Ray Paulick of the Paulick Report asks the $15,000 question:
How does a horse get an elevated carbon dioxide level without being administered a “milkshake,” a procedure that involves tubing a mixture of baking soda, water, and possibly other substances into a horse’s stomach four to six hours before a race?
The question is in reference to Doug O’Neill, trainer of this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another, who was suspended for 45 days and fined $15,000 Thursday by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) for exceeding the allowable limit for total carbon dioxide in a horse he raced.
O’Neill has vigorously denied he “milkshaked” Argenta, the horse at the center of the allegation. The filly clearly tested with a TCO2 level in violation of the accepted limit. So the question is not if he did it, but how he did it.
A possible answer from an anonymous source appears later in Paulick’s post:
A racetrack practitioner who spoke to the Paulick Report on the condition of anonymity said some trainers and veterinarians “push the envelope,” not by administering traditional bicarbonate loading through a gastro-nasal tube but by giving “bullets,” a paste-like mix of bicarbonates and electrolytes delivered via a dose gun in the back of a horse’s mouth four to five hours before a race. The concoction can contain an “energy mix” of amino acids, sugar or complex sugar.
The energy “bullet” elevates a horse’s TCO2 but, if done properly, keeps it below the 37.0 threshold level. The administration is a prohibited practice, since it is done on race day.
Whatever the case, we will have to wait and see.
Conveniently, the CHRB suspension will not go into effect in time to keep O’Neill from participating in the final leg of the Triple Crown.
At any rate, O’Neill will still be able to saddle his Derby and Preakness winner, I’ll Have Another, in the Belmont Stakes on June 9, when the colt has a chance to become the 12th Triple Crown champion and the first since Affirmed in 1978.”, reports Joe Drape for the New York Times.
That’s horse racing.