In an effort to ensure that nobody slips a ‘roid-laced carrot into anyone’s feed tub, racing officials will be enforcing super-strict barn security measures in the run-up to the Belmont.
The measures in include:
-All horses entered in the race will be housed in a single highly secured barn beginning three days before the race
-Upon entry to the barn, all horses will be subjected to a blood test
-The barn will be guarded 24/7
-Only a limited number of visitors will be permitted to enter, and each entry and exit will be logged
-Searches and checks of all equipment, feed, hay and bales will be conducted
-Veterinarians will be allowed to enter with an escort upon appointment, and must provide written notice of intended treatment before they perform any treatment. On race day, treatment will only be allowed in case of emergency or by agreement with the stewards.
There is speculation that the extraordinary precautionary measures appear to be directed toward I’ll Have Another trainer Doug O’Neill, who has a history of more than a dozen doping violations in four states. Last week, he was served a 45-day suspension by California regulators for another violation. (He won’t be forced to serve the suspension until after the Belmont.)
With a Triple Crown title on the line, heightened restrictions may help the public feel more confident that the Belmont is being run in a clean and fair manner.
O’Neill agreed to the security measures and, additionally, will submit veterinary records for I’ll Have Another to officials after any treatment. He also stated that he intends to ask officials to allow him to move the horse to the secured barn as soon as possible.