condone it, no, didn’t say that. I stand by what I said, keep the conversation to what is real and what I actually said.

          • Mimi Hunter

            No I’m just trying to show what in a milkshake is so deadly. If I understand how they work on the electrolyte and Ph levels in the body. They are kicking the alkaloid [base] levels up so more lactic acid can be buffered or neutralized so the muscles don’t get tired as fast. Messing with chemical, electrolytes, & Ph is real touchy – very tiny amounts one way or another can kill just as dead as any of the other things used, and likely with less warning.

          • Mr. Ed

            Thanks for the information. Your information and explanation is more helpful than the other gal who keeps wanting to argue with me saying I’m defending the use of a milkshake. Not even close to what I said but she keeps after it. Oh well.
            Anyway, I always understood what it does, but not how it was achieved. Thanks.

          • Mimi Hunter

            No problem. It’s kinda what I do here, or try to anyway

          • Beach

            Mimi is right–not to treat Ed like he’s dumb but I’ll provide another example, if you don’t mind. It’s like the old “titration” problems you used to do in high school chemistry class. Acid/base balance–BUT, in a homeostatic(Read, “It likes to be STABLE and EVEN”) organism like a mammal, say you would turn the litmus paper too light or dark the wrong color–but then all of a sudden, it’s DEADLY.

            IMHO, the “feeding thyroid” thing, ie making the animal hyperthyroid for performance reasons is SOOOO unethical it is GROSS–yet the milkshaking is probably even worse. Just sayin’.

          • Jane Lutz

            No, Mr Ed just refuses to acknowledge that milkshakes are not only performance enhancing but that they can be a very deadly to the horse. Milkshaking has been linked to severe liver toxicities, internal abscesses, colic, and sudden cardiac arrest.

            The dangers of milkshaking and how to help eradicate it has been around for over 20 years. The Standardbred industry has not only pre and post level blood testing but a wonderful device called “the black box”. It is like taking a horse’s temperature and it registers the horses TCO2 level. Each horse has a baseline and any test either box or blood that comes below or above that horse’s threshold gets a trip to the judge’s office.

            I watched a lot of TBs look like they have had entirely too many “hot lunches” and it is really obvious that TB racing doesn’t want to stop it as all it will take is a few black boxes in the saddling paddock to get rid of the gassers.

          • Mr. Ed

            OK Jane, I’m listening. As a milkshake contains nothing that is toxic, and no drugs, then please tell me what is in it that is do deadly.
            I’m being sincere and honest. Is it the electrolytes, the sugar, or the sodium bicarbonate?

          • Jane Lutz

            It is not just those 3 ingredients and yes, the baking soda is a very deadly thing to play around with, especially since horses can’t burp. The baking soda is bad enough on it’s own, then factor in the DMSO, vodka, and whatever else these barnyard chemists decide to feed the horse, and there is where the chemical chain reaction start and the horse is always the loser.

            This is a toxic hot lunch and the amount of damage to the liver is absolutely incredible. That is if you did this right and didn’t over do the baking soda and the horse’s stomach explodes because horses can’t burp and all that gas has to go somewhere. Enough of these hot lunches and the horse looks like Uncle Mo.

            So don’t try to be all high and mighty by saying a hot lunch isn’t performance enhancing nor beneficial to the horse, cause that dog don’t hunt.

          • Mr. Ed

            Stop with the name calling, I ask you an honest and sincere question and gave you your chance.
            Also, I never said it didn’t enhance performance, I know what a milkshake does, but you knew that. I also have indeed said I don’t think it’s as bad as …..well you also knew that as well.
            So the bottom line ,it’s the antacid that you feel creates the acid that causes all the deadly toxic reaction?

          • Jane Lutz

            Please stop calling baking soda an antacid, that is not what it is being used for, but you know that, so keep up the false face.

            The baking soda starts a vicious chain reaction, the DMSO carries this chain reaction through out the rest of the body with particular onus on the digestive system, liver, and heart.

            This does absolutely nothing beneficial to the horse thus it needs to be dealt with harshly. Again, if TB racing was so worried about gassers, then there would be a black box in every paddock judge’s pocket.

            So I’m assuming you are pro milkshaking cause it’s just an antacid.

          • Mr. Ed

            Now you lost me as you continue to say things I didn’t say, and have repeated so you would get it right. I asked an honest question and keep with the name calling, assumptions and things I didn’t say.
            Ok then, bottom line, it’s the baking soda.
            Never assume anything Jane Lutz, then argue against something that was never said, it just makes you look, well you know.

          • Jane Lutz

            I have yet to call you any name, so stop with the make believe butt hurt. You by your own words said milkshaking as it carries no drugs is OK when compared to EPO your words.

