Nagle: An Open Letter to Tampa Bay Downs

by | 09.20.2013 | 7:55am

When I visited Tampa Bay Downs last March, owners and trainers I spoke with were up in arms over the lack of action by track management against trainer Jane Cibelli, whose veterinarian, Dr. Orlando Paraliticci, was caught illegally injecting a pain blocking agent into the right front leg of one of Cibelli's horses on the morning it was to race. Paraliticci was banned from Tampa Bay one week after the incident and subsequently suspended 90 days by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, the state's regulatory agency. To date, no action has been taken by the state or Tampa Bay Downs against Cibelli, who has both a personal and business relationship with track vice president of marketing and publicity, Margo Flynn.

Sentiment then among horsemen and women we spoke with was that Tampa Bay Downs management was sweeping the incident under the rug because of Cibelli's relationship with Flynn. It is an allegation vice president and general manager Peter Berube vehemently denies.

Shortly after the January incident occurred, Reid Nagle, a Thoroughbred owner and trainer who was founder and CEO of the financial information company SNL Financial, wrote a letter to Tampa Bay Downs owner Stella Thayer, urging her to handle the matter appropriately and take further steps to crack down on perceived cheating that has allowed certain trainers to win races at uncommonly high percentages.

Eight months later, Nagle has written the following open letter to Thayer and Berube, explaining why he has opted not to return to Tampa Bay Downs and is urging others to do the same.

Dear Ms. Thayer and Mr. Berube:

I've raced at Tampa Bay Downs for the past three seasons (having obtained my trainers license in September 2010) and stabled there for the past two. For the 2011-12 meet, I had 10 wins, both as owner and trainer, and ranked as the fourth-leading owner. At the end of the meet, I introduced myself to Peter Berube, outside his office, thanked him for providing such a fun racing venue, and told him that I planned to be around for the next 20 years. During last year's meet, I had seven wins, again as owner and trainer, and ranked as the ninth-leading owner. But this time, I finished the year in a very different frame of mind.

If you recall, only a few days after Jane Cibelli's veterinarian was caught blocking the leg of one of her horses running that same day, I sent Ms. Thayer a letter. While I speak only for myself, it seemed clear to me that how Tampa Bay Downs responded to the Cibelli situation was something owners, trainers and bettors would be watching closely. What owner or trainer wants to compete with someone who is cheating, apparently with the tacit endorsement of management, meaning that honest owners and trainers are running for second- or third-place money at best, particularly at a track that's known for its parsimonious purses? And what bettor in his or her right mind wants to participate in a game that he or she believes is rigged, all with the tacit endorsement of track management?

Tampa Bay Downs' response to the Cibelli situation could not have been more disappointing. They ruled the vet off the track within days, but Jane Cibelli, despite the well-known trainer responsibility rule, continued racing for the remaining three months of the meet. When questioned by Ray Paulick, Peter Berube made the false claim that the state's handling of the case tied their hands. Well Peter Berube, to that I say “horse caca.”

Meanwhile, Cibelli's domestic partner, Margo Flynn, vice president of marketing for Tampa Bay Downs, continued to perform both her daytime job and her apparent nighttime job of managing Ms. Cibelli's books. And eight months later, no disciplinary action has been taken against the trainer. In England, within days of such an infraction, the offending trainer would have been banned for life, and a strong signal would have been sent to other cheats and potential cheats.

When Gulfstream Park announced this summer that they'd have year-round racing, I decided that 20 more years racing against the cheaters endorsed by Tampa Bay Downs didn't make a lot of sense. I applied for stalls at Gulfstream, and Jeff Noe and his team graciously accommodated my request for four stalls. Most of my horses are based at Oak Ridge Equine Training Center north of Ocala, and I rotate them between the training facility and the primary track where I race, which is now Gulfstream (and decidedly not Tampa).

I encourage others – bettors, trainers and owners – to make the switch as well. There should be no room in this sport for cheating, and especially for cheaters who are caught and given a free get-out-of-jail card. Without effective regulation and oversight, the only way to get this message across is for bettors and horsemen who want an honest sport to vote with their feet, hooves and dollars.


