Favored Horse Could Ride To Victory At Belmont

By: CBS (Posted by Kion Hudson)
By: CBS (Posted by Kion Hudson)

(CBS)-- It's been 34 years since a racehorse won the Triple Crown - the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. But it could happen this weekend. This year's contender, I'll Have Another, needs just one more win at New York's Belmont Park on Saturday for him to win the coveted Triple Crown.

Millions will tune in, but few have more riding on him than the horse's controversial trainer Doug O'Neill. He coached the thoroughbred through his last two big wins at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. But O'Neill is in the spotlight - not only for his latest wins, but for a series of past drug offenses and violations involving some of his other horses.

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New York Times writer Joe Drape, who has written about horse racing for 15 years, says O'Neill has had more than a dozen medication violations in four states. He said, "We have a trainer, a very likable trainer, Doug O'Neill, who as soon as this will be done, is gonna serve a 45-day suspension, so it's all kind of come together right here - the glory of the industry and the problems of the industry."

Trainer O'Neill suspended by Calif. racing board

When asked about why accusations about performance-enhancing concoctions have persisted, O'Neill told CBS News, "Actually I just spent a lot of money and vigorously contested them and I'm here to say there was no wrong-doing found. We know we played by the rules, we have an incredible staff. Bottom line, we've got an incredible horse - it's all about the horse and trying to make history."

In an unprecedented move, New York racing officials are requiring all horses competing in the Belmont Stakes to spend several days leading up to the race in so-called "detention barns." They are under 24-hour surveillance to prevent any potential illegal activity.

No matter the outcome of Saturday's race, I'll Have Another will make history, either as the 12th horse to win or the 12th to try and fail since the last triple-winner, Affirmed, was crowned in 1978.


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