            You are the one who is defending milkshaking, I’m defending the horse. Now a simple deduction says if you are defending it as a “lesser of evils” then by your defense of it, means you are pro. You also said that nobody in your lifetime could prove milkshaking was bad, that is a giant pile of what the cow leaves behind.

            Dozens of studies (Cornell, New Bolton, Auburn, LSU) have shown that the ingredients in milkshakes can cause massive organ failure, heart failure, liver toxicity, and sudden cardiac arrest. If this is not enough for you to reexamine your position on the harmlessness of milkshaking, then I really hope you never own a racehorse.

          • Mr. Ed

            Wow, you just won’t stop. Not defending the use of a milkshake. Never said that. But don’t let that stop you from writing yet another book about how I love milkshakes. Actually I do love milkshakes, haven’t had one on a long time. You keep writing, I’m going to Dairy Queen.

        • greg

          Baffert = EPO 1st to greatly enhance red blood cells, than Warfarin (Coumadin) to thin the blood out or it’s too viscous, the heart attacks are caused by this combo and the blood getting too thin to be pumped thru the body. BTW, Coumadin is used for rat poison for the reason above

          • Barbara Bowen

            I will ask this with the preface that I am genuine with the question. Why do you think that only one barn, and his B barn at that at HWP, was the barn that incurred the spate of deaths? I have never been able to figure that out except to think that there was a mistake made. I know about the theory on the rat poison. Are you proposing that Thyroxine was not part of the equation?

          • greg

            I am not sure how BB separated his horses between SA & HWP, however I am aware of 3-4 specifics at his SA barn, also 2-3 of the horses were owned by Kaleem Shah, possibly he stabled all of Shah’s horses together with 1-2 specific grooms, that I can’t say with any actual knowledge. As for the thyroxine (commonly known as Synthroid) the tabs for humans come in strengths as small as 0.25mg and increase on increments of .25, so fractions of a milligram, there are a number of possibilities, as simple as an employee dropping a bottle into a large pile of hay bales (the tabs are smaller than your babyfinger nail) by ACCIDENT and having them ingested, to something more sinister, but strongly believe they had zero to do with deaths or performance, a total zero

          • Mr. Ed

            Baffert admitted in his own words, that 100% of all his horses were on thyroxine during the time he was racking up those cardiac failures. Probably a combination of things, as you point out, add the thyroxine, and also add the training on clenbuterol.

          • Mr. Ed

            Coumadin is the main ingredient in rat poison, and as you say used to thin the blood after blood doping.
            Two necropsies, at least one known to be Baffert’s had rat poison in the system. They went further, saying it was not any type of rat poison around the barn. This was stated in the report.
            Every wonder why Paynter went off with no one but his groom left to tend to him, and at the center could find nothing wrong except a high red blood count. He downward spiraled from there. Just wondering out loud.

      • Jane Lutz

        Mr Ed I’m going to assume you have no experience with milkshakes ie “hot lunches” otherwise you wouldn’t say they are not performance enhancing and it is also extremely dangerous to a horse’s health.

        While there may not be drugs in these jugs, the chemical chain reaction does have a performance enhancing properties and horses have horrific side effects with problems of liver failure, serious digestive issues, colic, and even death.

        The Standardbred racing industry found milkshaking to be so detrimental to racing they initiated serious protocols to find and punish gassers. The Black Box which gets a baseline for each individual horse is used both pre and post race to judge TCO2 levels, if a horse is above or below his/her normal threshold, then that horse and trainer get a vacation.

        Horses were dying by the dozens back before testing, and how many TBs have had some questionable illnesses or suffered catastrophic heart failure?? So yes, milkshaking is a performance enhancer but at a very great cost to the horse.

        No, we need the cheaters out of racing, and we need to keep cheaters from profiting off of cheating. We need to punish owners as well as trainers and keeping horses in cheater’s barns.

        • Mr. Ed

          There is no evidence that when those horses were dying with the proliferation of drugs being used that you conveniently say it was a milkshake.
          Notice I said for fun, not for them, but not as bad as so many other things was my point.
          Start testing and demanding they stop blood doping.

          • Jane Lutz

            Again, if you say that milkshaking is not as bad, then you are really not fully informed of the side effects of milkshaking or you are defending those who do milkshake by trying to deflect it’s “not as bad”.

            No, it is bad, because milkshaking can cause holes in the horse’s stomach which let acid and food leak out causing internal abscesses which can go septic and kill horses. Milkshaking has also put severe pressure on the heart and liver causing toxicity of the liver. Horses have also died from sudden cardiac arrest traced back to milkshakes.

            There is no reason why TBs do not test properly using blood and Black Boxes to detect pre and post race levels. This has been routine in Standardbred racing for over 20 years, so this makes me think the TBs are not serious about stopping this problem.