Reid Nagle, Trainer
Big Lick Farm
Morriston, FL 32668

  • Tinky

    Well done, Mr. Nagle. This industry, of which Tampa Bay is currently an accurate microcosm, tends to take meaningful action on difficult issues only when palpable pressure is brought to bear. In fact, if it weren’t for the threat of Federal involvement, steroids would undoubtedly still be in use today.

    Other courageous participants join Nagle in sending the clearest possible message.

  • Andy

    I couldn’t agree more.I think ALL horsemen and bettors should boycott Tampa Bay Downs to send a strong message that we are fed up with the cheating in the sport and that we will not tolerate it.If this happens in a united way,a message would be sent to all racetracks.I really think that they would all take notice if if a meet was shut down or lost money on the handle that it really hurt them.Let all the horsemen and bettors unite and make this happen.Pass the word around to everyone you can,

  • AndrewA

    Outstanding letter Mr. Nagle. We need more people like you in horse racing.

  • Fooled

    I respect you greatly . We are owners who made the mistake of putting our horse in the care of this trainer . What a disgrace , the horse has never been the same and we had the highest bills in the sport, good way to run owners out of the industry, Tampa you should be hideing in shame , she should be banned for life

    • Sandi York

      Thanks for sharing. Something has got to be done about this lady she’s bad for the business. We people in this sport should demand no less than a lifetime ruling.

      • nu-fan

        Fans, including those who wager, don’t like cheating either.

        • Sandi York

          Good for you. Spread the word and rally the troops.

          • Sandi York

            More important than the love of the sport is the love of this magnificent animal, the horse.

          • Olebobbowers

            True that Sandi! As a trainer most of my life, almost every owner I had as a client tried to get me to run a horse that needed more time before they were sound and ready to run. I can’t say how many times I told them “If you don’t respect and care about your horse dying on the race track, how about the jockey’s that might also die?’ That statement was made just before I quit or got fired. I kept it down to training for those that cared about their horses, and it sure did keep me down to one or two horses most of the time, but as I sit here retired and living off memories, I can honestly say I feel comfort knowing my life was dedicated to protecting these amazing creatures God has provided us thinking we would protect. I feel the same about children, of which I had two. Thank you Sandi, for the wonderful comment!

          • Mimi Hunter

            Good for you. I think it would be a nice idea for all of us to make TBD aware of our feelings on this matter. They would probably ignore rude or bashing type letters, but it wouldn’t wise for them to ignore a bunch of well written letters.

          • Matthew Martini


            This sport needs more trainers with your ethical and moral fibre. In my stable mail, I try to follow the good prospects of trainers/owners/partnerships who have run them responsibly and with good intentions. What I notice as a fan/horseplayer (I’m no expert) is that training a horse optimally, with regard to his or her skill development, takes time–sometimes a long time. I can understand that an investor could become impatient to recoup the initial investment in the interim. The trainers and owners on this board could probably talk for hours on this topic.

            But doing the right thing for the horses maintains the faith in the public that we have a sport behind which we can stand 100%. Sadly, stories such as the one above–and we have too many of them–continue to tarnish the sport and erode its fan base.

            I still believe that if the sport had regulatory uniformity across state lines (with uniformity in punishment with regard to infractions), and was operated by people (owner/partnership/trainer) who did what was right by the horse, that we could restore this great sport for the public and have everyone feel good about its integrity. Thankfully, racing has a lot of “good apples”; there is hope.

          • nu-fan

            Matthew: Your comments are exceptionally well-written and, undoubtedly, shared by many of us fans and general public. Unfortunately, the horseracing industry seems to be lead by some very archaic thinkers.

          • monica horn

            You have my utmost respect. Persons like yourself are the reason an animal lover like myself can remain a fan of this sport. I believe, no….. I know, there are others in racing with ethics, morals and above all, genuine love for the horse.

          • nu-fan

            Olebobbowers: I would hope that there are more trainers like you! There is one trainer that I have followed–a little bit. He seems like someone who I would want as a trainer primarily because of how willing his was to listen to me–about a request that I had regarding a horse he had trained.. He even went above that and told me that he would look after that horse that was claimed from him, and notify me, if he thought there was trouble ahead. If I ever owned a racehorse, that is the trainer I would want. He truly seemed to care about “the horse”. But, he doesn’t seem to have many horses in his barn, even though “my” horse was in the money 3/4 of her races. With that record, I am surprised that there aren’t more owners interested in him. I can’t help but wonder if he has faced the same issues as you have.

