Florida Investigation: Vet Said Cibelli Told Him ‘Keep Me Out of It’

by | 09.18.2013 | 8:26am
Trainer Jane Cibelli
Trainer Jane Cibelli

Orlando Paraliticci sat in his Honda Odyssey, a nervous wreck. Only minutes before, he had been caught by a Tampa Bay Downs official injecting a pain-blocking agent into a horse's right foreleg hours before it was to race – an egregious, illegal act. And now, Jane Cibelli, the trainer the equine veterinarian would later say had ordered him to give the injection, was calling.

He answered his phone warily.

“You stupid mother——!” Cibelli yelled at Paraliticci. She had a few other choice words for him, Paraliticci would later tell state officials.

He returned to Barn 11 to tell Cibelli what had happened.

Association veterinarian Kristen Pastir and veterinary assistant Joelyn Rigione walked by Stall 46 in that same barn around 9:10 a.m. Jan. 27, 2013, just as Paraliticci and his assistant, Marcos Ortiz, were treating Raven Train, who was entered in the afternoon's second race, a $16,000 claiming event. Paraliticci had Raven Train's right front leg flexed and was injecting the area near a large nerve by the accessory carpal bone with 3 milliliters of P Bloc – an anti-inflammatory and pain blocker whose principal agent was Sarapin, a natural substance produced by Sarraceniaceae, a pitcher plant.

Jorge Garibay, who worked as a groom for Cibelli, was holding Raven Train by the lead shank while Ortiz had a nose twitch on the horse. Paraliticci, who saw Pastir and Rigione come onto the scene, finished injecting the leg. Then, switching to a larger syringe (30-to-50 cc's, Pastir estimated), Paraliticci injected what he would later say was a mixture of the anti-bleeder medication furosemide and Solu-Delta-Cortef (a corticosteroid that is permitted on race-day in Florida) into the horse's shoulder.

Knowing he'd been caught in the act doing something illegal, Paraliticci quickly left the stall, saying, “I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.”

Pastir called Doug Murray, an agent with the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau and then notified the stewards what had happened. She then drew three vials of blood from Raven Train. Pastir was unable to retrieve the syringes Paraliticci had used to inject Raven Train's shin and shoulder.

Cibelli was not in the barn when Paraliticci was treating Raven Train. After he explained to the trainer what had occurred, the native of England lit into Paraliticci, the veterinarian would later say to investigators with the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.

“You stupid mother——,” he quoted Cibelli as telling him. “Don't you involve me. Don't tell them I had anything to do with it. Keep me out of it. You better hope this stays in house.”

A report by the state investigator said Paraliticci later told him that he is “terrified of Cibelli.” When asked why, he responded that Cibelli and Tampa Bay Downs vice president of marketing Margo Flynn – the trainer's partner – “have threatened many people with being thrown off the track and being excluded from TBD. They threatened to ruin his business…they have a lot of power.”

The same morning that Paraliticci said Cibelli threatened him, TRPB agent Murray interviewed the veterinarian and the trainer separately. Murray's report said Paraliticci “injected high splint (bone) on his own. He wanted to be a hero; it was a mistake.”

Cibelli expressed surprise to the TRPB agent that Paraliticci would inject the horse in the leg. Her instructions to him for Raven Train when they met that morning around 6 a.m., she said, was “5 cc's Lasix and nothing else.”

Despite the blow-up between them, Paraliticci said he continued to do Cibelli's vet work until Tampa Bay Downs officials kicked him off the premises on Feb. 3, using the track's private property rights of exclusion. In addition to the illegal injection, a search of Paraliticci's vehicle uncovered a gallon jug of a compounded clenbuterol from Essential Pharmacy Compounding of Omaha, Neb. Ventipulmin is the only FDA-approved clenbuterol for use in horses.

Paraliticci said Cibelli called him after he was thrown out of Tampa Bay Downs, reiterating “not to involve her or tell anyone she ordered the treatment pre-race on Raven Train. There was also an implied threat in these phone calls,” a report from investigators said.

Stewards had set a Feb. 15 hearing date for Paraliticci but that was called off after James Decker, investigations supervisor for the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering Office of Investigations, opened complaints against both Paraliticci and Cibelli.

Peter Berube, vice president and general manager of Tampa Bay Downs, said the track was unable to take any action against Cibelli until the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering concluded its investigations. A state official disagrees.

“There is nothing in the law that prevents a permit holder from taking action during the time of an ongoing investigation related to what might be the same subject matter,” said Tajiana Ancora-Brown, director of communications for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations.

Paraliticci retained a lawyer, Michael Sierra, who was present when the veterinarian was interviewed by a state investigator on March 7. Paraliticci said he had worked for Cibelli for over five years, billing her stable approximately $20,000 to $30,000 per month. He added that Tampa Bay vice president Flynn handles Cibelli's bookkeeping. Cibelli received a 15% discount, said Paraliticci, adding that “she took an additional 25% discount when she paid her bill.”

(UPDATE: Jane Cibelli told the Paulick Report she does receive a 15% “prompt payment” discount but the allegation that she “took an additional 25% discount when she paid her (veterinary) bill” is “completely untrue.” The bills go directly to the owner after her approval, she said. “There is no padding of bills. I do not pay owners' vet bills and make money off of that.”

Cibelli said she could not comment on any other aspect of the case until the investigation is closed.)

On the morning of Jan. 27, Paraliticci said, he met with Cibelli between 5:30-6:30 a.m. to discuss that day's treatment of the stable's horses. Both he and assistant Ortiz, who was interviewed on March 13, said Cibelli uses a black and white composition notebook as a “Vet Book.” In the book that day, Paraliticci said, was a note that read: “Raven Train Splint?” It was a problem that Dr. Thomas Brokken had treated with DMSO and ice boots when Raven Train was at Gulfstream Park a month earlier.