          • Ryafan

            Great point. Also, a horse does not have to be “milkshaked” via tubing, these ingredients can be a food or water additive and administered in that manner.The administration of the Thyroid medication really disturbs me. Recently, a friend’s horse was diagnosed with Cushings, (most common use for Thyroid med.) She sent the mare to clinic for blood levels to be monitored. I question if any of these horses who were blanket fed the Thyroid meds ever had any monitoring of its blood done. This medication has the potential to do great harm.
            I believe in a drug free no medication on race day at all, personally, on racedays.If the industry would stop all the in fighting and band together to have every single horse tested before and after a race it would certainly deter cheaters.Most tracks only test the top three and a random horse per race. Even if the samples were drawn but only a few sent to an actual Lab at random from every horse in any race it would deter cheaters. No one would know what sample gets sent in and what sample does not get sent in they would be hesitant to cheat. Test them ALL.
            And I am not picking on O’Neil when I say that a medication overage IS illegal. I think you can compare it to a speeding ticket. If you go over the speed limit you are breaking the law, period.If you get to many speeding ticket points, you get your drivers license taken away. The question of who is libel I cannot answer. Is it the Vet who administers the medication, or perhaps the groom? Maybe the horse itself for a slow metabolism, or the trainer who knows the horse would be better served by time off vs. meds? This is why I believe horses should not race on medication at all. Eliminate this problem all together with a zero tolerance.

          • Mimi Hunter

            Electrolyte imbalances are as deadly or even more deadly than the medicines you call drugs. Several doses of baking soda can and does often kill. An overdose of aspirin changes the body Ph to acidic, and that is what kills. As for being a nice guy….? I draw the line at drugging horses. As for not having anything suspicious around his barn area – stupid he is not. And it isn’t that the horses were dying – it’s that they STOPPED dying when an investigation was mentioned.

          • Mr. Ed

            You’re talking about Baffert of course.

          • Mimi Hunter

            Among others. Another trainer on your list above admitted to using thyroid meds on every horse in his barn. If you really want to have some ‘fun’, go back over the past year or so and find how many horses died within 2 weeks of retiring, and from some pretty well known barns. All of a sudden horses are being retained at the barn to be ‘let down’ from racing. What is the most common sign of withdrawal ? Vomiting. Horses can’t do that so their stomachs explode.

          • mdwalk

            The Effect of Baking Soda in the BodyBaking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, is a well-known external remedy. It can be used for problems ranging from acne to insect bites. It helps to balance pH levels and has a cleansing, softening effect on the skin. What about drinking baking soda in water? What are the health benefits of ingesting bicarbonate of soda and what are the health risks?

            Antacid: When ingested, baking soda helps to balance body pH. In cases where the body is too acidic, it has an alkalizing effect. For this reason it may be taken as an antacid, relieving heartburn, acid indigestion and an upset stomach due to heartburn and indigestion, to use baking soda for heartburn relief use:1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
            4 ounces of water

            Dissolve the baking soda completely and then drink every two hours. Do not have more then seven one-half teaspoon servings within any twenty-four hour period. To use properly be sure all the baking soda is dissolved in water and do not consume on a full stomach. Do not take if you are taking other antacids or prescription drugs or if you have high blood pressure.
            Gout: Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when there is an accumulation of uric acid in the blood, tissue and urine. As drinking dissolved baking soda can balance your body’s pH level, some doctors may recommend bicarbonate of soda to help address the uric acid build-up. As with using it for heartburn, to use as a remedy for gout, the baking soda must be completely dissolved. You should talk to your doctor about proper doses, as there are side effects of drinking baking soda in water regularly.

          • Mimi Hunter

            And your point is what? I basically said the same thing. What caused the rash of deaths of recently retired horses last year was NOT baking soda. It was something – known or unknown – that causes withdrawal symptoms. Known substances can be tested for but not usually when the horses are being ‘let down’. Unknown substances can’t be tested for, and as soon as one is identified and a test is developed, it moves to the ‘known’ list. Then something or several somethings will take it’s place, and the cycle continues. In all too many barns the horses are only as good as their chemist

      • Ben van den Brink

        It is not too late, to go after the other names named in your last sentence.

    • Nayrod

      I agree but you will get slack for saying the truth. If you’ve worked behind the scenes, we all know what gets done. Too bad b/c he’s really a good trainer.

    • greg

      The owners are fully aware of what he’s doing, but as long as they win they don’t care. I’ve said for several years that if a trainer is suspended for a drug violation NO horse in his care can run for anyone anywhere as long as the trainer is suspended. Every trainer I know says if that were the case none would cheat. Owners would than stop rewarding the cheaters with horses because who wants to pay training bills when you can’t run??

