Bloodstock agent Dennis O'Neill. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)

The O’Neill brothers, the meaning of milkshakes and fixing of horse races

Bloodstock agent Dennis O'Neill. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)
Jockey Mario Gutierrez, top, aboard I’ll Have Another, is congratulated by Bloodstock agent Dennis O’Neill, brother of I’ll Have Another’s trainer Doug O’Neill, after winning the 137th Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course, Saturday, May 19, 2012, in Baltimore. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)

Doug O’Neill, trainer of Triple Crown contender I’ll Have Another, seems an affable enough guy. But the most devilish among us usually have a charming side.

What appalls me about Doug O’Neill is that he drugs racehorses then acts as if he knows absolutely nothing about it. His brother Dennis is even more unbelievable. He pretends not to know or understand the terms surrounding racehorse doping. The Paulick Report has a post about brother Dennis O’Neill’s recent appearance on CNN.

In the CNN interview, O’Neill’s brother Dennis, who identified I’ll Have Another for purchase, went so far as to say: “We actually had to Google (milkshaking) to find out what that meant.

“We’ve never milkshaked a horse,” said Dennis O’Neill. “We wouldn’t know how to do it.”

I am so glad Mr. Paulick watched the interview so I didn’t have to. He has it on his site if you are interested.

In the meantime, Aram Tolegian writing for the Whittier News reports:

The California Horse Racing Board will meet Thursday in a closed session at Betfair Hollywood Park to discuss the final decision from hearing officer Steffan Imhoff regarding charges Argenta, an O’Neill runner who finished eighth in a race Aug. 25, 2010, at Del Mar, was found to have elevated total carbon dioxide levels in its blood as the result of a concoction of performance enhancers commonly referred to as a “milkshake.”

Tolegian also informs us:

O’Neill faces up to a six-month suspension, which one source close to the situation said is what he will get following a 30-day stay that will allow him to train I’ll Have Another for the Belmont Stakes on June 9.

What is a milkshake?

Here’s how the medical dictionary online defines it:

a solution of sodium bicarbonate administered to racehorses by stomach tube 4 to 6 hours before racing to produce a metabolic acidosis. Promoted as a means of producing relief from tying-up and delaying the onset of fatigue by producing additional buffering to counteract the accumulation of lactic acid, induced by anaerobic muscular activity. Some commercial preparations include a mixture of vitamins and minerals. Legislated against by limiting the blood level of CO2. See also saline drench.

There is often more to a milkshake than meets the eye. How about a side order of snake venom.

Jeff Lowe, reporting for the The Thoroughbred Times reports:

Pennsylvania trainer Darrel Delahoussaye was arrested on Wednesday and charged with attempting to fix races at Penn National Race Course, based on evidence and testimony that he administered milkshakes and snake venom to horses before they raced.

State police charged Delahoussaye, whose first name is listed as Darryl in court documents, with two felony counts of theft by deception and one misdemeanor count each of rigging a publicly exhibited contest, administering drugs to race horses, and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

When discussing this with a member of a State Horse Racing Commission, asking him why individuals with drug violations are not arrested for racing fixing, he condescendingly told me that jockeys are charged with this, not trainers. I guess he is not a reader of the Thoroughbred Times. Perhaps he should Google it.


Tuesday’s Horse

If I’ll Have Another wins the Triple Crown should it be denoted with an asterisk?

I’ll Have Another . . . shock wave therapy treatment please

Int’l Fund for Horses

The Chemical Horse, by Jane Allin

5 thoughts on “The O’Neill brothers, the meaning of milkshakes and fixing of horse races”

  1. It’s funny, or should I say sad.

    It seems the racing world rewards those who are the most deceitful. An anomaly of sorts in the world of competitive sports……


  2. I did not watch the interview myself, but now that I think about it a bit, I suppose Dennis O had to come up with some sort of denial in case the interviewer asked him what is in a milkshake, what it does to the horse etc, which would have opened a whole can of worms. Imagine all of that being broadcast to the CNN audience.

    Perhaps Dennis O is slicker than we give him credit for. His brother Doug O is a master cheater, along with all the other trainers with hundreds of drug violations.

    Doug O had 807 drug violations according to the chart that accompanies a Joe Drape 2010 article for the New York Times on drugging racehorses. See, side column, left. I wonder how many more Doug O has amassed since.

    Oh, and they give these racehorse-doping, race-fixing criminals (strong language I know) Eclipse Awards as top trainers on top of letting them get away with it.



  3. I read this and burst out with laughter. Imagine a trainer in Thoroughbred horse racing not knowing what a milkshake is. This is just too priceless for words. These guys must be thick as a brick if they think anyone is going to buy this story. I still can’t stop chuckling.

    There is however nothing to laugh about the fact that O’Neill will get a 30-day stay that will allow him to train I’ll Have Another for the Belmont Stakes on June 9. There is definitely something amiss in a sport that permits participation when found guilty of a crime.

    If O’Neill is found liable his privileges should be revoked immediately – Triple Crown or not.

    No wonder the face of North American racing is so tarnished.


  4. You are so right Northern Dancer. That element has always existed in horse racing, as doping has. I believe the degree has changed, and the complexity and side effects of the chemicals. Perhaps this sounds unkind, but let the people take care of themselves. They have the ability to do that. The horses do not have that option; they cannot resist, or protest. That’s where we come in, and the only reason we address any of these issues.


  5. If the public only knew what goes on….If the government only knew what goes on….Well at least Cuomo Gov. of New York caught on. This skimming of wagering by racing associations has been going on for years! The racing industry is like Vegas was in the 50’s – run by the Mafia, gangsters, hoodlums, abd cheaters. O’Neill and his cohorts is just one aspect of many!


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