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Trainer Doug O'Neill Suspended After Horse Tests Positive For Sedative

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Trainer Doug O'Neill, who guided I'll Have Another to victories in the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, has been suspended for 135 days and placed on 18 months of probation by the California Horse Racing Board for violating a 2012 decision by the board.

The board said Thursday that 90 days of the suspension are stayed, leaving O'Neill suspended for a 45-day period that began Thursday and ends Nov. 22.

During the 2012 Triple Crown series, the CHRB suspended O'Neill for 180 days but stayed 135 of those provided he didn't receive another medication positive at any racetrack in California, the rest of the U.S. or overseas involving a Class 1, 2 or 3 drug during an 18-month probationary period. He served 45 days of the suspension at the time.

The punishment was the result of a positive test by one of O'Neill's horses, Argenta, for a higher than allowed level of total carbon dioxide on Aug. 25, 2010, at Del Mar.

However, four months after O'Neill's probation in California ended on March 10 of this year, the New York State Gaming Commission alleged that the trainer should be fined and suspended after one of his horses, Wind of Bosphorus, tested positive for oxazepam, a sedative that is considered a Class 2 drug. The horse won a race at Belmont Park in New York on June 2, 2013.

The New York complaint was finalized after the Oct. 29, 2013, completion of O'Neill's 18-month probation in California, which the CHRB considered a mitigating factor in its decision.

In a new agreement between the CHRB and O'Neill, the trainer must begin another 18-month probationary period following his suspension, which begins Nov. 23. During his probation, the 90-day stay will remain in place if O'Neill isn't found in violation of any further Class 1, 2 or 3 drug regulation in California or elsewhere in the U.S. or overseas.

The CHRB will honor the separate 45-day suspension in New York, meaning O'Neill cannot return to training before Dec. 19. During his suspensions, O'Neill is denied access to all racetracks within the CHRB's jurisdiction.

The 46-year-old trainer was recently banned by the Breeders' Cup from entering horses in this year's world championships at Santa Anita on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, and he won't be allowed to attend the event. O'Neill has said Goldencents will defend his title in the BC Dirt Mile.

O'Neill was not the trainer of record when four horses from his stable ran Thursday at Santa Anita. They ran in the name of his longtime assistant Leandro Mora. Among the four horses, two won and another finished second. Mora is scheduled to have six starters on Friday's card.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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