  • Lynn

    A New York a post race test of what could have been an environmental or human
    containment brings down a trainer even when the tiny amount found had no
    effect on the horse (see Commission’s own report). To put it another way, a
    picogram, that’s 0.000,000,000,001 of one gram of a substance can causes
    a suspension and fine. Now California gets there chance to pile on with additional suspension and fine. All of this for a trace of something that no one has proven it had any consequence of an action on the outcome of the race. Alan Foreman attorney and Vice Chair of The R.M.T.C. said these multiple violations were going to be just like speeding tickets.

    • Ben van den Brink

      Zero is nada, nul, nichts. Any amounts is affecting the outcome of an race, one way or the other.

      CHRB should follow their own rules.

    • hairdr90277

      I see your point. Additionally, it’s just downright sad people choose to see the worst in Team O’Neil when they weren’t there at the time to be an eyewitness…

    • Mr. Ed

      Agree. And now this piling on comes as a result of a tco2 eleveated level with a horse than ran eighth years ago. All because of milkshake rumors. The board agreed that it was not even caused by a milkshake. And everyone screams. Of all the things to be concerned about on the backside, a milkshake isn’t one of them. No drugs in a milkshake. But hey, let’s ignore all the others and logic and common sense be danged, fairness ignored. I don’t get it.

      • Barbara Bowen

        No, you don’t. It is about stopping everyone from taking an edge, and trying to level the playing field to horsemanship, not vet bills.

        • Mr. Ed

          It should be about that, this is not about that.

    • raysghost

      Interesting, isn’t it Lynn, that John Shirrefs and Graham Motion and Jack van Berg just never seem to have even that .000000 etc. amount

    • “A New York a post race test…”
      I pray that the testers are more competent than your editor.

  • Mike Smith

    Always hear the ‘one picogram is a billionth of a gram argument’ used for rationalizing medication positives which are perceived to be ‘environmental contamination’. At what level are some of these potent substances pharmacologically active in the horse. If you think that science has developed those answers than you are either an RMTC worshipper or completely uninformed. Come to think of it, those two types are one and the same. The research hasn’t been done on virtually any of these compounds, consequently the testing is always blamed and the research continues to be unfunded. Just saying……

    • Lynn

      One picogram is not a billionth of a gram, a picogram is one trillionth of a gram, which is orders of magnitude smaller.

    • Dr. Alex Harthill, who knew a thing or two about doping a horse, once told me that most people would be surprised to learn how little of any drug was required to alter the performance of a racehorse.

      • Connie

        I believe this unequivocally. I believe drugs don’t just alter their performance, but also can alter their brain chemistry and make them appear “crazy.” I just looked to see if Dr. Harthill left us his wisdom to read and learn. So disappointed to discover he did not find time to write. “A relaxed horse will run better than a stimulated horse.” Impossible to convince some trainers that this is true. So gratifying to see my perspective validated by someone so esteemed when well-regarded others think I am full of horse****. Thanks once again, Mr. Irwin. You made my morning with your recollections of Dr. Harthill.

      • Beach

        Considering how little of some meds it takes to affect humans, either for the good or the worse, I have no trouble whatsoever believing this.

  • Needles

    The CHRB is a joke. They will do nothing. Just watch.

    • terry dodson

      Why would you run your horse on a sedative? I do not know effects on horses but I don’t see human athletes running on a derivative of valium.

      • terry dodson

        Now, if your horse had suffered a meltdown the day before and it had not dissipated from system, that would make sense.

      • Mr. Ed

        I don’t believe the drug is classified as a sedative. But none the less, let’s say a horse was given a sedative after being put on the plane to ship. Days later the horse runs and they find a tiny trace amount in the system. Wouldn’t logic and common sense have some play in the matter? Not saying this happened. But it has happened, and horses shipping too close to race day have had to be scratched because of it.

      • Dr. Alex Harthill, who knew a thing or two about racing, would say that a horse which is relaxed will run better than one that is stimulated.

      • jord

        I know of at least one positive test where valium was prescribed as an appetite stimulant.

  • HogHater

    Won a Kentucky Derby & won $5 million with Lava Man, wears funny hats & grows rally beards, is a great interview, went to school with the former president of Santa Anita and has many wealthy & popular owners. Does this sound like the type of trainer that the CHRB is going to hand a death sentence to? Doubt it.

    • Mr. Ed

      More importantly, why do you think he deserves a “death sentence”.

      • HogHater

        I don’t think that the CHRB will force Doug to “give up his stalls and remove all of his equipment, tack, and signage” and basically put him out of business for months. Those sanctions, combined with his current bad run in So. Cal, would in my opinion be a death sentence. Doug is a good guy, good for the game and not deserving of these types of penalties.

        • Apologist. Nice try. Ask Rick Arthur if he agrees with you.

