“I’ll Have Another” is just one victory away from being the first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978, but the New York Times is reporting that there will be a huge crackdown on performance-enhancing supplements at the Belmont Stakes.”I’ll Have Another” is at the centre of controversy as the horse’s trainer, Doug O’Neill, was suspended last week by the California Horse Racing Board for 45 days after he took part in giving a horse a performance-enhancing supplement in 2010.
Curiously, O’Neill’s suspension takes effect after the Belmont Stakes is run June 9th, so he will still be present if “I’ll Have Another” is able to win the Triple Crown.
The New York State Racing and Wagering Board released a long list of new measures it will be taking to ensure that each horse in the Belmont Stakes is clean.
Horses and trainers will be on lockdown in the Belmont stables, and according to an email procured by the Times, O’Neill will only be allowed to treat “I’ll Have Another” under supervision of a New York Racing Board member.
In 2010, O’Neill’s horse “Argenta” tested positive for elevated carbon dioxide levels. This usually happens when a horse is given a mixture of additives meant to speed up muscle recovery after a race and enhance performance, according to a Sports Illustrated report.
It was the fourth time O’Neill had been caught for that type of violation, and given his history, some think that O’Neill never should have been allowed to train “I’ll Have Another”.
Penny Chenery, who owned Secretariat, told The Atlantic she thought the situation was a huge disappointment.
“I don’t know [the owner] personally, but I think he should be embarrassed that the trainer he has chosen does not have a clean record.”
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