  • Jersey Josh

    Great job sir! Best of luck at GP!

    Now the owners that have horses with Shoot Em Up Jane should move them to Mr. Nagle he understands how to treat the horse.

    Jane just go away

    • Roisin

      We need more trainers like Mr. Nagle. I wish him luck and good fortune. As for Ms.Cibelli and her ilk, all I have to say is eventually your cheating ways catch up with you !!

  • perfectly on point. Shame on TBD.

  • Sal Carcia

    These particular Tampa trainers’ presence at Gulfstream was greater last year than the previous one. This is my greatest fear as selfish as it is. I won’t bet Tampa because of these types. If they shift their show to Gulfstream and nothing is done, then I’ll stop betting at Gufstream. These types need to be stopped. I am not talking about Mr. Nagle. I am talking about the Florida trainers (and their surrogates) that dominate the drug violations list that was published in the TDN report. If anyone wants the names, just ask any handicapper. The management of this game needs to wake up.

    Putting my selfishness aside, Mr. Nagle is 100% correct. How can a blatant violation like this be ignored by Peter Berube? The rules are pretty clear about the responsibilty of trainers. There is no excuse for this non-action. Peter Berube was once considered to be a GM that cared for his customers. What happened?

    • Youmustbekidding

      Peter Berube caring for customeers. Thats hilarious, you must not attend races there

      • Sal Carcia

        I only went there once and I don’t bet on the races there. When Berube shut off some of the oversea’s rebate shops and lowered the takeout a few years back, betting at Tampa spiked for a few years. Berube was very articulate about the negative effects rebates on the local players. There was also a large boycott against Gulfstream in those days concerning Gulfstream’s limiting simulcast rights. Tampa’s handle was ahead Santa Anita’s on some weekdays. This is what I am referring to.

        But, if you are down there in Tampa, you know more than the remote players about the management.

  • Sal Carcia

    It was also learned in this investigation that Cibelli’s vet had in his possession a brand of clenbuterol that was not approved. It leads me to think about what else is going on that is illegal. It just leads to the belief that the game cannot regulate the illegal use of drugs successfully. Is it any wonder why many players call for a complete ban on all drugs in this game? The trainers push back on this call, but they refuse to do anything to change the perception. I praise Mr. Nagle for doing something. I hope he takes his concerns with him to Gulfstream, because many of these types from Tampa are there too.

  • Don Reed

    “Apparently with the tacit endorsement of management…”

    Eight months, no action. Get rid of “apparently” and “tacit.”

    The only thing Jane Cibelli hasn’t done at this point is to campaign for elective office as Anthony Weiner’s running mate.

    Give her time.

    Meanwhile, let’s get the name change in effect, from TB Downs to “A-Rod Downs.”

    Thank you, Mr. Nagle.

    • Rockbarton

      As we all know, no pain jane does not like weiners.

      • 4Bellwether666


      • Don Reed

        Weiner lost because Jane wasn’t there on Election Day to give him a shot just hours before the voting gates opened.

      • fooled

        she does not like herself go back to England and ruin horses there

        • betterthannothing

          All horses deserve equal protection against abuse regardless of which country they are in.

  • Hamish

    Is Stella Thayer still a board member at the TRPB? Mr. Berube’s dad used to be President of this group, so has the TRPB issued any statement on the Cibelli/Tampa Bay situation? Nice to see an owner/trainer speak up and take a position.

  • Big Red

    The fix is easy to send a message to the folks at TB however it will take a media outlet such as the Paulick Report to organize.
    Simply get the word out to boycott ALL betting at TB on opening day. Hit them where it hurts.

  • Vicki D.

    Bravo Mr. Nagle!!!!

