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O'Neill penalized, but horses can run

October 19, 2008|From the Associated Press

Trainer Doug O'Neill, who plans to saddle two horses in this week's Breeders' Cup, has been placed on probation for one year after one of his horses had a positive drug test.

O'Neill agreed to pay a $7,500 fine and serve a 30-day suspension, which will be stayed pending his probation, for violating four state racing rules in a stipulated agreement with the California Horse Racing Board.

A sample taken from one of O'Neill's horses, Chicks Rule, exceeded the regulatory threshold for total carbon dioxide or TCO2, which is a Class 3 violation.

Excessive TCO2 indicates that an alkalizing agent, commonly referred to as a "milkshake," was administered to improve performance.

Chicks Rule won at Santa Anita on Jan. 17. Stewards previously issued a ruling disqualifying Chicks Rule and redistributing the purse money.

O'Neill's 30-day suspension is stayed provided he has no additional Class 1, 2 or 3 violations for one year.

That means he will be able to saddle Azul Leon and Square Eddie in the $2-million Breeders' Cup Juvenile next Saturday at Santa Anita.

The 40-year-old trainer has won Breeders' Cup races each of the last three years, including 2007 with Maryfield in the Filly & Mare Sprint.

O'Neill also trained Lava Man, the richest claiming horse in thoroughbred racing history, until the gelding's retirement in July.

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