“Cibelli told him that the horse Raven Train was to race this date and she ordered him to shoot up the right splint,” the state investigator's report reads. “Paralaticci claimed he was going to object but he knew that Cibelli would threaten and berate him as she has done in the past.” Cibelli advised the veterinarian to use Sarapin, the report states, quoting Paraliticci as saying “that this block is a substance that doesn't show on blood tests.”

When Ortiz was interviewed, he told investigators that he remembered Paraliticci was “upset that Cibelli ordered him to inject Raven Train's right front splint.” While he said he was not in the office when Cibelli and Paraliticci met early the morning of Jan. 27, Ortiz, who had worked for the veterinarian for five years, said he didn't believe Paraliticci when he told TRPB agent Murray he injected the leg on his own. Paraliticci would “only do what he was instructed to by Cibelli or (assistant trainer Robert) Holman,” Ortiz said. He also told investigators there were previous instances where Cibelli or Holman told Paraliticci to do pre-race treatment that involved “pain blocks in legs and hoofs of other horses.” He said Cibelli pays well but “is also very abusive if she doesn't get her way.”

Finally, Ortiz was quoted by investigators as saying that “in his 40 years of dealing and working around horses and being a vet assistant, he had never known a veterinarian to do any work without the trainer's instruction, order or request.”

Holman, who has worked as Cibelli's assistant for over three years, told investigators in a March 19 interview that he “knew nothing” about Raven Train's treatment. He said he never asked Cibelli about the Jan. 27 incident, the injection of Raven Train, or why Cibelli was so upset that morning. In fact, Holman told investigators he was “blissfully unaware” of what was happening.

“Holman's answers appeared to have been coached,” the report from the state investigator said.

On May 15, Paraliticci accepted a 90-day license suspension as part of a stipulated agreement with state officials that said he would “cooperate with the Division's continuing investigation or prosecution of other parties/licensees.”

Cibelli continued to race at Tampa Bay Downs until moving her stable north in the springtime to Monmouth Park in New Jersey, where she was leading trainer in both 2011 and 2012.

Nearly nine months after the Raven Train incident occurred in Stall 46 of Barn 11 at Tampa Bay Downs, the communications director for the state's Department of Business and Professional Regulations said the investigation of Cibelli is “ongoing.”

  • Ben van den Brink

    Ray, keep them busy with this kind of publications

  • Anton Chigurh

    Ray, how about asking Jane and Margo themselves? They’ve been out at Keeneland almost everyday of the sale.

    • Steve

      Kickbacks from vets is also a larger issue which needs to be addressed. Thanks for this article.

      • Don Reed

        It never even occurred to me that they exist.

        • Steve

          OH yes, they definitely exist.

          • Don Reed


            Reminds me of the Manhattan restaurant owners who are getting nabbed shaking down the coat check ladies and the busboys for a cut of the tips.

    • Kim Howell

      all that tells me is they are not even remotely intimidated by this pseudo punishment. they expect racing to be business as usual, obviously what pitiful fine was levied against them is not sufficient to keep them from buying more…

    • Don Reed

      Fumigate that sales ring, please!

  • andy

    Looks like Cibelli is trying to make the vet her scapegoat. What experienced vet would inject these illegal drugs without the trainer’s knowledge? Tampa Bay Downs is trying to put a whitewash on this whole affair. And she was only caught because of bad luck — the track vet was walking by when he was injecting the illegal drug that is untraceable via a blood sample! How many other trainers are getting away with murder? No wonder I rarely bet the races anymore. Why is racing deliberately chasing away its fans and bettors?

    • 4Bellwether666

      Why???…$$$…That’s why…

      • Andy

        Well, THAT was a rhetorical question after all. :)

    • elkton stable

      Try not to implicate thoroughbred racing in general. Instead you can observe how investigations are conducted to preserve racing integrity. Many of these cases are complicated and must be conducted in compliance with existing laws. Every industry has persons that violate public trust and ethics. It is unfortunate that we in the industry get humiliated by those that are self serving to the abandonment of simple common sense. Most of us in racing are just ad apalled by this sort of thing as the general public. Our livelyhood depends on a fair playing field. We have no tolerance for cheaters or those that make stupid unprofessional decisions that jeopardize a horses life or a jockeys. Now if we could clean up our own government in similar fashion we would all be better off. The pendulum is swinging in the right direction. Be patient.

      • Trey

        Ummmmm, no, any other trainer would be off the grounds. TBDs is not shy about ejecting.

      • Monica Horn

        Well said! We shouldn’t judge the entire industry by the lowest standards (which we certainly see personified in this article). I’m hopeful that more and more of this scum will be weeded out…. a cleansing for sure!

      • fooled

        I hope you are right how many horses are going to be damaged by Cibelli when we waite, My horse is already done

    • Candice Smith

      It would seem to me, that if TBD was trying to white wash this, they would have cut it off at the source. The track vet is their employee. Why wouldn’t they just tell her to keep quiet and have their stewards bury it? I think TBD is getting a bad rap on this. I will wait until the state finishes their investigation, then judge Tampa Downs by what they do.

  • wayzer

    Got to give you credit Ray-you give the good and the bad equal attention- having said that after reading this it’s hard to believe this is an isolated incident at one track-this behavior explains why most horses in most races don’t appear to be able to walk let alone run- when you read things like this it makes it very hard to feel confident betting on the horses-no wonder racing is losing fans faster then the FED can print money- it seems that the people of the states that have RACINOS have been duped into subsidizing an industry to save jobs is fraught with cheating that permeates all the way to the track officials-

    • Beach

      They(in this case, FL) should take a good hard look at what they consider “legal” on race day especially. SoluMedrol on race day is not a good sign. I’d bet even human athletes are not allowed to do that, for either pulmonary or anti-inflammatory use. And if a human athlete does, via informed consent and at his/her own risk, and then gets hurt, he or she will be medically treated. BUT, he/she will not have to be “put down” when he/she had nothing to do with the choice, or does not even have the cognition to understand the choice.

