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May 25, 2012

I'll Have Another trainer faces suspension


Inglewood, CA (Sports Network) - The trainer of I'll Have Another, the horse who will run for the Triple Crown next month at the Belmont Stakes, is facing a suspension after a filly he trained tested positive for an excess of carbon dioxide.

Doug O'Neill will still be allowed to race I'll Have Another on June 9, when the horse will have a chance to become the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years.

There was no evidence of any intentional act by O'Neill contributing to the elevated level of carbon dioxide in a sample taken from Argenta, a filly that finished eighth in a race at Del Mar almost two years ago, the California Horse Racing Board said Thursday.

Still, the racing organization banned O'Neill for 45 days with an additional 135 days of suspension stayed for 18 months provided the trainer commits no other offense considered a Class 1, 2 or 3 violation.

O'Neill's suspension will begin no sooner than July 1. A hearing officer also recommended a $15,000 fine in the case.

Evidence demonstrated that Argenta had not been "milkshaked" and that there were no suspicious betting patterns surrounding the race in question on Aug. 25, 2010.

I'll Have Another is looking to become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. The horse ran down Bodemeister in the first two legs of horse racing's Triple Crown.

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