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Douglas F. O'Neill

Doug O'Neill
Doug O'Neill at 2012 Preakness Stakes.
Occupation Trainer
Born (1968-05-24) May 24, 1968 (age 46)
Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.
Career wins ongoing
Major racing wins, honours and awards
Major racing wins

Fantasy Stakes (2000)
Hollywood Gold Cup (2002, 2005, 2006)
Longacres Mile Handicap (2003)
Palos Verdes Handicap (2003)
Del Mar Breeders' Cup Mile (2004)
Las Virgenes Stakes (2005)
San Marcos Stakes (2005)
Santa Ynez Stakes (2005)
Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (2006)
Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (2006)
Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (2006)
Santa Anita Handicap (2006)
Pacific Classic Stakes (2006)
Santa Barbara Handicap (2006)
Santa Anita Handicap (2006, 2007)
Sunshine Millions Classic (2006)
Godolphin Mile (2007)
Robert B. Lewis Stakes (2007)
San Felipe Stakes (2007)
Sunshine Millions Turf (2007)
Donn Handicap (2008)

American Classics / Breeders' Cup wins:
Breeders' Cup Juvenile (2005)
Breeders' Cup Sprint (2006)
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (2007)
Kentucky Derby (2012)
Preakness Stakes (2012)

International race wins:
Japan Cup Dirt (2003)
California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association:
Trainer of the Year (2002)
Significant horses
Great Hunter, I'll Have Another, Fleetstreet Dancer, Lava Man, Notional, Maryfield, Square Eddie, Stevie Wonderboy, Thor's Echo,

Douglas F. "Doug" O'Neill (May 24, 1968) is an American Thoroughbred horse trainer.[1][2][3][4] He was born in Dearborn, Michigan,[2] and resides in California, where he trained the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, I'll Have Another.[5]

Based at Hollywood Park Racetrack, O'Neill and his family reside in Santa Monica, California.

Horse racing

In 1986 he began working in Thoroughbred horse racing as a stable hand and eventually a training assistant. In 1994 he obtained his professional trainer's license and since the early 2000s has been a major figure on the California racing scene, with the largest stable in Southern California[6] and one of the largest and most successful in the United States.[7] He gained national attention for his Breeders' Cup wins and international recognition for winning the 2003 Japan Cup Dirt at Tokyo Racecourse.[8]

Two horses trained by O'Neill, Liquidity and Great Hunter, raced in the 2007 Kentucky Derby. This was O'Neill's first and second start in the Kentucky Derby.[9] Canadian owned I'll Have Another, trained by O'Neill, won the 2012 Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012.[5]


As a result of medication violations, O'Neill has been nicknamed "'Drug' O'Neill."[10] According to New York Times investigative journalist Walt Bogdanich, O'Neill has had 15 medication drug violations during his career and has been found to have milkshaked horses -- an illegal treatment for fatigue that involves inserting a tube down a horse's esophagus.[11]

In a 2012 interview with NPR, Bogdanich criticized a lack of enforcement of drug rules in American horse racing. Bogdanich noted that although O'Neill faced a 180 day suspension for milkshaking, any punishment imposed upon him have would little impact on his livelihood: "He could turn it over to his assistants, his stable, and never miss a beat. The horses keep running. If they win, they keep getting their purses. You know, that's what America lacks that the rest of the world has. They have law and order."[11]

In May 2012, after a two-year legal battle, the California Horse Racing Board found that O'Neill was responsible for a horse that tested with excess carbon dioxide levels above the permitted level of TCO2. As a result, though he was not found guilty of "milkshaking" the horse - providing an "illegal performance-enhancing mixture," O'Neill was deemed responsible for the animal's care, barred from horse racing for 45 days and fined $15,000. [12]

Belmont Stakes

Because O'Neill's suspension was not set to begin prior to July 1, 2012,[12] he was permitted to run I'll Have Another in the 2012 Belmont Stakes. The race featured tightened security, including a "dentention barn" where all entrants had to be stabled together in a specially-designated barn, starting three days before the race.[13] Although dubbed the "O'Neill Rules" by the New York Post,[14] the potential for a triple crown also increased the scrutiny given the race.[15] Furthermore, the New York Racing Association had also been taken over by the state of New York earlier in the year due to problems with horse deaths and questions surrounding "exotic bets."[16]

After being moved to the detention barn, O'Neill removed I'll Have Another from the race, citing a tendon injury.[17] Racing fans and some commentators have speculated that O'Neill scratched I'll Have Another not because of a relatively minor tendon injury, but because he "couldn’t doctor the horse the way he needed to because of the detention barn." Others dismissed this as a conspiracy theory.[18]


External links

  • Doug O'Neill's official website
  • Doug O'Neill at the NTRA
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