Doug O'Neill. Google image.

Horse doper O’Neill gladly takes 40 days off from racing

Doug O'Neill. Google image.
Doug O’Neill. Google image.

Even though experts say that drugging racehorses is killing horse racing (along with hundreds of horses), the industry continues to pander to the criminal element among its “celebrated” trainers. I suppose they have to. After decades of leniency, if they actually enforced what few rules they have, there would be only a handful of trainers left to train. It seems everybody’s “doin’ it”, even the trainers who point their fingers at other trainers.

I am of course speaking about the ridiculous news that horse doper Doug O’Neill has dropped his appeal eagerly accepting a 40-day ban (instead of a whopping 180 trimmed to 45) so he can learn “some new things”. Hopefully he will not be taking a course on sticking it to frogs to make some dermorphin. It would not surprise me. From interviews, he has an extensive knowledge of doping to build on.

The Associated Press reports:

Kentucky Derby and Preakness-winning trainer Doug O’Neill on Wednesday dropped his appeal of a 45-day suspension stemming from an excess of carbon dioxide in one of his horses in 2010. He will serve the penalty starting Aug. 19.

Did he get another five days chopped off for being so affable about the whole affair or something?

The article adds:

O’Neill was originally given a 180-day suspension by the California board. A hearing officer found that the carbon dioxide level was not caused by milkshaking, an illegal practice that involves giving a horse a mixture of bicarbonate substances to stave off fatigue. However, the officer said O’Neill should be suspended under the trainer responsibility rule.

Quote of the Day goes to Barry Petchesky (DeadSpin.com):

There’s some weird counter-intuition at play when it’s argued that thoroughbred racing has its doping problem under control because there are so many positive tests.

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13 thoughts on “Horse doper O’Neill gladly takes 40 days off from racing”

  1. Gina, how awful for you. These people are as crazy as a box of frogs. What a load of tripe. Forcing people to pray. I believe that is highly illegal. And pushing people out of the way. Nuts to that. If I were to tell this to my old racing colleagues in the UK they would think I had been out in the sun too long without a hat.

    Please hang tight. We have been working on the Racing Commissioner issue for several years and are only now just getting a few listeners. Not because they want to work with us or listen to anything we say, but because of all the negative publicity that shows without a doubt they need a central governing body with enforcement powers.

    What you do NOT want is government intervention and they are running scared of that. I agree that would be a disaster. It would add a bunch of useless and ineffective mandates and guidelines with absolutely no intention to enforce them.

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  2. IF THE PUBLIC ONLY KNEW what goes on in the stable area of most racetracks in North America! Dopers get the majority of stalls while smaller honest outfits gets denied stalls. Getting stalls is one of the keys to success for a trainer. Stalls have such advantages as: gets the horse acclimated to its surroundings including track surface, poles, grandstand, starting gate, sights and sounds in general. Since a horse is a creature of habit this really helps them. Having stalls gives a trainer access to the racing office. exercise riders, pony horses, farriers, vets, ambulance and all the supporting personnel that a racehorse needs. These dopers get huge allotment of stalls effectively blocking out the smaller honest outfits. More stalls translates to more power and more owners because no owner is going to send their racehorse to a trainer who does not have stalls no matter how good they are. Stall allocation polices on racetracks make a deliberate effort to APPEAR fair, but are anything but fair. They blatantly discriminate against women, visible minorities, and non-religious trainers. Heck, Churchill Downs even has the Church of Christ in the stable area with scores of ministers going barn to barn every morning ordering trainers to a prayer session on a daily basis and if you don’t go your stalls are taken away that’s how extreme it is. Keeneland is no different! I was hounded by people ordering me to go pray and I’m an atheist. I was so harassed after telling them that I was an atheist that I never went back. The Keeneland Board of Directirs upheld this conduct. So the ability of a trainer and the horses have little to do with success. That’s why the the same trainers are represented year in and year out – they have a huge advantage not to mention the races are written for them again blocking out smaller outfits. So they can have repeated doping offenses and nothing is done because they support the status quo. This business is in such need of OUTSIDE intervention. Whether that is government or a National Racing Commissioner it needs it YESTERDAY! This change will result in a better life for a racehorse during its racing career.

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  3. Thank you Gina , I havent followed your career as a trainer but I love what you have written! As far as O’neill , he should be banned from horse racing period! They need to have radical horse racing reform.

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  4. If you read the article and see that O’Neil has earned over 4 Million dollars this year, and he is given a slap on the wrist! I’ll have Another was diagnosed with arthritis and that was the real reason he was pulled. It is all about money. If we want it to stop we have to stop going to the races, no spectators no money.

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    1. We are going to start writing to sponsors of horse racing in the US to tell them to stop funding this atrocity. I used to work in horse racing (not here although my husband tried it for awhile) and it is totally loathsome.