  • DrSpace36

    Ray; I just contacted the Tampa Bay Times,(Sports Dept) and requested they read the above article & contact you for more information. I am also a former owner since 1971,(off & on) & in the early nineties, give Jane a horse to train. I pulled him out of her barn after 1 month. I had enough of her yelling, cursing & injecting horses under her care. That was then, and now she has been caught and it looks like TBD management is sitting on this & will not take any action until the State issues their decision.
    I also will not be returning to TBD as an owner, and certainly will not wager on any of the races during the upcoming meet.

  • mike

    What a ballsy letter – BRAVO!

    • nu-fan

      Refreshing, isn’t it?

  • mike


    • Jay Stone

      Good thought Mike. For Dutrow’s “crimes” he should be back training now but he still has 9 years to serve.

    • ptrckj7777


  • Barry Irwin

    Under normal circumstances, this would be a job that the racing board in Florida would handle. But they have gone missing in so many ways that their failure to investigate and adjudicate this matter remains unsurprising.

    Tampa Bay has the ability to act as mayor, sheriff, judge and jury in his tiny realm and continue to be insular. But if they want to gain the respect and confidence of the horseplayer and horse owner, they need to join the real world.

    This is so, so, so small town and really a shame, because Stella Thayer is anything but small town. She’s been around the Thoroughbred globe and knows how things should be handled.

    Should this story ever reach the mainstream media it could prove quite embarrassing to all concerned.

    It wouldn’t hurt the Florida HBPA to take a stand against the trainer because she is doing nothing but demeaning a profession that should be worried its public image.

    • johnnyknj

      Agreed Barry. I think it has gotten to the point where the stakeholders – we owners – have to take a stand. Who is willing to pledge they will not star a horse at TBD until this is dealt with?

      • Rich M

        Admittedly, it doesn’t mean much but as an owner, I’ll make such a pledge. Perhaps more importantly I pledge not to bet on TB races.

        • Barry Irwin

          How about a petition signed by owners. That would make a much bigger and more immediate impression.

          • Sandi York

            Not as big an impression as threatening to go to the big news outlets.

          • johnnyknj

            Ok, I will check out one of those on-line petition sites – unless someone more adept with the web wants to do it

          • fooled

            I am in after what she did to our horse

      • fooled

        We are out because of cibelli

        • betterthannothing

          You (and owners like you) should contact Joe Drape and tell him what she did to your horse. Only public outrage will force change in horse racing.Your horse deserves that much.

          I know ex-owners who left racing in disgust never to return. Ethical owners are being replaced with ruthless ones who supply horses to ruthless trainers who then control so many horses they control racetracks and racinos.

          Instead of the industry continuing to stage seminars to attract new owners, it should protect and retain its caring and honest owners by offering fair competition and prevent their horses from falling into the hands of abusive, morally bankrupt and slick trainers. Otherwise horse abuse will continue as well as ethical owner attrition and racing will never dig itself out of its hole.

    • Jay Stone

      Well said Barry and I believe your opinion is universally shared by all horsemen and bettors.

    • fooled

      needs to hit mainstream she should be bared for life owners need better people handeling there horses this is a proven nasty person

      • LuckyPenny

        “She should be bared for life?” How gross – no one wants to see her walk around naked.

    • Grant

      Hi Mr. Irwin: You are a respected part of the horse racing community and as such you have influence. Perhaps you could bring this to the attention of mainstream media because it seems that might be what is necessary to get some action regarding the issues you raised.

  • Fan-1

    What about the responsibility of the vets, I am talking about all of the veterinary practices at all of the racetracks in the country. After all, they are the final “link” in the chain, whether the trainer (trainer responsibility rule) is present or not. These people (veterinarians) are not “stupid” or “oblivious” of the consequences of “treatments”. In another world (our society), they (veterinarians) can be compared to the drug suppliers that plague our society.

    One has to ask; – Why have veterinarian practices INCREASED in both size & volume ($$$) in the last 15-20 years in a “dying sport”? Why has the average vet bill for the individual horse gone from $150 to $980 a month? The veterinarians should also be held “ACCOUNTABLE” with a fine and suspension, IF CLEANING UP THE SPORT IS TRULY THE GOAL!

