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Doug O'Neill

In The News:

 Biography, Highlights and Media:  

  • Born: May 24, 1968, Dearborn, Mich.
  • Residence: Santa Monica, Calif.
  • Family: wife Linette, children Daniel and Kaylin Dixie. Credits brother Dennis, his chief assistant, with getting him started in training.
  • Web site:
  • Has saddled 25 Breeders' Cup starters previously, with three winners: Stevie Wonderboy in the 2005 Juvenile, Thor's Echo in the ’06 Sprint and Maryfield in the inaugural Filly & Mare Sprint in ’07. All three won Eclipse Awards in their divisions. Finished second in the Juvenile twice, with He’s Had Enough in 2012 and with Square Eddie in 2008.
  • Won back-to-back runnings of the Santa Anita Derby (G1) with Goldencents in 2013 and I’ll Have Another in 2012. Goldencents in 2013 also has won the Sham S. (G3) and competed in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
  • Was on the wildest ride of his career in the spring of 2012 when he saddled I'll Have Another to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. However, as often happens, despair followed as the 3-year-old colt suffered tendinitis and was pulled from the Belmont Stakes, ending his quest for the Triple Crown. Later, owner J. Paul Reddam sold the dual classic winner to Japanese interests for $10 million.
  • During I’ll Have Another’s Triple Crown season, O’Neill befriended Hope Hudson, a 12-year-old from Missouri who is battling a rare disease, after meeting her on the backstretch of Churchill Downs Derby week and brought her into the winner's circle for both the Derby and Preakness. She and her family were at Churchill for her first up-close look at the Thoroughbreds she loves, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Hope was with O’Neill at Santa Anita in 2013 to see Goldencents’ victory.
  • In addition to Goldencents, O’Neill has saddled 2013 graded stakes winners Concave (Sorrento S. G2), Renee’s Titan (Santa Ynez S. G2), Handsome Mike (Commonwealth S. G3), and Richard’s Kid (Cougar II H (G3). Several of O’Neill’s clients purchased Richard’s Kid in the middle of 2012, and Richard’s Kid ran fifth in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
  • A perennial leading trainer in Southern California in recent years, he has won 25 titles on the circuit since 2002, including the spring/summer Hollywood Park and Del Mar titles in 2010. The Hollywood Park title was his fifth for the spring/summer meet. In 2007, he tied with Jeff Mullins, each saddling 26 winners, a record number for a Hollywood Park spring meet ... Most recently he was leading trainer at the 2011 Fairplex meet.
  • Associated with one of the greatest claim stories in racing history with Lava Man. Claimed for $50,000 at Del Mar in Aug. 2004, the gelding was retired in Aug. 2008 with earnings of $5,268,706, more than $5-million since the claim by S T D Racing and Jason Wood. In 2006, Lava Man swept Southern California's top three races for older horses – the Santa Anita Handicap, Hollywood Gold Cup and Del Mar's Pacific Classic – the first time any horse won all three races in the same year. (Game On Dude became the second horse to accomplish the feat in 2013.) Lava Man's third successive Hollywood Gold Cup in 2007 put him in the record books with the legendary Native Diver as the only other horse to accomplish the feat. With the Gold Cup win over Hollywood Park's Cushion Track, Lava Man became the first horse in history to win a G1 race over three different surfaces ... Lava Man now serves as a stable pony for O'Neill, and foreman Sabas Rivera most often rides him. Lava Man likes to stroll through the shedrow after his work is done and help himself to the grain bin, as captured on YouTube:                                      
  • Won his 1,000th North American race when No Means Maybe captured the Bustles and Bows at Fairplex Park Sept. 13, 2007 … O'Neill's first stakes win was Tanks Forthemusic in the 1996 CTBA Marian Stakes at Fairplex Park. O’Neill is approaching 2,000 wins and has total purse earnings of more than $86 million, putting him 20th on the all-time trainer list.
  • First major stakes winner was Classy Cara, winner of the 2000 Fantasy Stakes and Honeymoon Handicap … Won his first Grade 1 race when Sky Jack scored in the 2002 Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) ... Won the 2003 Japan Cup Dirt with 48-1 longshot Fleetstreet Dancer, a $40,000 claim by O'Neill in 2002.
  • Named California Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Trainer of the Year in 2002 and 2006.
  • Other stakes winners trained include Enriched (a half-brother to Lava Man), Informed, Necessary Evil, Acting Lady, Sharp Lisa, Supah Blitz, Cobalt Blue, Notional, Great Hunter, Shamdinan, Excessivepleasure and Super Freaky.
  • Considers his operation a team effort, his stable often called Team O’Neill. In addition to his brother, Dennis, who is not only his major assistant but buys most of the horses at sales, Leandro Moro and Jack Sisterson also are assistant trainers. Other key people in Team O’Neill are Steve Rothblum, Sharla Sanders, and Nancy Rodriguez. O’Neill has four foremen: Fausto Cepedes, Carlos Pena, Benjamin Perez, and Sabas Rivera.
  • Began working at the track in 1986, right out of high school, and learned under Jude Feld, Hector Palma and Doug Peterson before taking out his license in 1994.

Breeders' Cup Record

2004Juvenile FilliesSharp Lisa6th
2005JuvenileJealous Profit10th
 JuvenileStevie Wonderboy1st
2006ClassicLava Man7th
 DistaffSharp Lisa6th
 JuvenileGreat Hunter3rd
 SprintThor's Echo1st
2007Filly & Mare SprintMaryfield1st
 Juvenile FilliesGrace Anatomy7th
2008Dirt MileSlew's Tiznow10th
 Dirt MileSlew's Tizzy11th
 JuvenileAzul Leon9th
 JuvenileSquare Eddie2nd
 Juvenile FilliesBlack Magic Mama8th
2009Turf SprintSquare Eddie10th
2010Turf SprintQuick Enough10th
2012ClassicHandsome Mike9th
 ClassicRichard's Kid5th
 JuvenileHe's Had Enough2nd
 SprintBoxeur des Rues13th

NOTE: Stats include North American and selected international races. Click here to view selected international race list.

Biographies on jockeys, trainers and owners are from the Breeders' Cup World Championships events from 2001 through 2009, and are intended as informational resources. Biographies will be updated if an individual is again a participant in the Breeders' Cup World Championships.

Biographies are available for most horses appearing in the top 100 money earnings list, and/or for those who are frequently making headlines in the news starting with the 2006 Triple Crown season.


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