With the 2012 Belmont Stakes a little over a week away, the spotlight will gradually begin to brighten on horse racing's newest rising star, I'll Have Another. Only a win shy at the Belmont of the 12th Triple Crown in horse racing history, I'll Have Another has the uninterrupted attention of the racing world. However, that attention extends beyond the horse and on Wednesday it focused upon trainer Doug O'Neill under less than ideal circumstances.
According to a report in the New York Times, I'll Have Another's trainer is not allowed to treat any of his horses without the presence of a board investigator. O'Neill was recently handed a 45-day suspension by California horse racing regulators for doping violations and has a history of violations. To put it simply, New York racing officials want to make sure I'll Have Another wins the Triple Crown because of natural ability.
Courtesy of the New York Times:
Among the requirements for O'Neill, according to a confidential e-mail obtained by The New York Times, are that his horses cannot in any way be treated "without a board investigator present," and that he should not allow treatment of any of his horses "by mouth or in feed without conferring with a board investigator, who will first log the treatment and discuss the reason(s) for treatment."
O'Neill must also provide veterinary records for I'll Have Another and any other horses he may be running over those days at Belmont "no later than 10 a.m." each day after any treatment.
In addition to the constant monitoring, all the horses will be kept in a single barn with significant security. The horses will be guarded with only a limited number of pre-determined people allowed to visit, and each visit will be logged.