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  5. Dear Gina, I respect what you are !!!!!! I sense you are a true Trainer , who when she leaves the Barn and her horses , she leaves knowing she has done everything possible to ensure that her horses are in healthy , happy and strong state…………Mr Oneil, doesnt need a vacation he needs Jail Time to think about what he is doing !!!!!! Gina I applaud you, you will be a winner !!!!!!

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    1. Thanks so much for support. I had 2 awesome owners who bought about 4 to 6 horses every year and we always found a home for them when their career was over. That’s the only type of owners that I will deal with – responsible! Both owners have left this business directly due to the cheating, doping, and inability to punish these trainers/owners. Now I know that they were not MILLION dollar owners, but they were good people with big dreams. I bought middle end horses for them either privately or through the auctions, but this business is losing the middle end owners who are the backbone of this businesss. I know that we need the super wealthy owners too – I get it, but now we have 6 owner/trainers dominating this entire industry and most have past drug violations. So is that really good for business?

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      1. I prefer trainers like you Gina, who only work with good owners no matter what and treat your horses well. You are exactly who we need; you are exactly what the horses need. All horses are beautiful and courageous. Unless they are totally unsuited to racing, they do the very best they can. Even a claimer can be breathtaking and move you with their heart. Let everyone play at the level they can. It is all good. But do it ethically and kindly. That way you can never lose, and the rewards are wonderful and guaranteed. Gamblers don’t care; the odds you get are the same no matter where you are and what types of races you bet on.

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  6. Thank you Gina for your insight. Contextually, we know there are more honest trainers than crooked ones, but as you say it is the cheating element, the big dopers who get the wins and the headlines.

    Crooked owners and their trainers are breaking state and federal laws and should be arrested and put in jail. We have been working for this since 2006 and have had some success in individual cases, but none of the so-called big names have fallen.

    It is encouraging to see some industry people getting on board with the idea of arresting the offenders. In a recentl New York Times article on a Senate hearing on racehorse doping, it has this:

    QUOTE: Jeffrey Gural, who runs three harness tracks in New York and New Jersey, said the drug problem could be solved if violators were arrested, not just suspended or fined. “If some of these trainers walked out of the barn in handcuffs, that would be the end of that,” he said.

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  7. An honest trainer like me (training for 15 years with NO positives) CAN’T COMPETE against these trainers who are ALL represented in the top stake races where the money is. That’s precisely why these SAME trainers win year in and year out and are represented in every single stake race in the country. Most of them have past medication and doping violations where they receive a SLAP on the wrist. Case in point: O’Neill. If the racing industry really wanted to get serious they would have started the 180 ban (not 40 days) prior to the Preakness when the suspension was handed down. INSTEAD they delayed the suspension so he could saddle I’LL HAVE ANOTHER! So really there was no punishment there at all. FURTHER, he will have his Assistant train his horses and will be on the phone or email him everyday – so really WHAT KIND OF PENALTY IS THIS??? This is a vacation for O’Neill. Our industry rewards dopers and penalizes honest trainers. Consequently, the wagering public gets screwed and so does my honest owners who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to run honestly and see these dopers get off like this. That’s precisely why I have no more owners or no new owners coming to this game because they are well aware of what they are up against. I allege that these trainers have a connection into the District Attorney’s office perhaps? There is something much more deeper going on here.

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  8. For a trainer to be doping the race horses in his care , certainly says alot about his character as a trainer , it screams I cant win Races without doping , as a Trainer I stink !!!!! He can only win a race from doping my charges ,not on his abilities, certainly if I were a trainer would not want that as my scenario !!!Take Graham Motion for example the lowest doping trainer around , he doesnt need to dope he has great abilities with his horses, he knows how to with supplements, and awesome training to build his horses body and get the horse, happy, healthy and strong, this should and is the KEY, every Thoroughbred has amazing abilities , it is up to the trainer to find and cultivate those abilities, a healthy strong trained properly Thoroughbred is a beautiful thing , he or she wants to win it is in them…… I have witnessed Great Trainers, work with a young thoroughbreds with firmness and dedication , and YES Love and Understanding , I have seen them do amazing things , the happy horse is more than willing to learn , not all turn out to be Zenyattas, but are trying to win everytime they enter the Gate !!!!!! with the same enthusiasm……………. The Trainers most important lesson and Job is to give everything to his horse possible to make them want to win !!!!!! JOHN HENRY is A perfect example ……. It took a trainer with great understanding and a lot of patience to help JOHN HENRY be all that he could be………………………….

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    1. Amen Arlene. God made these horses perfect as they are. Doping is all about cheating to win money and accolades at the expense of everyone else who are honest.

      What I don’t get, is that this is a sport that is heavily gambled on. The industry says horse racing depends on this gambling to survive. So, why is horse racing totally ripping off the bettors it says they are so dependent on by allowing all this cheating and doping.

      All this drug testing is absolute nonsense. It is after the fact — the races are over — and if the bettor has lost, it’s all over for them too. The revenues go into the pockets of crooks and cheats.

      Forget about horse racing truly punishing dopers. Will never happen if we wait on them to do it. The federal government should put cheaters in jail for defrauding the betting public.

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