        • Bellwether

          ‘The Game’ has your ‘Hog Hanging’!!!…

      • Peyton

        He deserves it because the regulations which govern the sport in CA say if you meet this criteria or that criteria (and he does) then you SHALL be penalized THIS. Not ” you COULD be or MAY be penalized THIS or THAT.”

        • Mr. Ed

          If you understood this mess even a little bit I would listen. You don’t.

      • Bellwether

        No death sentence just put him in ‘The Boat’ with Dickie Doo Dutrow and show the Nation they FINALLY are fed up with his BS!!!…

        • Mr. Ed

          I’ll help you put him in the boat with Dutrow, if you are willing to put the others with more drug violations in the boart with him
          Go get Baffert, Catalano, Assmussen, Sadler, and Hollendorfer and put them in the boat too. Oh, you’re not willing to do that, just Doug then. Yea, that’s fair.

  • togahombre

    there’s a dividing line with most of these type cases when it comes to public comment; on one side are those that want get to the bottom of it, without all the half truths, blowhard opinions and rhetoric, mainly just to understand what exactly is going on, on the other side there seems to be some that have this sadistic need to periodically have someone spinning in the wind just to suit there fancy, who’s who?

    • Yes, there is a dividing line between those that are sick and tired of reading b. s. excuses and those recruited to raise questions about contamination, bad police and the rotten press.

      • togahombre

        mr irwin, your a popular promoter for cleaning up the medication fiasco this sport is wallowing in, i’m not offering you any b.s. excuses,but if you read enough of this,either levine got screwed or oneill oneill has been accused of everything but shooting lincoln, youv’e been involved with media long enough to know where this leads, what do you think of 45 days for a class 2 positive( after considering a full history of priors), i thought that was a little unusual, especially when they handed bruce levine 30 days(9 stayed) for a class 3,either levine got screwed or oneill walks on water, then you read the affidavit from the chemist that ran the split sample and he seemed less than satisfied with the initial positive, should the cheaters be punished? absolutely, should the punishment fit the infraction? yes again,should these proceedings be expedited, yes,but also they should be fair and as open as possible, if you want a clean game but question the fairness and competence of the authorities that enforce the rules where does that leave you, for better or worse, sorry about euro charlene, her last was huge

        • I think each horseman needs to be treated on a case by case basis. Doug O’Neill has failed to internalize the lessons that he should have learned. He needs a long, long vacation. Then and only then will he have a chance to properly place into perspective what he wants his role to be in this game of ours. He has been on a treadmill way to long. He needs to hop off, spend some time away from the game and gain a new, badly needed perspective on what is and what is not important. Be very interesting if he gets that extra 135 days to see which trainers his owners send horses. Odds-on they will send them to the horsemen most people classify as cheaters. These enablers are not helping Doug or anybody else. It’s time to clean house California. The world is watching. Don’t screw this one up.

          • togahombre

            sir, i’m glad you didn’t choose to have him fit for a ball and chain w/a sledgehammer chaser, tough to properly solve problems without an open mind

          • Ron Crookham

            Must be nice to be above reproach Mr. Irwin. Of course, I’m sure you never made any mistakes,or made statements that would put a bad light on this sport. Those who live in glass houses…..

  • gus corona

    That’s why people call him DRUG O’NEILL! I’ts time for him pay in full for all his cheating ways!

    • Mr. Ed

      You actually think this tiny amount was an intention to cheat. All people like you do is regurgitate the cute rumors you hear and think it’s funny.
      Throw him out then, let’s ban him from the sport, but wait, first you have to throw out the other big name trainers with more drug violations than O’Neil.
      So start with these, Baffert, Assmussen, Sadler, Hollendorfer, and Catalano.
      So please post that you would like those bums thrown out of the sport, and when you do that then and only then can you say it about O’Neil.
      Of course you won’t do that. No guts Gus.

      • Barbara Bowen

        How about this Ed. The next time any one of them is careless enough to get popped for a trace amount of any illegal Class 1,2,3 substance – they’re gone? Or at least suffer the same consequences that DO is about to face. Hey, Asmussen has been gone before for six moths with Blasi training. Mora will open his own stable entity or hire a front man to assist, “buy” DO equipment, and get some new webbings, and everyone is good to go.

        • Mr. Ed

          So it’s fair we do that by starting now? Of course.

          • Barbara Bowen

            Um, yeah. If you want to go back in time, you won’t have enough entries to fill races for several months.

          • Mr. Ed

            Well that’s true. Someone said anyone with multiple infractions should not be allowed to enter horses in the Breeders Cup. I said, well I guess there will be no Breeders Cup this year or any year.
            For me, it does matter what happened yesterday, last month, last year, and years ago. I remember when Bobby was racking them up, and no one cared. I cared, and I care what he still does and most are blind to it.

