Part of complete coverage on
California suspends Derby-winning trainer over 2010 race
updated 5:16 AM EDT, Fri May 25, 2012
Trainer Doug O'Neill (in yellow hat) celebrates after I'll Have Another won the 138th Kentucky Derby on May 5.
- NEW: California action won't affect upcoming Belmont Stakes, New York official says
- Doug O'Neill trained Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another
- California's state racing board suspended him for 45 days effective July 1 at earliest
- O'Neill was cleared of "milkshaking" but hit for high carbon dioxide levels in his horse's blood
(CNN) -- California horse-racing authorities handed the trainer of Triple Crown hopeful I'll Have Another a 45-day suspension Thursday stemming from a 2010 race with another horse, but cleared him of giving that horse an energy-boosting cocktail.
The suspension won't take effect until at least July 1, meaning trainer Doug O'Neill will be able to participate in the June 9 Belmont Stakes -- when Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another is carrying high hopes for the sport's first Triple Crown since 1978. And the California Horse Racing Board's decision explicitly cleared O'Neill of "milkshaking" the throughbred Argenta during a race at southern California's Del Mar track in September 2010.
The board did find O'Neill, as Argenta's trainer, was responsible for high total carbon dioxide levels found in its blood -- a sign a horse might have been given a "milkshake" of baking soda, electrolytes and sugar believed to help it combat fatigue. It fined him $15,000, and said another 135 days of suspension could be applied if O'Neill is found to have violated other rules in any jurisdiction.
But a state hearing officer found no sign of any "intentional acts" on the part of the trainer or any sign that betting on the race had been skewed toward Argenta, which finished well out of the money in eighth place.
Looking back at 'Derby Day'
Calvin Borel: Kentucky Derby legend
Breeding Kentucky Derby studs
O'Neill can challenge the finding in court, but his brother, Dennis O'Neill, said no decision has been made on how to proceed.
"We're just ecstatic that the judge ruled we didn't do anything to make the TCO2 (total carbon dioxide) level go up," Dennis O'Neill told CNN. But he said there was "absolutely" no doubt his brother would be able to take part in the Belmont, in New York.
"We're very happy that the press release is very clear that Doug never milkshaked the horse, and there was no suspicious betting pattern," he added.
Lee Park, a spokesman for the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, said that agency would review California's decision. But since the suspension won't take effect until July, "it should have no bearing on the June 9 Belmont Stakes," he said.
The 2010 allegation isn't the first scrape O'Neill has had with California regulators. In 2007, he was fined $3,000 after another horse showed high carbon dioxide levels. And in 2010, the Illinois Racing Board suspended him for 15 days when another horse showed high blood CO2 levels; California's racing board issued him a matching suspension.
But there have been no allegations that O'Neill had given a milkshake to I'll Have Another. And his brother told CNN earlier this week that "We've never milkshaked a horse."
"We wouldn't know how to do it," Dennis O"Neill said. "It's never been done by us or anybody in the barn."
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:28 PM EDT, Tue April 9, 2013
A six-day run that covers more than 220 km through the scorching heat of the Sahara desert has been billed as the "World's toughest race."
updated 7:49 AM EDT, Wed April 10, 2013
He plays the only sport approved by the Taliban, a game he learned as a war refugee in Pakistan.
updated 1:46 PM EDT, Thu April 4, 2013
How do you like your sport? Blood, sweat, tears and a nailbiting finish, no doubt. But what about death?
updated 5:34 AM EDT, Fri April 5, 2013
Disgraced doper Lance Armstrong's quest to take part in a swimming event in Texas appears to have been sunk before he's even hit the water.
updated 6:21 AM EST, Tue December 18, 2012
New research suggests the use of ice baths to aid recovery after intense exercise is not as beneficial as previously thought.
updated 7:48 AM EST, Wed December 19, 2012
It's not easy carrying the burden of a sports-mad nation's lofty expectations of world-beating dominance on your shoulders.
updated 11:45 AM EST, Thu December 6, 2012
Forty days alone in the wilderness was enough for Jesus, but Lance Armstrong is facing an altogether longer period of solitude.
updated 4:42 PM EST, Wed November 28, 2012
The flip side to this health time bomb is the paradox that more and more amateur athletes are taking on extreme endurance challenges.
updated 2:37 PM EST, Wed November 28, 2012
All Black fly-half Dan Carter talks to CNN's Sophia Heath as New Zealand prepares to take on England at Twickenham.
updated 1:33 PM EST, Thu November 29, 2012
New Zealand's Dan Carter reveals the five fly-halfs that inspired him.
updated 11:36 AM EST, Sat November 24, 2012
Boxing legend Hector "Macho" Camacho has died. CNN's Nick Valencia looks back on his life.
updated 2:52 PM EDT, Tue July 31, 2012
You may not be headed to the Olympics, but that doesn't mean you can't join in the fun! Welcome to the CNN iReport sports photo master class.
updated 8:03 AM EDT, Wed July 25, 2012
Look over the edge as cliff divers compete in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 2012 in Portugal.
updated 6:29 PM EDT, Thu July 19, 2012
The Houston Rockets sign basketball sensation Jeremy Lin after the New York Knicks fail to match their NBA rivals' three-year, $25 million offer.
updated 7:17 AM EDT, Thu May 31, 2012
Reza Beluchi has been running all his life, running for freedom, running for peace. He ran away from his homeland, Iran, and has traveled the world.