    Don’t get me wrong, NOT all vets are doing this but what percentage I don’t know, I am sure it is more than “just a few”. After all “it isn’t just about the money but it is money driven industry”

    Maybe Ray can look into the amount & scope of vet practices in the main racing states-NY, NJ,CA, KY, FL

    • BABA

      I’d love to know more about these swollen vet bills, too. I owned horses back in the 90’s. My brother currently races a small string. When I was over at his place a little while back, his latest vet bill sitting on the the kitchen table. I was in shock when I picked it up. Quadruple what I was paying for each individual horse….same trainer I was using, but couldn’t remember if it was the same vet.

      Another thing we both noticed, whenever our horses have a good month, you can bet your last dollar that the vet bill will be padded.

      • Fan-1

        My intention for my comment was not to “BLAME” the vets but shine a light on the problem, the “chain has many links”. If the TRPD, HBPA, Tracks, Veterinarians, Breeders, Owners…all have to come together to “clean-up” this wonderful sport! Everyone has to realize-they have a stake in TB racing’s success and they have “CLOUT” in the decision making and most of all SAFETY and TRANSPARENCY!

      • LL

        Could it be that medications have increased in price just like in human medicine? I can’t believe how much meds cost nowadays. We don’t get outraged about meds because the insurance will take care of it!!!!

        • BABA

          good point, LL….but using the trainer day rate as a measuring stick, I was paying $35 per day back in the mid-late 90’s. Fast forward to 2013, the same trainer is charging $55. That’s about 60% increase vs vet bills, which have increased between 200-400%.

          FAN, I’m not placing blame on the vets, per se….I’m just wondering aloud about what’s going on….and I’m a lot more curious/suspicious after I read about Cibelli’s vet claiming that Cibelli got a 40% discount, which she denies…she claims SHE “only” got a 15% rebate for “prompt payment”, payments which are made by the OWNERS.

        • fooled

          Not true we have used 4 different vets and all have different rates not the meds its the deal Cibelli had with this vet

        • betterthannothing

          An occasional therapeutic med can be used in therapeutic dose to cure minor ailments from time to time. Healthy, fit horses should not be loaded up with drugs between races and if immature, sick, lame and/or spent horses should not be training much less racing.

    • Helen

      Sure, blame the veterinarians. We can take it.

      I used to practice as a private veterinarian at the racetrack. What drove me away was the constant pressure by trainers and owners: “if you won’t do this I’ll get another veterinarian to do it!”. There was always someone else, someone hungrier, with fewer ethics, or even less intelligence. Veterinarians are a dime a dozen. Sure, some become wealthy by ignoring their moral compasses, but most of us earn the salary of a (human) nurse practitioner, or worse, working more hours with poor benefits at a dangerous job.

      I got out. I am now a regulatory racing veterinarian. While I don’t condone the actions of Cibelli’s veterinarian, and certainly think punishment is warranted, I also understand how it happens. This is why there is a trainer responsibility rule. It just needs to be enforced, with meaningful penalties. If trainers and owners respected the rules, most private veterinarians would be relieved, too.

      • Fan-1

        Give Me a Break!

        I am talking about the “big practices” in NY, NJ, MD, FL, KY, CA….They are making a lot more than a nurse practitioner. Look at the cars they drive, houses they live in, vacations…And yes I agree with working long hours and a dangerous job but so do the grooms, hotwalkers, assistant trainers, exercise riders…and they make a lot less than the vets!

        And I agree, there are less & less veterinarians like yourself who still have “their moral compass”. But as a collective group “stick up for each other, no back stabbing” the vets can just say no! Maybe the AAEP can exert some pressure

      • fooled

        Are you kidding me the owner pays a trainer the trainer works with the vet. there is too much billing and cheating going on , the owner just pays how is the owner suppose to know the difference, we are PAYING the expert to take care of our horse not abuse it Cibelli is the Michael Vic of horse raceing should be out for life

  • Richard C

    He speaks the truth — which means track management will try to find a way to bar him from the backstretch.

    • Knowitall

      He isn’t going to TB’s backstretch again by his own volition. Gulfstream loves looking like a hero to horsemen and customers and Stronach’s execs must sit around and giggle til they fall down over how easy it is to look good next to TB and Calder.

      • Roisin

        There was a recent incident at Calder that I and others are following. To say the least, it will be interesting to see how it is handled. There are the usual “investigations” and the “hearings” but the bottom line will be what action is taken and how appropriate it will be.