  • Sosillyfilly

    While those of you are dancing in delight at this potential, horrible turn of events there are 60 employees and their families whose lives would change overnight. How foolish and hateful you all sound. I, am not dancing as Doug is my boss. Oh and save your slings and arrows, not interested in your pious, judgment.

    • So the valuable employees will be unable to find work? Once those stalls are filled with new horses from new trainers, others will have those jobs, so the employment rate will stay about the same.

    • Peyton

      So Mr. Doug risk putting all his ‘family of workers’ out of work when he allowed these violations? He gambled with your future without asking you? It’s as if he viewed you as no more than pawns in his game.

      • ponyrider

        Exactly my thoughts. Thank you.

    • Good to see someone declare an interest in the matter.

    • ponyrider

      It would be a lot more respectable if Mr. O’Neill admitted guilt for something. The playing stupid (I had to google the drug) is getting really old. Many of his infractions may be situations that were out of his hands, but I don’t believe for a second he’s innocent of all charges. Of course you are going to defend him, he’s your means of income.

  • Jay Stone

    Until the racing industry is under control of one regulatory agency this will continue to happen. You can’t possibly have 38 regulatory bodies trying to control an industry that functions in different states. One group of rules that apply to everyone and not having careers ended because certain trainers are more popular than others. If a trainer is personable should have no bearing on his being guilty or innocent of a charge. Dutrow is seemingly held up as the gold standard of cheaters when the public talks about drug usage. While he is guilty of some drug overages he certainly didn’t deserve the punishment he received and if he kept his mouth shut he’d be back training by now. Within social media there is a large following that wants to hang every trainer for every positive. Most don’t even know what most of these drugs are or what they can or can’t do. Maybe it’s time for the public to be enlightened to the functions of these drugs so they won’t want every trainer hung for every positive. The supposed trainers that give no medication don’t really exist as they use many permitted drugs to help their horses perform. The anti Lasix owners and trainers use this medication daily. Until there is a regulatory agency controlling the sport and a zero medication stance there is going to be the mass confusion that exists on this forum and elsewhere.

  • Richard C

    CHRB officials are probably squirming around…..and trying to find a loophole in a penalty that was for possibly earmarked for public consumption, only.

    • 1,000 percent correct. They know the entire nation is watching them this time, so that could impact any final decision. This will tell the country whether California wants to remain an island unto itself or join the rest of North America in its battle to clean up racing.

      • Bellwether

        And yours to Mr. B…

    • PEyton

      I think you are right about the reg being for public consumption. It sounds like a political wording which would instill confidence that the board will do what is necessary to protect the public and prevent the game from being polluted by cheaters.

    • Bellwether

      1 of your up guest votes is from ‘The Bell’ Baby!!!…

  • Carlo Ara

    Let’s not forget the other BIG cheater in SO CAL racing. JEFF MULLINS….This is the guy who said “Horse racing gamblers” are idiots.

  • Good job Ray. It is about time somebody wrote about this in full. It will be highly interesting to see if the California Horse Racing Board follows its own rules or if they wimp out, as has been their sad history. Is it going to be another round of “Let’s Make a Deal” or it is going to be “Law and Order,” that is the question. Odds indicates that “Let’s Make a Deal” is on the boards, based on history and the tight-lipped, no-action as seen from Sacramento so far.

    • Horse Guy

      Good point Barry. I’m also interested to see if any of the California track owners decide to take away the stalls of these cheating trainers. Do they have the courage to act in spite of the CHRB?

  • Jay

    Doug is another individual who has danced near the flames for years. It is probably time he suffers the third degree burn, but I doubt this C.H.R.B. has the fortitude to enforce its own rules.

    • Extremely succinct and well stated. Unfortunately, everything you wrote is accurate.

  • Leslie

    I’m wondering who is doing the math on the probation period? There was an 18 month probation starting with the ruling date in May 2012, this ruling came in Sept of 2014, more than 2 years since the first ruling. If you are choosing to do the math according to the date of the alleged infraction instead of the ruling shouldn’t it be fair to consider the infraction date of the TCO2 was in 2010, not 2012? By my math no additional penalty should be served. Not taking sides here, just doing the math!

    • Nice try apologist. Figures don’t lie, but liars figures.

  • val

    By that logic everyone should have positives all the time

    • Lynn

      “By that logic everyone should have positives all the time”
      The racing rules are outdated with today’s modern analytical chemistry. Just several years ago post race samples were rarely tested to anything smaller than a microgram (one millionth of one gram). Our testing is at least a million times more sensitive now. Today a post race sample is generally (If the state(s) funds their lab properly) tested to the common limit of the picogram level, that is 0.000,000,000,001 of one gram).