      Interesting how those who allegedly have the cognition to understand choices, make bad choices for innocent living things, just to line the former’s pockets. Eeew…

    • Biggar

      I watch some racing almost every day and haven’t noticed all of those horses that appear unable to walk. I guess we are selecting different tracks to watch.

  • jack

    absolutely rancid on so many levels, it sickens me. Just pulled up Cibelli’s Monmouth Park stats for the past 3 years…

    2013 (after the “incident”)….12/111

    go figure!

    I wonder if Cibelli passed those big vet discounts on to her owners? A 40% discount on a 20-30k bill is a pretty nice monthly bonus to put in your (her) pocket if she didn’t!

    • takethat

      I doubt it. How would the owners know?
      I guess this question has to be asked. Is this a sport we are involving
      ourselves in or a money laundering operation for the ‘horsemen’ and their ‘veterinary
      professional’ buddies on the backstretch? It looks to me more like the latter
      than the former.

    • fooled

      never got passed on to us , we paid highest vet bills of any trainer

  • AndrewA

    Good reporting. Have a feeling these types of incidents happen everywhere.

    How many “Lance Armstrongs” are out there?

    • Janet delcastillo

      I’m the one , pedaling furiously behind him…hoping at some point to get a level playing field!

  • Name

    Cibelli and her Tampa Bay official friends should be banned for life. The vet should seek medical help for testosterone injections to assist in his testicular development – then go treat sick birds.

    • Beach

      “Paraliticci said he had worked for Cibelli for over five years, billing
      her stable approximately $20,000 to $30,000 per month. He added that
      Tampa Bay vice president Flynn handles Cibelli’s bookkeeping. Cibelli
      received a 15% discount, said Paraliticci, adding that “she took an
      additional 25% discount when she paid her bill.”

      Wonder what the birds pay…

  • elkton stable

    The fact that Cibellis bookkeeping is done by a Tampa Bay executive vice president is deeply troubling. This is a clear conflict of interest and so potentially perfect for corrupt practice that Tampa Bay needs to go under scrutiny here. No trainer or ir should be in any kind of cozy relationship with track administrators or officials. There is no way I would run a horse at that oval.

    • Christine Dix

      My thought as soon as I read it, in fact, I had to re-read it because it seemed too outrageous to be real.

  • Michael Infurna

    6+ months since the incident and the investigation is still ongoing? Who else are they waiting to interview, the horse? There are 4 people involved in this story/incident, period. If Florida cannot make an informed decision one way or the other based on previous interviews of the people involved, this case will never get fully resolved!! This is why horse players like myself have lost faith in the regulators of this sport.

    What were the results from the vials of blood taken from the horse? Why did the vet throw the syringes away if he admitted injecting the horse? Why was the trainer getting a substantial discount for a massive amount of vet work on a monthly basis?

    • Tinky

      “6+ months since the incident and the investigation is still ongoing? Who else are they waiting to interview, the horse?”

      Good question, and my sources tell me that when asked if Cibelli was telling the truth, the horse responded “Neigh” (alternatively spelled “Nay”).

    • Lawrence Vaccarelli

      their waiting for MR. ED to begin speaking

  • Nayrod

    This isn’t the first episode and the first trainer to let the veterinarian take the fall. Being a track vet is the worst and a hugh chance to have your licensed revoked. What money amount does it take to lose your license?

  • monica horn

    This absolutely sickens me! What are people like Cibelli, Flynn and Paraliticci doing in this industry? They obviously have no regard for the safety of the horses, much less that of the jockeys (ahem… human beings, whose lives are also at stake if just one less-than-sound horse is entered in a race) To work with magnificent animals like the TB horse is an honor and a privilege!!! Scum like these don’t deserve to muck their stalls!!
    Monmouth— Kick her butt out ASAP!! NJ doesn’t want the likes of her soiling our state!

  • Bo Mitchell

    Well I will tell you Ray after you have brought this to the forefront and knowing that still nothing has been done. I feel that the racing industry that means tracks, Owners and trainers are on the road to completely destroying this Great sport! It appears that’s what they want to do, it’s all about today with them. With no concern or well being of the horse, just so much meat and nothing more! I can say all this until I am blue in the face and unless we all stand together and force action on this industry it will continue until it is no more. These are crimes that are being committed against helpless animals at the mercie of the lowest of the low in this world! They all should be prosecuted to the fullest extent by the law and not allowed to even get close to horses or any other animal. The so called upper crust that sit on these boards, this includes gaming, horse industry Owners and trainers care nothing for there horses or anything else except themselfs.What a Sad country we have become and given what is going on here and in our country we may not be here much longer. Our country is going down the tubes more everyday just because of the decay of our Morals, Values, Religion and the lack of Leadership, Courage and conviction. May God Bless all the horses and deliver them from Evil!!!

  • thevoiveoftruth69

    Why would any owner employ such an idiot as Jane Cibelli?

    • 4Bellwether666


    • Bonnie

      Jane made herself and her owners a lot of money at Monmouth Park in 2011 and 2012 on her way to becoming the leading trainer there.
      Jane was driving a used Toyota Highlander. Now she drives a new Mercedes Benz SUV.

      • blackcatlover

        Send her back to her home country.

        • Mike

          Why is she over here in the first place. She would never get away with this in her own country.

        • Roisin

          They probably don’t want her !!!

  • thevoiveoftruth69

    P.S. Peter Berube is a coward.

    • Sal Carcia

      Tampa was the darling of the bettors just a few years ago. They blocked the rebates shops (to some extent) and lowered their takeout. There were days where they outhandled Santa Anita. They have slowly let that slide away. I guess the lax attitude toward supertrainers has hurt them, IMO. I hope Gulfstream doesn’t get stuck with these types anymore than they have already.

    • fooled

      I hope the states findings are bigger then him and she is out of racing

      • betterthannothing

        Fooled, I hope you will sue her, her vet(s) and all enablers for animal cruelty and pain and suffering, go to the police and contact Joe Drape.

