May 16, 2012 4:41 PM
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas criticized the behavior of a few of his peers Wednesday, saying the actions of a few recent Kentucky Derby winners have tarnished the reputation of his profession.
Speaking at Pimlico Race Course, site of Saturday's Preakness, Lukas said, "I'm very disappointed as a trainer that we have the stigma of some of our Derby winners not carrying the banner."
He cited Rick Dutrow, who is appealing a 10-year suspension in New York for multiple medication violations, and Chip Woolley, who last year allegedly urinated on slot machines at a track in Iowa.
Lukas also mentioned I'll Have Another trainer Doug O'Neill, who won the Derby on May 5 but faces charges of drugging a horse in California. O'Neill has denied the accusation.
"We've got Dutrow under suspension. We've got Chip Woolley (urinating) on the slot machines in casinos. And now Doug, at least, has some gray area hanging over him," said Lukas, who will saddle Optimizer in the Preakness.
"That bothers me, frankly. I think those guys are all good enough they don't need for there to be doubts. I think they can train horses and not have that problem in front of them. They can do it the right way. That's just the way I feel. I would say that if they were standing right here."
Dutrow's Big Brown won the Derby and Preakness in 2008. He sends out long shot Zetterholm in the Preakness.
Woolley in 2009 trained long shot Derby winner Mine That Bird, who ran second in the Preakness. Last year, security staff escorted Woolley from the casino at Prairie Meadows Racetrack.
O'Neill, meanwhile, has been accused by the California Horse Racing Board for "milkshaking," the illegal practice of giving a horse a blend of bicarbonate of soda, sugar and electrolytes. The mixture is designed to reduce fatigue and enhance performance.
"We played by the rules and I am vigorously fighting the previous allegations," O'Neill said Wednesday.
O'Neill faces his third total carbon dioxide violation in California and fourth in a career that has spanned 25 years.
O'Neill's most recent violation dates from an Aug. 25, 2010, race at Del Mar in California. A blood test on his horse Argenta showed elevated levels of TCO2 before it finished eighth.
He faces penalties ranging from a minimum 90-day suspension and a $5,000 fine to a maximum 180-day suspension and fine of $15,000 depending on whether a hearing officer's report finds aggravating circumstances or not.
"I'll Have Another, along with every other horse in our barn goes through an intense physical exam and a blood and urine exam," O'Neill said. "We run pure horses. We run a great operation, and anyone who comes to our barn all know that we love the horses and do everything we can to keep them at the top of their game. If I didn't win the Derby, you guys wouldn't be asking that."
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