      Zero Tolerance is a myth. Any and all horses, that eat hay, grass, feed, drink water, breath air, get a bath, etc.; at the picogram level will be positive for something. It would be the same if any human is tested. Many humans, for example pilots are tested daily, however the FAA sets reasonable thresholds and environmental contaminants are taken into consideration. The RMTC and are way behind the curve.

      • val

        No offense but you sound like a broken record

  • June 2nd, 2013: Crime committed.
    Date Crime Detected: ?
    14 months go by: Life proceeds normally for the accused.
    Early October 2014: Finally, justice.
    Explain this to someone who knows nothing about racing. Go ahead. Give it a shot.

    • Lynn

      “Explain this to someone who knows nothing about racing. Go ahead. Give it a shot.”

      RMTC Vice Chair & Attorney Alan Foreman. He makes the rules and laws as a regulator, then works the other side of the law; in the case of Hall of Fame Trainer Jonathan Sheppard, he defended him for several post race tests.

      You can’t make stuff like this up.

      • Next year, he’ll angle to be declared the winning Derby trainer.
        At least we could trust George Foreman.

  • peeping tom

    It sounds like it’s very easy for any horse in any barn area to accidentally pick up this or any other foreign substance into their system. Otherwise, horses would have to be living in a vacuum tube. It’s common sense to believe that almost all other horses and trainers have this result but why aggressive selective enforcement against only one trainer? I will never believe that other horses did not accidentally injested some junk into their system with the authorities looking the other way after finding this out. This really breeds disrespect toward the unethical stewards and racing commissions. It’s really sad.

  • Nobackhand

    he should get additional days for wearing that hat.

    • Bellwether

      That’s what we call a “Go To Hell Hat” in Virginia!!!…How far did Doug chase that GUY to secure that LID???…U R 2 Funny NBH!!!…

  • hype22redux

    Heres my take ,the rise of the new trainer is very obvious,their sudden ascension is down right baffling,in order to understand doug oneil one must go back to the beginning of his career he would claim horses and never work a horse,a work came only to satisfy the rules on a length of how long he could go without a listed stake or in 2 year old races the required amount to get them on the track,then several yearslater when questions arose about his quick rise in the training ranks people started to get curious then like ted west and mr Harrington who eventually got caught (and by the way never regained their stature) questions arose,he deflected those charges successfully learning how to navigate the legal battle( just the fact that the behind the door deal is not made completely public speaks volumes)and the severity of the plea with deal no substitute trainer says a lot….now we await CHRB and what becomes of this ….my opinion is he should be fined and given a longer sentence not the one I think he’ll get which if my guess is right will run concurrently here in CA…his body of misdeameanors is growing and now they have reached felony proportions and racing needs to send a message NO MORE….as a player I would welcome his long term banishment, enough beating around the bush and clean this mess up

    • peeping tom

      Then all trainers whose horses were to be found with a foreign, illegal substance in their system should be charged and similarly disciplined. I will never believe that this does not happen to many, many more trainers including high profile, public relations type trainers. Why aren’t they brought down to the carpet??? It defies all logic to believe otherwise, because any horse can accidentally acquire a banned substance in their system. It’s selective enforcement. P.S.There is nothing wrong with navigating the legal system.

      • hype22redux

        A rule is a rule plain and simple,follow them or suffer the consequence

  • Bellwether

    One trainer that comes to mind in all this cheating/animal abuse hanging a dark cloud over ‘The Game’ is Jeff Mullins…Looks like he has cleaned his act up as he knew his next infraction of any kind was going to put him in the boat with Dickie Doo Dutrow….

  • LeeRussellPark

    Ray, et. al: an important note of clarification:

    Mr. O’Neill received a penalty in excess of ARCI recommendations. Mr. O’Neill stipulated
    that he violated a rule restricting the administration of “a benzodiazepine drug,” not to a direct administration of the parent drug Oxazepam.

    The ARCI penalty class for benzodiazepine drugs is PENALTY CLASS B.

    Oxazepam (which would be penalty class A) is also a metabolite of less serious drugs which are all PENALTY CLASS B. The pertinent language in the Stipulation:

    “the horse ‘Wind of Bosphorus,’ trained by respondent, competed in the 2nd race at Belmont Park on June 2, 2013 with a benzodiazepine drug, containing and/or capable of metabolizing into oxazepam, having been administered within one week of the scheduled post time of its race …”

    New York did not choose to ignore the ARCI guidelines. The Commission imposed a $10,000
    fine (exceeding the ARCI guidelines), a 45-day suspension (at the upper level of the ARCI recommendation), and another 45-days suspended (exceeding the ARCI guideline).

    The recommended ARCI penalty for one CLASS B violation within 365 days is a suspension from 15 to 60 days and a fine from $500 to $1000.