        Unfortunately, not a single authority is dedicated solely to protect the welfare and safety of race horses on and off track. Your case and others like yours must be exposed to the public and dealt with outside of the racing industry to force reforms because racing is incapable of policing itself and discount horses as mere livestock, disposable work tools and the inventory.

  • Sylvia Whittaker Butler

    The trainer is solely responsible for the horse at all times.

    • Sal Carcia

      This fact is completely lost in this scenario. It makes it look like a totally corrupt situation.

  • Olebobbowers

    Yikes, this reads like a great novel. One would have to be a ‘stupid mother——!”’to pi** off this trainer…jus sayin’…

  • Patricia Jones

    another negative for racing

    • betterthannothing

      Racing chooses to play with fire and deserves to get burn! Too bad that innocent animals suffer in the process.

      • betterthannothing


  • betterthannothing

    A gallon jug of compounded clenbuterol: what lovely touch!

    On both side of that needle, we have a shameless bunch of crooked horse abusers who don’t give a damn about endangering horses and riders for their financial gains. They are scum and scum is toxic to horses and racing.

    If this industry ever wants to be able to market itself effectively and attract new generations of quality fans, it absolutely needs to purge itself from of the scum and protect its horses and riders from physical and chemical abuse.

    • loopsteer

      I think the only state that still allows cortical steroids on a race day is Florida Since cortical steroids are allowed race day in florida. So I would assume it was some sort of cortisone mixed with a P-Block a agent that killls the nerve endings that goes undetected such as ammonium chloride or ammonium sulfate, or Sarapin (Sarracenia purpurea derived from a Pitcher Plant put ia a alkaline solution) These numbing agents have been become archaic(outdated) since the development of Novocain and all the other cains “lidocaine,carbocaine” & etc but not in the horse world where there where the Cains can be easily detected. Where as P-block or Sarapin is used quite frequintly especially among the high percent trainers who don’t hesitate to have it injected over a splint or shin or even inter articular “directly in the joint” knowing it is not tested anywhere in the country. Maybe Solution: Ban Sarapin, ammonium blocks, P-block from all racetracks in the country. 1st offence one year suspension. 2nd offence LIFE. These drugs have very little medicinal use in this day and age except on a racetrack. Also ban cortical steroids on a race day in florida. Just Saying

  • Farmrose

    Jane said it best. “Keep me out of it!”. Oblige her, boot her out of horseracing. And NO pain blocker, please. And do not forget the less than official, Official. Come on Florida, Get right!

  • betterthannothing

    Isn’t interesting how the word “perception” (of evil by a misguided “urbanized” public) is no longer being used by racing suits!

  • Kathryn Gearhart

    It’s extremely disheartening to find another race trainer that couldn’t care less about the horse. Just more money in her pocket from running a lame horse, and kickbacks in her pocket and making the vet her scapegoat. Six months later & they are STILL investigating. Disappointing. I think we ALL know the truth. Anyone who sends a horse to this so-called trainer obviously doesn’t care about their horse either, nor do they care about how much money they put in this trainer’s pocket.

  • Dee

    She needs to be banned for life from training in the US. It’s awful that trainers feel the need to put winning the race ahead of the welfare of the horse. That’s why I’m particular about the trainers and owners that I like and follow. I know that no one wants to see a horse in pain but treat the pain and then let the horse rest and get well. Don’t mask the pain and then race them.

    • ROISIN

      Not only is it animal abuse but it puts people in grave danger and other horses also. I do believe this is not taken remotely seriously enough. It is a disgrace.

  • bob

    Eh, no problem. They’ll spank her on the wrist and the punters will suffer. The penalties have no teeth. Only the bettors get screwed. Just take a look at Calder. How many of those trainers have been caught doing illegal sh—t and are still training. Hmmm? If the fine is $1,500 dollars, for instance, and the purse is $50,000–that’s a no brainer.

    • betterthannothing

      “Only the bettors get screwed.”

      Wrong, you choose to bet. Miscreants don’t control your fate. Your limbs and lives are not at risk. Unlike that horse, no one forces you to endure a twitch around your upper lip, one turned it so tight that you don’t move while your leg and shoulder are being injected illegally so a morally bankrupt and greedy gang can run you while injured a few hours later, a jockey can whip you to the finish line and all can profit from you!

  • 4Bellwether666

    She and a bunch of others need to be locked up for animal/jockey abuse…If I was the jock that was suppose to ride Raven Train that day I would want to put a *** whipping on her…She’s and the rest of them are sick…Period…

  • fb0252

    should some focus be placed on fact that Ms. Cibelli (and contrite vet) have been caught in the act, and that enforcement mechanisms in this case have worked?

    • Rebekah Lane

      But the enforcement mechanisms haven’t worked against Cibelli. That’s the point of this piece and the others Ray has done.

      • fb0252

        unknown why you’d say that. They were caught! Do the comments overestimate possibly the financial and other resources available and the due process requirements to prosecute this sort of thing? Great that this is exposed! Would be nice though to read a word from those in charge.

  • Tinky

    Oh, and by the way, Cibelli, who was rolling along at around 30% before being put under scrutiny, is currently winning at 15% for the year (which is arguably a bit inflated, given that she wasn’t caught cheating until the end of January).

    Any questions?

    • Arnold H

      Her current record at various tracks is:
      Mon – 12 w/111 = 11%
      Prx – 0/16 = 0%
      Pen – 1 w/7 = 15%
      Del – 7 w/18. = 39%
      Anyone have a feel for why so high at Del?

      • Don Reed

        Because that’s where her best horses are stabled. And meticulously cared for. Babied. Lovingly looked after. Groomed for success. Top notchy in every respect. When they cross the Delaware, to go to the other tracks, they cannot tell a lie. So they don’t. Leave the barn.

  • mike

    She is a disgrace to the training profession and should be banned for life – this endanger’s the horse and jockey – looks like her “girlfriend” at Tampa was running interference – she should be canned as well – read between the lines – the “discount” was actually a “kick-back”.

