Curious Background Of Trainer Doug O’Neill


As this is written, Doug O’Neill, the maligned trainer of I’ll Have Another, is preparing his super horse for the running of the Belmont Stakes. His preparation will, since new regulatory rules, be rather different than in bygone days.

O’Neill, who has suffered multiple sanctions for doping horses, was recently suspended for 45 days by California’s racing regulators for another violation. (The California horse hierarchy, however, said the suspension need not be served prior to the Belmont.) New York State’s newly formed Racing and Wagering Board has stepped in now and shackled O’Neill with a list of special rules and regulations.

O’Neill’s horses cannot in any way be treated without a board investigator present. And he should not allow treatment of any of his horses by mouth or in feed without conferring (approval) with a board investigator. O’Neill must also provide veterinary records for I’ll Have Another and all other of his horses at Belmont by no later than 10 a.m. each day after any treatment.

O’Neill, who was suspended in 2010 for a similar violation in Illinois, has more than a dozen drug violations in four states. His restrained rejoinder to all the hoopla: “With a great horse they’re under a bigger microscope. I wish they did this everywhere. We need to be transparent and show the public (racings) backstage.”

An old and popular Yiddish word comes to mind — chutzpah!