    In other words, New York was able to obtain a greater penalty than what ARCI recommends.

    • togahombre

      can you explain dr barkers contention of an inadequate blood sample for the split sample testing and his opinon of the data from your initial positive

    • RayPaulick

      Thanks, Lee. As we discussed by telephone after you posted this comment, the ruling on the NY State Gaming Commission website refers to the suspension resulting from “the finding of the drug Oxazepam.” Oxazepam is a Class 2 drug with Category A penalties, according to ARCI. That is as I reported.

      The stipulated settlement refers to Wind of Bosphorus being administered “with a benzodiazepine drug, containing and/or capable of metabolizing into oxazepam.” Both Benzodiazepine and Oxazepam are listed by ARCI as Class 2 drugs with Category A penalties.

      If NY State Gaming Commission is classifying Oxazepam or Benzodiazepine as a Category B penalty drug (because Diazepam, or Valium, is a Class 2/Category B drug), its published ruling and stipulated settlement are purposely or accidentally wrong, misleading, or vague.

      Breeders’ Cup officials have interpreted the stipulated settlement and ruling as defining this as a violation of a Class 2/Category A rules, based on ARCI classifications. That violation triggered the Convicted Trainers Rule, which includes Class 1 drugs or Class 2 drugs with a Category A penalty.

      http://www.breederscup.com/media-center/press-releases/2014-10-03

      • togahombre

        thanks ray

  • ponyrider

    In regard to all those claiming “false positives”, I did a quick search and grabbed a few violation rulings. I only had time to read through the following which all included a fine and/or suspension. A reasonable person would not deduce a false positive theory for all of these. Do your homework, then use common sense.

    5/2706 – Hollywood Park – CA – pre-race overage of TCO2
    1/17/08 – Santa Anita – CA – pre-race overage of TCO2
    4/24/10 – Hawthorne – IL – post-race overage of TCO2
    8/25/10 – Del Mar – CA – post-race overage of TCO2
    6/12/13 – Belmont – NY – post-race positive of Oxazepam

  • Greg J.

    Mr. Graham Motion and Mr. Reid Nagle, neither has EVER had a bad test, O’Neill at 19 or 20 now, but he is such a nice guy and they all must be mistakes, please…

    • Mr. Ed

      It’s 19, and that is not good, far from it. But Baffert, Hollendorfer, Sadler, Assmussen, and Catalano have more. That’s just in the top 20 trainers. Just saying.

  • Bigrich

    I think the problem is that CHRB will do nothing about this, they are good at writing the rules, but following them is another story, Baffert is to big he does what he wants, and if get caught they look the other way, same with O’Neill, and all the big name trainers, yes the sad part is the owners do not get involved, which we should, and yes we should start using clean trainers, But owners want to win and that’s why they go to Baffert and O’Neill to train. CHRB needs to crack down hard on these trainers, but they won’t it will hurt Calif. racing if those trainers are gone. Send the message CHRB suspend these trainers follow your rules that you have written and maybe Calif. racing will be clean again

  • Flag Is Up

    Does anyone one here know who the current Stewards are at Santa Anita? I can’t find the info at the Santa Anita or CHRB site.

  • janna jay

    This
    drug, Oxazepam, could have been
    prescribed for one of the grooms, or anyone in that barn who was having
    problems with substance abuse – it’s an anti-anxiety medication – Ok – here’ a big “what if . . .
    .” What if one of the barn help was on this drug and in the process of
    taking it – accidentally dropped it in the water, feed, on the floor .
    . . .then couldn’t find it and walked off. Who knows. . . .lots of
    substance abusers or former substance abusers work in the barns. I ran a TB training barn in Ocala over 30 years ago and saw, first hand, problems some of those in the barns had. Now, I deal
    with 74 mental health/substance abuse clients everyday – many of whom are on this drug. It’s a
    popular drug for substance abusers – I just can’t see Doug deliberately
    giving this to a horse – for what reason? He’s being singled out as an example, in my
    opinion. I don’t think there is a case to crucify Doug. . . .too circumstantial.

  • 100Smart

    WHY DOES O”NEILL STILL HAVE A LICENSE.???COULD IT BE CALIFORNIA OR WHAT.

  • Andy in the desert

    I appreciate all the layers of information found here. Education of the novice (well at least relating to this subject of drugging and its’ cousin gassing) is very helpful, even to a guy who has been a player since the early 80s.

    This question is for Jane Lutz and also Barry Irwin:

    Do you know if anyone has approached the pertinent governing agency (CHRB?) about using this “Black Box” you mention used in the standardbred industry in the thoroughbred industry?
    If not, what would it take to start a campaign for implementation?
    It seems like a no brainier to me!
    Thanks.

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