    • 4Bellwether666

      He said he was hatting up…Getting outta dodge…

      • Richard C

        This sport is as vindictive as any out there….and the ugly snakes wait for their opportunity to dish out revenge, no matter how long it takes. The fate of Jim Squires and Peter Fuller quickly come to mind.

        • fooled

          I hope your right because right now we need to protect the horse from people like Cibelli

  • Knowitall

    Stella Thayer had (and I emphasize the tense used) such a great reputation. So why didn’t she ban Cibelli and ask Margo to “resign”? And if Berube is in on the cover up vs. just taking orders, give him the boot, too.

    If nothing else, after all the he said/she said, either way the trainer was employing a crooked vet, and damn well knew it.

    And where is Joe Drape?

    • ExactaGirl

      Oooh, great question! Drape is usually right on top of situations like this, trumpeting them far and wide. He once was my favorite racing writer, but he has become incredibly biased the past few years, and it makes my stomach turn.

    • RayPaulick

      Joe covers other sports for NY Times. For example, he was part of the team of reporters writing about NFLer Aaron Hernandez, who was indicted for murder. Not sure what he’s been up to lately.

  • Rich M

    And let’s not forget Monmouth Park, who welcomed Cibelli back with open arms long after this fiasco was well-known.

    • HorsesRGR8

      And Delaware Park too?

    • Sandi York

      Yeah Monmouth Park, pick your head up or you”ll be hearing from us too!!!

    • Fan-1

      Monmouth Park….what a joke….MP doesn’t realize (ACCEPT) it is TERMINAL. In just time, a 30 meet! What a shame, at one time one of the top 10 racetracks in the US

    • Michael Infurna

      Monmouth Park is so desperate for horses, they would likely provide free meals and housing for Kirk Zadie if he decided to come up north!!

      • KyHorsedocinFl

        I take offense at everyone criticizing Kirk. I have worked for his father, mainly doing surgery, and for him for at Tampa Bay Downs and Calder and I consider him one of the top 2 trainers in the country and probably the best. He is a brilliant conditioner and excellent caretaker. His horses always have an overstuffed hay bag of the best hay available. He usually dictates at least 2 stall for icing every horse that tracks each and every morning, as well as after all races. He never once asked me to do something that I considered cruel or inhumane to horses under his care. Nor did he every once while I worked for him track a horse that I said should not track. He never over trained and his horses were always well rested and full of run. He was always aware of any problems they had and address all with rest, physical therapy such as icing, hosing and compression bandages. He has had a large number of positive tests, but usually only bute overages, nothing very serious. One must consider the number of starts he has as a function of the number of positives. If you do it that way I bet his incidence of positives is a below average %. I know one thing, if I had a race horse in training I would rather it be with Kirk than anyone. And Not because of his high winning percentage, but because he is simply the best horseman and caretaker out there.

  • Ray, On what factual basis does Peter Berube vehemently deny the allegations of a cozy relationship between Cibelli and Flynn? Berube’s statement is proof positive that the man is an idiot. How could he have such knowledge? Just another subservient trying to save his job.

    • RayPaulick

      He doesn’t deny the relationship; he denies any favoritism as a result of the relationship.

      • Don Reed

        As well he should. Cibelli and Flynn have a perfectly impersonal, at-arms-length business relationship. Wharton might name a professor’s chair after them in their school of business management.

  • Tiznow90

    What I simply can’t understand is the apparent clout this Margo Flynn has. Marketing people are some of the most easily replaceable employees there are.

    • its post time

      Not at Tampa!!! very tight!

  • McGov

    Great job Paulick. Guess this story didn’t stay “in house”.

  • Metalguitar

    Yes tampa will be torn out of my racing form as well…wont bet a dime there any more

  • Suzanne Moore

    Way to go! More of this please.

  • BABA

    does anyone have Thayer’s e-mail address? We should all write her. If you go to the TBD web-site and write to the e-mail listed, it goes directly to Margo (I know because I made a request a little while back and the response that came back was from her e-mail address).