    • RayPaulick

      Note that in update to story Jane Cibelli flatly denies taking a 25%
      discount and says all vet bills go to the owner for payment.

      • Littleblackhorse

        She has been flatly denying several things since January 27th Ray.

      • Jay Stone

        Just because the vet bills go to the owner doesn’t mean she is not getting kickbacks from this vet once the bills are paid.

  • Steve

    Trainer responsibility, I trained horses 24 years my dad trained them 47 years never once had he or I not told a vet how to treat or medicate a horse, you might confer with your vet but in the end it is the trainers decision, she is lying through her teeth! Shame on the vet also he knew the consequences! Bounce them all!

    • Farmrose

      Sir, Youu are so very right. Thank you.

    • fooled

      I agree she should be asked to leave , Cibelli is 100 lying

  • WTF

    Thanks for keeping us informed and more importantly keeping this terrible act out in the public eye. I hope they finish their investigation before Tampa reopens for racing. I hope TBDs and the state of Florida do the right thing and punish Jane Cibelli accordingly so tohopefully discourage others to stop cheating. Do whats right by the horse. Racing shouldn’t have to suffer because of some heartless greedy trainers

  • LaraH2

    $20,000 to $30,000 a MONTH for veterinary services? what on earth does he do to warrant that kind of money. i gotta tell my ex he is in the wrong area of veterinary medicine. and is she the only trainer he works for?

  • Julio G

    Great Job Ray

  • pauly boy

    a top horsemen, notice I didn’t say trainer, will send this horse home for time off for an injury like that, if the owner has no place to send it..they will pinfire.. or similar treatment and then walk horse back into training several weeks later. why..well because a horse can’t run on a damaged splint bone, not without endangering the life of the horse, the jockey and all the other horses and jockeys he races with. those thoughts never run thru the mind of a trainer or a vet who is doing these kinds of thinks to a horse so it can race. the DMSO and iceboots… doesn’t work, but it does at least let the horse feel his own pain and take care of himself if he needs to slow down because he can feel something going wrong, but it don’t fix what time needs to heel.
    Good experienced caring horse trainers are hard to find nowadays, everyone who has ever spent anytime in a horse barn knows hard work, hay oats and water only get you so far nowadays and its not to the winners circle as often as hard work use to, Just look at the stats of Leroi Jolley and Jack Van Berg the last 15-20 years, great horse trainers who let the horses god given ability carry them around the track, can buy a win.. sad.. even sadder and the vets who took an oath… shouldn’t be fined.. they should lose their privilege to protect and treat racehorses. I do believe this trainer should be made an example of, but by letting the vet tell you of all the terrible things this women has done to broken down horses to get them to race, send her to the same island as Rick Dutrow

    • Jay Stone

      Rick Dutrow’s transgressions were minor compared to this nonsense. He had a long list of minor stuff and New York made an example of him by banning him for 10 years which in essence is a lifetime ban. If this incident had happened in N.Y. She would have been gone immediately with the buffoon who calls himself a vet. She would probably be banned for at least a year.

  • Sal Carcia

    There is a slight New England bent here. I often wondered what happened to Robert Holman. Robert is the son of an old-time top New England trainer Red Holman who came up every year from South Carolina. He had a good one named Kiss and Run. Robert has been in the business since he was a kid. Of course, Margo Flynn was a pre-race handicapper at Rockingham for years. She also trained horses there. I don’t bet Tampa because of supertrainers and I dread it when they ship to Gulfstream.

    • Don Reed

      IS THAT THE SAME “Margo” as the crazy, shrieking lunatic that I used to see on the Albany OTB Channel?!:

      • Sal Carcia

        At Rockingham, she was Margo Creel. Doesn’t sound like your Margo. She was pretty reserved in her presentation. Maybe, it got distorted on the transmission to Albany OTB.

        • Don Reed

          You are correct. I went to Google Images, typed in her name and watched her YouTube video posted by the University of Arizona.
          The person I had in mind was definitely someone else.

          Why the U. of A. continues to keep that video up is beyond me. And they found it necessary to disable the “comments” feature.

          Which, at this point, Tampa Bay Downs would dearly love to do to the Paulick Report.

          • Sal Carcia

            What happened to Tampa? They had such good results with a few customer-oriented moves and then throw it out the window by allowing the supertrainers to dominate the track. Businesses have the right to chose who they want to do business with.

          • Don Reed

            Specifically, corruption happened. When the vet got caught, the management did absolutely nothing to punish the trainer responsible
            for the vet’s actions.

            My guess is that they also incurred a preliminary supertanker full of bad karma when, in 2006, they came down with the hammer on certain jockeys who were suspected of cheating.

            Here’s a small segment of a much larger article by Steve Crist. How this ultimately played out for the ten jockeys involved, I am not well informed:

            “Public In The Dark Over Jockey Bans” (Crist DRF12/24/06)

            Should the target of an ongoing corruption investigation, uncharged with any crime, be allowed to continue working while the authorities pursue their case?

            In most of walks of American life, the presumption of innocence dictates that the target is either allowed to pursue his livelihood until he is formally accused or, at worst, placed on some form of paid leave until his situation is resolved…

            For 10 jockeys who were barred from three Eastern racetracks this week, it’s a very different story. Citing their broad exclusionary powers, the tracks banned these riders for no specific reason beyond secret information they say they have received…

            Most of the riders have declined to comment… some of them seem genuinely bewildered by what is going on. “I am broke down over this,” Joe Judice, one of seven riders banned by Tampa Bay Downs…
            “They are not telling me anything…

            The timing, coordination, & implementation of the bans & investigation
            are, at the very least, peculiar. If the authorities have the goods here, where are the formal charges? If races have been fixed & the public has been cheated, why is this being handled by racing’s private detective bureau instead of state & federal law-enforcement authorities?…

            The tracks that issued the bans – Calder, Philadelphia Park, & Tampa Bay Downs – are all run by reasonable people who would not have wanted to tar their businesses with these possibilities unless they thought it was absolutely necessary…

            There’s certainly some fire behind this smoke, but how much? If similar incidents teach us anything, it’s that investigatory zeal sometimes trumps fairness & actual wrongdoing.

