Doug O'Neill, trainer of I'll Have Another, is riding high into June's Belmont Stakes at the top of his professional career. But not all is rosy, as O'Neill was forced this weekend to answer questions over allegations by the California Horse Racing Board that he has drugged horses in the past, most recently on Aug. 25, 2010. On that day, Argenta, one of O'Neill's horses, tested positive for elevated levels of TCO2, a mixture of soda carbonate, sugars and electrolytes called a "milkshake" in horse racing circles that purportedly minimizes fatigue and enhances performance.
O'Neill could be fined or suspended from racing, though it's almost certain that no penalty will be handed down before the Belmont on June 9. O'Neill has a suit pending in federal court questioning the veracity of the board's allegations, and he vehemently denies drugging horses at any point.
"I swear on my kids' eyes I never milkshaked a horse," O'Neill said nine days before the Preakness. "We had some people in charge of California racing I think didn't like a few of us that were doing well. Anyway, it's all being heard by the courts and I'm very confident everything will be fine."