October 03, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) The Breeders' Cup banned trainer Doug O'Neill on Friday from entering horses in this year's world championships after he was suspended and fined by New York racing officials when one of his horses had a positive drug test.

The ban is enforceable under the event's convicted trainers rule, which prohibits trainers who have in the preceding 12 months been found by any racing regulatory agency to have violated rules forbidding the possession or use of any Class 1 or 2 substances.

Breeders' Cup President and CEO Craig Fravel said O'Neill won't be allowed to pre-enter horses in the event to be run Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at Santa Anita in Arcadia, California, because of the recent 45-day suspension and $10,000 fine handed down by the New York Gaming Commission against the trainer.

''I accept the Breeder's Cup decision that I will not be permitted to participate in the 2014 Breeders' Cup World Championships and I will not appeal it,'' O'Neill said in a statement through his publicist.

Under a settlement with the New York Gaming Commission, O'Neill's suspension begins Nov. 3 - two days after the Breeders' Cup - and ends Dec. 18. O'Neill had earlier said he wasn't in New York when the alleged infraction occurred in June 2013 and he's confident that none of his employees or staff administered the substance to the horse that tested positive.

''I now realize that delaying the suspension so that I could participate in the Breeders' Cup was a mistake,'' O'Neill said Friday.

He said before the Breeders' Cup ban, he had asked New York officials to move up his suspension so it begins on Monday.

''One of the reasons I wanted to resolve these allegations was to not be a distraction to the racing community,'' O'Neill said. ''I truly care about the horses under my care and the sport that we all love and do not wish for my suspension to do any more harm than it has already done.''

A spokesman said the California Horse Racing Board is aware of the New York ruling involving O'Neill and is investigating the matter. A Breeders' Cup spokesman said it would be up to the CHRB whether to allow O'Neill on the grounds at Santa Anita during Breeders' Cup week.

O'Neill, 46, is a high-profile trainer on the Southern California circuit with four Breeders' Cup wins to his credit - the 2005 Juvenile, 2006 Sprint, 2007 Filly & Mare Sprint and last year's Dirt Mile. He is ranked 15th nationally among trainers with purse earnings of $4,268,511 this year, according to Equibase.

Defending Dirt Mile champion Goldencents and Vosburgh winner Private Zone were among O'Neill's contenders for this year's Breeders' Cup.

O'Neill trained 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another, who was scratched the day before the Belmont Stakes with an injury and subsequently retired.

In the New York case, the drug Oxazepam, considered a Class 2 sedative with muscle-relaxing properties, was found in the post-race sample of Wind of Bosphorus, who won a $35,000 claiming race at Belmont on June 2, 2013.

The gaming commission said the drug was administered within a week of the horse's race, which violates the state's racing rules. The owner had to give up the first-place purse of $24,600, and Wind of Bosphorus was relegated to unplaced.

During the 2012 Triple Crown, California racing officials suspended O'Neill for 180 days but stayed 135 of those provided he didn't receive another medication positive at any racetrack in California, the rest of the U.S. or overseas involving a Class 1, 2 or 3 drug during an 18-month probationary period.

The punishment was the result of a positive test by one of O'Neill's horses, Argenta, for a higher than allowed level of total carbon dioxide on Aug. 25, 2010, at Del Mar.

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