Thursday, October 2, 2014

45 Days, Class II?

With all the talk nowadays about race day medication like lasix, one sees the headline today about Doug O'Neill and must wonder. I am of the belief - I realize it's asking a lot - that a multi-billion dollar sport can do two things at once, but maybe it can't.

Doug O'Neill, as reported by the DRF, was suspended 45 days and given a $10,000 fine for a class II drug called Oxazepam. Class II drugs are deemed "non-therapeutic" by the RCI and other jurisdictions.

A few thoughts:

The positive occurred in June of 2013. About 15 months ago, and is only now being administered.

If the violation occurred a few hundred miles north, in Ontario, the suspension would be a minimum one year and maximum five years, even for a first offense. In some other jurisdictions (twitter tells me, but since this dude works in racing, I will link it) it's two years minimum.

If the violation occurred in Ontario, the horse would be suspended three months, and the trainer would not race. If he filed an injunction of some sort and won, he would have to race in the detention barn. At Woodbine, he would have to race in detention after his suspension as well.

This is Doug's (according to the DRF) 18th offense and 9th since 2009.

Doug, according to the New York Times, has had four TCO2 violations.  For his 4th, he received 45 days in 2012 in California. Four offenses in Ontario is two years. TCO2 is considered class III.  New York threw the book at several TCO2 offenses last year.

Doug O'Neill is on probation  - they said "don't do anything again, even though this is your 4th TCO2 - back in 2012.

I know nothing about the details of this case, what happened, how nice a guy Doug is, or whatever. I doubt Doug is using derivatives of valium on his horses as a prerace, because that would be stupid. I don't know if the levels of the drug showed contamination which would not performance enhance a mosquito or what. I realize giving Doug more days in a place he doesn't race is not optimal, so they went the high fine route. But whatever happened, the 45 days - when compared to other states/provinces is a headscratcher. The lack of uniformity is a head scratcher. The fact he has raced for over a year without restriction is a head scratcher. The 15 month process for this to get done is a head scratcher.

I know people are up in arms about lasix on raceday, but while we argue about that, the above shows this sport continues to drop the ball. It continues to look silly. It continues to look like a sport in need of an intervention.


Rob Luke said...

Spot on. Giving repeat PE offenders a pass makes rule-makers and enforces look impotent and further blackens the sport's name. Something needs to change.

Anonymous said...

Sport? Daaaaayuuuuum, maaann!!

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