    • HogHater

      [email protected] is the e-mail listed at Ms.Thayer’s law firm of Macfarlane Ferguson McMullen (she’s listed as a shareholder)

      • BABA

        thanks, hog….for what it’s worth, I am going to write her, threatening a betting boycott until action is taken.

  • Steve

    Good – all racetracks should refuse her entries. If not, it looks as if those track are condoning this atrocious behavior.

  • 14151617

    One of the reasons horse racing is losing fans is this type of thing happening with too much freguency.

    • nu-fan

      But, does the horseracing industry think that fans are not aware of the sleazy components of the sport? They don’t give fans the credit for having enough intelligence to know what is going on. What a dysfunctional–and, ever eroding–industry!

      • 14151617

        You are so correct.People are beginning to start looking into what is going on around them and not just blindly taking what is being spoon feed to them as gospel.

  • Nayrod

    Well said Nagle, well said!

  • Farmrose

    So, A cold wind does blow in Florida.

  • Charlie Weis

    Most of the Folks who go to TBD read the “Tampa bay Times” Newspaper. Contact them (Sports Department), as I have and guide them to the “Paulick Report” to read this letter from Mr Nagle and to talk to Ray Paulick about the Jane Cibelli pending story, etc.

  • fb0252

    Would help to know the stage of the Cibelli prosecution and what is holding things up. My understanding is the horse had a splint problem. other than axe murder. –whenever I lose–everyone else must be cheating.

    • fooled

      They have alot more info I hope they take her liesens fo life

  • MaryAnn Myers

    Well done! Well said.

  • Tidewaterhorse

    How long can the sport exist with stories such as this one? Although the average race fan may be oblivious to what is happening, as long as we have this continues, the folks that count such as the owners and trainers and the bettors will stay away. Is this another call for an industry commissioner? I am not smart enough to know the answers.

  • Sid Halley

    Jane Cibelli needs to be banned for life but lets boot her out of Monmouth Park ASAP. I have been going to Monmouth for 45 years but now the experience is tarnished by cheaters like Cibelli and Moya.

  • jojo

    Cheers Reid. And I would urge all horsemen and women that have their integrity still intact, and a love of the sport, and ABOVE ALL a love for their horses should follow close behind you. Shame on Tampa Bay Downs evidently, cheaters rule.

  • bones boy

    This is the main reason (among many) I have stopped betting and being involved with racing – the damage unscrupulous trainers and vets are doing to these great animals. I still follow the sport because I love it – nothing is as exciting! However I can’t knowingly bankroll these types of criminals. I got into co-ownership in Louisiana years ago and saw all kinds of nonsense going on with trainers and jocks and track management. Never again. I hope US horse racing cleans up one day but how will it happen?

    • fooled

      Thanks for your comment, we are young owners and she did this to us, you are suppose to trust a person like Cibelli ???????

      • Jane cibelli

        So who are you “fooled” why don’t you grow a set and identify yourself. I’m guessing you are upset with your vet bills, have you never heard of X-ray ultrasound scope blood test or are you one of these people that think your equine athlete is perfect and can run on hay an oats, yet you do your horse a misfortune by allowing him to run sub par not to mention the all important bettor is getting screwed, oh but of course you are the only one getting screwed. Don’t step,into the big leagues you might need to mortgage your house to pay for the vet bills in NY. As far as my language you obviously were never around the great Mr Frankel or his protégées, and please avoid Mr Asmussen you might get offended

  • ExactaGirl

    Thank you SO much for taking a stand, Mr. Nagle! TBD is letting this woman ruin their reputation, so I won’t feel sorry for them a bit when their handle plummets because they won’t get rid of her.

  • 4Bellwether666

    We need a lot more humans like Mr. Nagle in “The Game” with “The Nads” to stand up and be counted!!!…ty Sir…

  • thevoiceoftruth69

    I like this cat. Well spoken and spot on. Peter Berube runs a “good ‘ol boys” club with Ness and Cibelli making races not on the up and up in my opinion. #boycottTBD Only problem is doesn’t GP let Kirk Zaidie take up residence there? He’s worse than Cibelli.

  • noroomforcheaters

    Why hasn’t anyone mentioned Kirk Ziadie?? With all the positives that he has had. I think that he should have some sort of consiquences to suffer to. Seems like the state of florida is sweeping everything under the rug.

