Oh boy, 'I'll Have Another' trainer O’Neill suspended again | Bob's Blitz

Oh boy, 'I'll Have Another' trainer O’Neill suspended again

Phil Mushnick calls 'I’ll Have Another' trainer Doug O’Neill 'Drug O'Neill' because he's been suspended/fined three four times because horses he's trained have tested for a high level of carbon dioxide (TCO2) in its blood. The latest fine and ban came yesterday as The California Horse Racing Board met in closed session at Betfair Hollywood Park in Inglewood and agreed with a hearing officer's earlier ruling: A 45 day suspension and a $15,000 fine.

CHRB executive director Kirk Breed will decide when the suspension starts...but it conveniently will not begin before "I'll Have Another" takes a shot at the Triple Crown.

Ed Fountaine of the NY Post reports:

A high TCO2 level is often regarded as evidence that a horse was “milkshaked.” That is, given a prohibited concoction of sodium bicarbonate, sugar and electrolytes to increase its endurance. O’Neill, who has been fined and/or suspended three times for previous high TCO2 levels, has said he never has milkshaked a horse.

The CHRB hearing officer agreed with O’Neill in this instance, finding that the evidence demonstrated milkshaking was not the cause of the TCO2 overage. The hearing officer also determined there was no evidence of any intentional acts on the part of O’Neill in connection with this incident.

“I’m gratified that the CHRB found that I did not ‘milkshake’ a horse or engage in any intentional conduct that would result in an elevated TCO2 level,” O’Neill said in a statement. “I plan on examining and reviewing all of my options following the Belmont Stakes, but right now I plan on staying focused on preparing for and winning the Triple Crown.”

O'Neill said he spent $250k fighting the charges that stemmed from a citation by the racing board after 'Argenta' tested for a high level of TCO2 — a Class 3 violation — in its blood after finishing eighth in a race at Del Mar on Aug. 25, 2010. The horse is co-owned by Mark Verge, the CEO of Santa Anita race track and O’Neill’s childhood friend.

AP added: The Jockey Club has said that elevated total carbon dioxide levels, regardless of cause, are violations of the rules and penalties for excessive TCO2 are severe. It urges trainers and their veterinarians to work closely to identify any procedure or practices that may elevate such levels in horses.

In a related story...New York State Racing took another blow yesterday as state regulators suspended Mexican-born harness trainer Luis “Lou” Penathey - who they claim illegally drugged horses in 675 races and racked up 1,719 equine drug violations.

Lou claims it is 'because he is brown.'

The regulators say otherwise:

The board said Pena — who last summer credited his astonishing success rate to “technique training” after privately-owned Yonkers Raceway banned him on suspicion of drugging horses — faces a possible revocation of his license and fines of up to $2,500 per violation.

The board also said it may try to recover more than $2.5 million in purse monies won with horses drugged outside permitted timeframes as part of the ongoing investigation.

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