The fate of trainer Doug O'Neill, charged by California Horse Racing Board enforcement officials with a substance abuse violation involving one of his horses, will be addressed Thursday morning at a board meeting at Hollywood Park.
These are usually low-profile procedural meetings, but the item on the agenda involving O'Neill, whose I'll Have Another will take a run at racing's coveted Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes June 9, has triggered much interest and speculation.
Racing's enforcement officials ruled that an O'Neill-trained horse, Argenta, tested positive for high levels of carbon dioxide after a race Aug. 25, 2010, at Del Mar. High levels of carbon dioxide are considered evidence of the use of a "milkshake" to illegally boost a horse's stamina.
Various legal procedures have taken place, including the eventual dismissal of a lawsuit last year by O'Neill against the board. A hearing officer, Steffan Imhoff, will make his report and recommendations to the seven-member board Thursday. Much has been made about the timing of the report, relative to O'Neill's current attempt at a Triple Crown, but one CHRB source said items must be placed on an agenda within 30 days of filing and that's why it is on the action list.