            (End Crist)

  • Richard C

    “I wish I was a horse.” – Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds

    • Jersey Josh

      Jose was the only one who actually told the truth.

  • Magnum50

    They need to clean house , the coverup is obvious. Rid the game of liars and cheats

  • Guest

    What’s really friggin bad is that Berube holds himself and his track a paragon of fairness and honesty while the track did its utmost to bury this story and the facts behind.

    Great job again Ray!

  • Dan Jividen

    This is an important article; perhaps the most important article the Paulick Report has ever run. If thoroughbred racing had more investigative journalism of this type perhaps it could make some headway in the battle against illegal PEDs.

  • Hamish

    Maybe what’s happening at TBay is the investigators are shaking down the parties involved to get at other perpetrators? If they get a handful or so of others that can be found guilty of similar behaviors, then maybe the subject vet, trainer and assistants have their penalties reduced? If they “no talky”, then throw the book at them.

  • Rich M

    As an owner, I would really like to see greater accountability for owners in such cases. Surely no honest owner, or one concerned over their own reputation, would continue to use such an exposed trainer. Yet they do. So, Ray, it’s fair game to at least let us know who they are and give them the publicity they deserve. She is responsible for breaking the rules but these people are responsible for funding and enabling her, and also profiting from her actions.

    While I’m sure few other owners will agree with me, owners who continue to facilitate trainers known to be cheating the rest of us should eventually be held liable themselves. This would have to take the form of civil litigation by bettors or other horsemen, since the regulators are useless.

    By the way, thanks for these articles. You are the only voice willing to report this stuff. The industry-wide (including regulators) conspiracy to push everything under the rug is alive and well.

    • RayPaulick

      The owner of Raven Train is Hannah Smith’s Southwind Stables of Kissimmee, Florida. In April, Daily Racing Form quoted Ms. Smith as saying: “Somebody gave him a shot by accident. That’s all I really know. That’s what Jane told me.” The article said Smith “was told by her trainer that the horse had mistakenly been treated with an antibiotic on race day that was intended for a different horse.”

      • Roisin

        Such naivety !!!

        • Lawrence Vaccarelli

          naïve my ass…complicity more like it.

      • Don Reed

        “I Know Nuting!”

        Say, isn’t “Smith” the equivalent of “Schultz” [Corporal) in the English language?

      • Jay Stone

        Ray, I remember reading that quote and thinking that in the near future that owner would look very stupid. It took a few months but your digging and reporting has done just that.

    • fooled

      We did not know we trusted all the rumors were false ? Well we are so upset she hurt our animal , as new owners we were fooled , she needs to be exposed and out of racing

  • harrydoodle

    what did jane mean by ‘keep this in house’

    • Hamish

      You know “what happens at the racetrack, stays at the racetrack.” Horse racing’s way of covering up violations and keeping things secret among the movers and shakers that control the house. In most cases Jane and vet would be told “just don’t do it again, or at least don’t get caught”, this while the bettors get hosed and fair minded participants get the shaft. Our localized and often corrupted regulatory control mechanisms are out of date and in need of replacement, otherwise what’s left of the sport will spoil.

  • Magnum50

    Hopefully the owner(stella thayer) has had enough of all of them shows them the way to the unemployment office

    • fooled

      She abused us I would tell every owner to look elsewhere

  • ExactaGirl

    THANK YOU so much for this and other articles like it, Ray! You’re the only one digging into stories like this, and they need to be dug into!

  • rachel

    Journalistically speaking, shouldn’t there be a few uses of “allegedly” in your article?

    • RayPaulick

      Dr. Paraliticci signed a stipulated agreement admitting the charges in the state’s lengthy investigative report to be true. The other comments are attributed to the interviews of various parties involved and are part of the state’s report on the matter.

  • Don Reed

    Meet The New Dutrow.

    That’s one phone call you wouldn’t answer if you had your wits about you.

    The investigation will be ongoing in the same manner of speaking of the 70 year-old hippies – busted for possession – claiming that they’re still “experimenting” with marijuana.

    Florida actually has a Department of Business & Professional Regulations?

    At any rate, I visited Tampa Bay one time, eyes wide open. What I’m reading now is revolting, but not a surprise.

    • Jay Stone

      Rick Dutrow and her should Never be mentioned in the same sentence. He is a far better horseman than she ever thought of being.

      • Don Reed

        Agreed. No one can compete with a winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

        • Jay Stone

          Dutrow is a great trainer who has proven it over the years. His minor drug positives do not tell the story of his prowess with horses.

          • Don Reed

            I am certain that this is a great consolation to him, at the same time that he’s splitting the rent of that Florida sugar shack with Mr. Lundy.

      • HunterD

        Jay, you seem like a fairly knowledgeable person, so to back R. Dutrow and call his violations “minor drug positives” is disappointing. Loaded Hypodermic syringes and a litany of positives, the FBI doesn’t need to be called din to know he’s a cheat.

  • harry

    This is so disgusting in so so many ways. Cibelli,Margo Flynn and Berube should all be terminated. Cibelli should be ruled off Tampa Bay forever. She ordered her groom to tap the knees of this horse so horse would not feel pain when he ran. I am sure other trainers do same thing but SHE GOT CAUGHT!!!!! How can anybody connected with Tampa Bay Downs work independently for a trainer who has a stable on grounds. Margo Flynn working for Cibelli as a bookkeeper sad so sad and Berube did not know this was going on????? Talk about favoritism. Nothing but a cover up for Cibelli by Berube. Investigations don’t take this long. Berube had no problem evicting 6 jockeys off Tampa Bay Downs grounds without giving any reason and did not take months just a matter of hours. No wonder horse racing is on life support. A sad situation for all concerned and the integrity of Cibelli,Flynn and Berube seriously damaged. Another black eye for horse racing.

