Trainer Doug O’Neill said that he is “disappointed” in the comments made by Secretariat’s former owner, Penny Chenery, when she criticized the connections of 2012 Triple Crown candidate I’ll Have Another for employing him as the horse’s trainer.
‘’It’s disappointing because of how much respect I have for Mrs. Chenery,’’ O’Neill said Tuesday from the Belmont Park backstretch where he is preparing I’ll Have Another for a date with destiny (the June 9 Belmont Stakes). ‘’I would love to have her hang out with me for a week and would stress to her, ‘Don’t believe everything that is written’.’’
O’Neill has been fined four times and currently faces a 45-day suspension because one of his horses was found to have an excess level of total carbon dioxide following a race.
The now 90 year-old Chenery, a respected figure in Thoroughbred industry and who owned the great Secretariat in 1972 and 1973, questioned why J. Paul Reddam would work with O’Neill in the first place.
‘’I think it is regrettable. And it isn’t the horse’s fault and this is probably a very good horse,’’ Chenery said last week. ‘’I don’t know Mr. Reddam personally, but I think he should be embarrassed that the trainer he has chosen does not have a clean record.’’
O’Neill continues to insist that he abides by the rules. He believes Chenery would approve of his operation if she was more familiar with it.
‘’I think she’d be happy with the way things happen around the barn,’’ he said.