As 138th Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another prepares for the 2012 Preakness in Baltimore, his trainer Doug O'Neill is answering some questions about his horses, drugs, and his record. As the New York Times reported on Thursday:
Last summer, the trainer Doug O’Neill was formally sanctioned after one of his racehorses at Hollywood Park in California tested positive for illegal drugs.
A year before, in 2010, O’Neill was punished for administering an illegal performance-enhancing concoction to a horse he ran in the prestigious Illinois Derby — the third time he had been accused of giving a horse what is known as a milkshake. Four months later, he was accused again of giving a milkshake to a horse in California.
Over 14 years and in four different states, O’Neill received more than a dozen violations for giving his horses improper drugs.
O'Neill has consistently denied ever using a 'milkshake,' but being the trainer of a Triple Crown contender brings with it a level of scrutiny that gives these charges fresh weight. If history is any indication, though, O'Neill should be able to weather the controversy without too much trouble:
In recent years, the issue of whether trainers continued to break the rules in part because the penalties were so minor was exemplified by the case of Richard Dutrow Jr. For years, Dutrow trained horses at tracks across the country despite amassing dozens of drug violations. He paid fines, litigated cases for years and in 2008 found himself the trainer of Big Brown, the winner of the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
Last October, New York authorities, citing 70 violations in 15 states, revoked Dutrow’s license, barring him from state racetracks for 10 years. But Dutrow appealed the ruling and continues to race horses effectively enough to be the nation’s 11th-ranked trainer with more than $2.2 million in earnings for 2012.
As the evidence shows, horse racing remains popular despite the issues. The Kentucky Derby was an exciting race, and the 2012 Preakness looks to be no different.