    • Lawrence Vaccarelli

      Excellent Harry I was thinking the same thing about those jockeys……it stinks to high heaven in Tampa

    • fooled

      Distroyed a new owner in the game , Cibelli should be gone

  • Garrett Redmond

    “He said” … …”She said”
    Our laws give a basic right: Innocent until proven guilty.
    Why is it necessary to remind all the ‘Judge Lynchs’ that up to this date a trial has not been
    afforded any of the parties?
    The matter is over six-months old. Remember, justice delayed is justice denied.

    • fb0252

      good post! there’s a process, and a lot is involved!

  • harrydoodle

    jane was ray stafanos asst for years need I say more

  • SusanKayne

    Not like NY where the vets change their stories 18 months after the fact!

  • LL

    Many years ago we had a horse that had been given a nerve block which we did not know about. The horse broke down and the track vet said she had never seen a break that bad. Needless to say we never used that trainer again. I was mortified. I pray that no one has to go through that and that this woman has her trainer’s license taken away. She sounds like an evil person just by the way she treats people and horses.

    • Steve

      Who was the trainer?

    • fooled

      She is thank you ???

  • jack

    UPDATE: Jane Cibelli told the Paulick Report she does receive a 15% “prompt payment” discount……The bills go directly to the owner after her approval, she said. “There is no padding of bills. I do not pay owners’ vet bills and make money off of that.”

    Do the owners get the 15% discount for “prompt payment”???

    • Sue M. Chapman

      Sounds more like a 15% commission for using that vet…as payment for ???

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    2 questions…
    1. How is having the VP of a track as your book keeper not a glaring conflict of interest on sheer face value?
    2. Why is this investigation taking so long? I am all for due process and believe it has its place in proving guilt or innocence, but these 5 year long type investigations are getting to be ridiculous. I never understood it. One would think if an accused really felt they did no wrong…why not expedite the whole process and prove it?? I see this all the time in the animal cases I deal with in a shelter. All the defense does is continue, continue, continue whenever they can to avoid an actual hearing. It really should be the investigation has a time limit placed on it to get it done. Then there is a hearing. Can’t make the hearing?? Well..you or an immediate family member should be dead or very near dead as the only viable excuse. Otherwise…tough…show up and state your case.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Shame on the Stewards at Tampa Bay as well as the Florida Division of Pari-Mutual Wagering for failing to remove Cibelli from the grounds, as well as suspending her girlfriend.
    Worse, shame on New Jersey for licensing her, but most of all for not denying her the grounds. Monmouth horsemen were so desperate to race, they welcomed Cibelli and owners with all the stalls she wanted. Made those four horse races fill.

    This was an opportunity for horsemen and Commissions outside of Florida to show strength, integrity and unity in a sport that desperately needs all the kudos it can garner on both sides of the Stable Gate.

    • E. Nick Witty

      2 of the 3 stewards at Tampa Bay Downs are association stewards; therefor they are answerable to GM Peter Berube.

  • Jersey Josh

    Overall seems like Florida has a problem and these clowns just work the system that is given to them. I have long refused to wager a race with an entry from this wack job and completely agree with others that the combo of Margo doin the books is a conflict and Berube let it happen.
    So I ask who has pictures of who?

  • Bonnie

    As I type this, the racing partnership Jane runs under, “Goodwood Racing”, has purchased 3 yearlings totaling 127K at Keeneland.
    CRIME PAYS…sadly

    • HogHater

      “Goodwood Racing” is Jane’s partnership?

      • Bonnie


        • HogHater

          Outside investors or “close” partners?

          • Don Reed

            The expression is “closely held.”

      • Don Reed

        Figures she’d use the same name assigned to a consequently disastrous WWII English-Canadian military offensive (1944 Normandy).

        What’s the next brainstorm, ‘Gallipoli Galloping”?

  • harrydoodel

    ray your killing me you came out with this and jane from 35 per cent to 10 please don’t write anything about Cartagena or vazqez at del park im just trying to make some money

    • Hamish

      DelPark may have gone to the “dark side.” Begging for horses, just get the ones you have out there on the racetrack mentality, no matter what has to be done. This place has lost a lot of fan, bettor and legitimate horsemen support.

  • Anthony m

    Rob Holman was a nice young man when I met him years ago in new england

    • Bonnie

      In Jane’s barn, the “man” has become a gelding.

  • jack

    DRF allows readers to voice their opinions every Sunday in “letters to the editor”….Jane Cibelli did so back in September, 2009….here is what she wrote:

    Let me see if I understand correctly Kent Stirling, director of the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, in regard to the positive tests for trainers Greg Griffith, Rodolfo Garcia and Alan Benson, as told in the Sept. 11 Calder Notes item “Three trainers appeal suspension.”

    Had these trainers realized the penalty for administering a banned substance was going to be so harsh they would not have done it. (By the way, the state can prove the medication was given on race day, it seems, which is absolutely forbidden in any racing jurisdiction.) Stirling is complaining that what once was a $300 fine now includes a 60-day suspension. Well, I say, finally the state is doing something.

    Mr. Stirling is supposed to represent the horsemen as a whole, and I can assure you the vast majority of us want racing cleaned up. Our great sport is under a dark cloud with some cheats taking shortcuts and trying to get away with running horses on illegal medications, and there is the director of a horsemen’s association whining that the testing is more sensitive than it used to be, rather than berating these trainers for taking a shot.

    Yes, gentlemen, you took a shot and you got caught. Your only defense is it did take too long for the state to inform you, but if you blatantly break the rules, then you have to be prepared to pay the consequences. Let’s face it, this is not even a case of getting a little too close with a daily medication by accident.

    Jane Cibelli – Long Branch, N.J.

