‘The Buck Stops With Me’: O’Neill To Serve 10-Day Ban For Lidocaine Positive

Doug O’Neill will begin serving a 10-day suspension on Monday, March 8, as a result of a stipulated agreement with the California Horse Racing Board stemming from a positive post-race test for lidocaine on Oct. 9, 2020, according to Daily Racing Form. O’Neill was also fined $7,500.

Howbeit tested positive for the anesthetic after finishing second in a $40,000 claiming race at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. It was O’Neill’s first medication violation since a flunixin overage in April 2018, according to www.thoroughbredrulings.com. The ruling calls for a 30-day suspension, with 20 days stayed provided O’Neill does not have any Class 1, 2 or 3 violations between now and March 6, 2022.

Howbeit has won twice since the October violation, including a Feb. 13 victory while carrying a $32,000 tag at Santa Anita. He was claimed from that race by Mark Glatt.

O’Neill, who entered Sunday’s program tied with Bob Baffert as leading trainer by wins with 20 victories from 140 starts, posted the following statement on his Facebook page:

“I take 100% responsibility for the minuscule (parts per trillion) amount of lidocaine detected in one of my horse’s post-race. As the trainer of the horse, the buck stops with me. Lidocaine is prevalent in numerous over-the-counter medications used to relieve pain and itching caused by minor sun burns or other burns, insect bites and the like. Lidocaine is an ingredient in many human creams. I know with certainty that I have never administered lidocaine to any of my horses, ever, and that this has to be an environmental contamination. The amount involved would not affect a horse’s performance.

“I must serve a 10- day suspension for this infraction.

“I am grateful to the CHRB for working with me to settle this matter and I will take the suspension and look forward to moving on from this unfortunate incident.

“As a trainer it’s easy to accept the ‘pats on the backs’ and accolades, but we have to also accept the ‘less than’ moments, equally as well.”

The post ‘The Buck Stops With Me’: O’Neill To Serve 10-Day Ban For Lidocaine Positive appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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