INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) --- Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O'Neill has been suspended 45 days as a result of one of his horses exceeding the allowable limit for total carbon dioxide. But the punishment won't begin before July 1, ensuring he will be able to saddle I'll Have Another in next month's Belmont Stakes.
The suspension comes in the midst of I'll Have Another's bid to become horse racing's first Triple Crown winner in 34 years.
The colt trained by O'Neill won the Derby and then the Preakness last Saturday, and is preparing to run in the Belmont on June 9.
The California Horse Racing Board met in a closed session Thursday at Betfair Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif., to consider the recommended decision of a hearing officer in O'Neill's case.
Meanwhile, Dale Romans has the horse that will likely be the second choice behind I'll Have Another when the morning line odds for the Belmont Stakes come out in Dullahan.
Dullahan sat out the Preakness after finishing 3rd in the Kentucky Derby and is a deep closer many experts consider to be well suited for the 1 1/2 mile race at the track nicknamed 'Big Sandy'.
"I think he's the main horse that can be the spoiler for the Triple Crown," said Romans Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.
But Romans warns the usual formula for Dullahan will not suffice, if his colt is to extend the longest Triple Crown drought to 35 years.
"I think most of the people think he can run a mile and a half because he's been such a deep closer his last few races, but that's a bit of a misnomer with the Belmont," said Romans. "Mile and a half race, you have to be a little closer. You can go back and watch the history of the Belmont, and you don't see a horse coming from dead last."
Romans said Dullahan can do whatever he wants and lay closer to the lead if called upon to do so. Romans also said Dullahan definitely has the endurance where the distance won't be a problem.
Potentially adding to Dullahan's chances, Romans has been training Dullahan solely for the Belmont in preparation for a mile and a half, where I'll Have Another is coming off the 1 3/16 mile Preakness with only 3 weeks between races.
Asked how good I'll Have Another is, considering he was not favored in either of the first two jewels of the Triple Crown, Romans said the jury was still out after the Derby but not the Preakness.
"The Derby was a nice race. I thought he ran big, but I thought any of the first five horses could've won with different trips," said Romans. "The Preakness impressed me...I thought Bodemeister had it all his own way, was running at the end, and I'll Have Another ran him down."
The Daily Racing Forum's early Belmont projected odds has I'll Have Another as the 4-5 favorite, with Dullahan at 5-1. Bodemeister is not expected to be entered by Bob Baffert.