    • Jay Stone

      Very interesting comment by someone condemning others. She was a low percentage trainer back the. Those trainers took their penalties back then and moved on. The HBPA defended them because of the testing levels and none of them are constant abusers.

    • Don Reed

      Thanks for reposting this. The classic hypocrite caught with her knickers twisted.

  • were watching

    The horse gets a pain blocker, and then is sent out to race. This is disgusting, and when the horse breaks his leg, I’m certain the pain is indescribable for a human to acknowledge. No time for these perps. I refuse to bet a nickel in TBD until this one is gone for good, and her friend.

  • lisa

    ray you don’t know who your mesing with when jane see.s you your in for a wupping

  • Christine Dix

    It looks like the groom is the only person who cared about the horse and the truth. Bless you Marcos Ortiz. And bless you, Ray. Nobody else wishes to stand up for who really matters here-Raven Train.

  • Lawrence Vaccarelli

    look these two carpet munchers Flynn and cibelli should be booted off the property in handcuffs for crying out loud…I will never bet a dime at tampa again.

  • Darlene Allison Anders Sanner

    thanks for update on what has been going on with this or what hasn’t been going on with it Had been wondering But my one thing hasn’t been updated and that is any info on the horse Where is Raven Train now? Who is owner? Have they left the horse with Cebilli? Or,hopefully,retired or somewhere getting proper treatment for the splint?

    • Otis

      Equibase shows Raven Train to have worked at Oakridge Equine Center in August.

  • magnum50

    Tampa bay g.m. says jane never gets any special treatment due to her relationship with margo, BIG FIB # 312

  • magnum50

    jane,margo, pete etc..etc… Sorry this story doesnt go away until you do !!!!!!!!

  • hh

    Guys, I bet there are many trainers that add a markup to vet bills. Cibelli is scum and will soon be batting 5%. The real Cibelli has surfaced and it aint pretty. She is the female Rick dutrow.

  • Treylet

    Tampa bay is a fixed track. TBD official friendly. Horses and horsemen a necessary evil. This disgusts me.

  • coach

    I’ve read all the reports and the comments in disgust.I’ve watched her operation each morning I watch our horse train. She oversees everything that transpires with her operation from when the sun comes up and her assistant is never more than an arms length away. Their comments are not creditable.
    This year Monmouth requires a ‘horse in today’ sign next to your stall the day you are in- the Cibelli rule. Strangely, she is just 12 for 111(11%) at Monmouth this year but is 7 for 18 at Delaware(39%)….. I’ll leave it to your readers to draw their own conclusions.
    Finally, the tracks don’t need to do anything with someone this greedy. The FED would be very interested in the dubious billing practices to make sure the proper taxes were paid….that’s how they took down Capone when the officials turned a blind eye.

  • Roisin

    Because they will not be working if they do not adhere to the “code of silence”. Also, horses are physically abused and workers are afraid to come forward because of retaliation. Plus, even if bad situations / incidents are brought to the attention of track officials, nothing meaningful is done to the perpetrator. More often than not, “investigations” and ” hearings” are a joke and everybody knows this.
    Not only do the perpetrators lie through their teeth, they get away with it !

    • betterthannothing

      Roisin, what you say is sad but true. It is also sad to watch jockeys choose to take risks created by those who care more about money and power than horses and riders, rely on the latest safety helmets and vests, watch them pray before a race and thank God when they pull up safely, fight about who pays for their high-risk, super expensive insurance instead of demanding reforms to prevent abuse and reduce the carnage!

  • Sandi York

    Just what racing needs in this struggling industry huh?

  • Sandi York

    There’s a little clause with every issued racetrack license. They reserve the right to eject anyone at any time for being an undesirable. Maybe it should be implemented here or does she really have that much “pull”? Get the f….. outta here.

  • vinceNYC

    The bills go directly to the owner after her appr.oval, she said. “There is no padding of bills. I do not pay owners’ vet bills and make money off of that…….just another way the vampires suck blood from owners

  • Francis Bush

    There seems to be no limit and certainly no end to the abuses in managing our most wonderful thoroughbreds. Imagine giving a child a shot before they play a little league game just so they can participate. What has happened to integrity and trust? Horse racing may fall into the same trap as professional baseball. Sorry minded people infect the system.

  • Looking under the Wrong Rock

    Cibelli is not the only doping problem in Florida. It should also be noted that the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering’s records on doping at the traditional quarter horse racing at Hialeah (so often praised by Mr. Paulick as “legitimate” horse racing) shows that on average 1 winner per day at Hialeah (out of 8 races) is impermissibly doped. 150 days of racing since 2009 and 150+ drug positives. And since on average only 2 horses per race are tested, it is likely that many other untested horses were also doped. Kind of makes Cibelli look like an isolated incident compared to the widespread doping culture rampant in the “legitimate” quarter horse industry in Florida. Kind of explains why Hialeah’s handle averages about $30K per day–as it is hard to handicap how impermissible doping will impact a horse’s performance.

  • LadyJ

    Has Tampa Bay Downs made any sort of response to this article? I am not seeing anything, but considering the extent of the corruption implicated here and who exactly is in charge of this investigation? Is it a biased or unbiased party?

  • SnarkyEyeCanB

    THIS is why horse racing lost its huge weekend crowds over the years. NOT competition from other sports or forms of gambling.

  • Black Helen



  • JT

    Word is that anyone who claimed off of Cibelli, would NOT get any stalls the following racing season.

  • Sandi York

    Remember Mike Gill? I hear he’s slithering back in the game. These two probably lunch together. We have got to get rid of this element.

  • guest2

    It is difficult to guard a shedrow 8760 hours a year when purses are $7500.00. Owners need to realize it is a tough game for these horses running. If you are going to drink some beer, do you want a thick beer mug or a fine china tea cup? If you need a pharmacy to get a return on your investment, it’s time to breed a horse made of substance. Show me a Triple Crown winner that just needs some oats and hay,

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