  • FastBernieB

    I read your letter. TBD’s purses are “parsimonious” relative to tracks with similar handles and circumstances (i.e. no Casino supplement). What they paid in your day vs today is not relevant.
    Your point about other tracks having their own resident chemical geniuses is accurate. Your shots at Mr. Nagle are unwarranted in my opinion – he sounds like a guy looking for a level playing field in a game that just doesn’t have any: not in Florida or anywhere else, not even England.

    • Hamish

      What’s this fellow’s Dickman’s point? I couldn’t find one in his blog piece.

  • Bman

    Time for a commissioner; suggesting Lou Raffetto. The N.E Patriots cheated, they paid the price thanks to Roger Goodell. This situation would end in 3 year suspension and $50K fine, minimum. Why did the NFL do that other than it was the right thing to do? The fans would eventually stop going. So will horse racing’s, and owners and trainer. Some have.

  • Cory Patton

    Unfortunately this goes on at everyrace track in amerca everyday to some degree. As a trainer myself, these kind of things has led me to consider leaving the sport for good.

    • fooled

      So she got caught she needs to go , you guys look the other way

      • Cory Patton

        Without hard evidence it is only an accusation. Besides most of the worst offenders are in tight with racing officials and governing bodies.

  • Ray Adam

    Very well said. I grew up with Peter Berube’s father. Paul is a man of GREAT integrity. Must be really proud of his son. I guess the acorn does fall from the tree.

  • Bernie Dickman

    To the person who said “TBD’s purses are parsimonious relative to tracks with similar handles and circumstances (i. e., no casino supplement),” here’s the true story. Beulah Park’s next card will have purses of $41,000; Emerald Downs $60,275; Fairmount $49,400; Thistledown $77,200. Even Suffolk Downs, with its Caesar’s casino, is only equal to Tampa – $159,200. As for what they paid in “my day,” the point was to show how much the TBD purses have escalated without a casino. It is still my day. P. S. Stop asking for the St. Pete Times to write something. It’s now the Tampa Bay Times. And to Hamish, who asked, what’s my point? You must be kidding!

    • Jay Stone

      I don’t believe Suffolk Downs has a casino nor do they give away 159,200 in their or the horsemen’s dreams

  • monica horn


  • Stu S

    I had many horses with Jane and she broke them all down. The only times we won were on big drop downs. Claim drop and win. Jane and the vets were the only winners,she also iniitialed every vet bill, I always thought that was strange.i now know the reason for that.
    After about 9 months I decided to move my now lame horses from her and she cursed me up and down. What a “Lady” she is. Purple Egg yesterday put another nail in her coffin.Her owners should be running faster than her horses. Good things come to good people. This game needs to be cleaned up .

    • confused

      Hey Stu S. Any idea as to what your average vet bill was. Would be very interested.Also had a horse with her.Thought she would be very competitive at 16. She ran it for 32 and 25. When we pulled it from her it was running for 8. Horse had a bad ulcer that was not treated. Its been treated with the new trainer, is happy now and has won since.

      • Stu S

        700-800 a month average….but there were months that I spent over a 1000. Jane always told me that she had no friends in this business, but she also had no enemies….she seems to have found some….another thing there is a good reson she had so many different owners…..we all lost money if we had 10 to 15 horses the loss would be glaring….bottom line is Jane doesn’t care about her owners or her horses……I even saw her take the back of her hand and hit my horse……I wonder if the IRS is aware of her “prompt” payment kickbacks

        • Jane cibelli

          Stu if you recall when you brought those horses to me they were unsound and you yourself blamed your now current trainer again who by way was ruled off not so long ago for abandoning horses, I refused to train them anymore because they were unsound, your problem was your precious lawyer Ron was not “the best horse in my barn” as you professed he was going to be. If I race such cripples why did you try to claim several this summer. Also FYI I had numerous owners threaten to move their horses if I continued to train for you because they were tired of your insults not mine. My owners have been with me for many years unlike you who changes trainers weekly. The fact is Stu Sackowitz you are looking for the latest “juicer” and when they don’t have that magic potion you bash them.

          • Knowitall

            Well, gotta appreciate your admission that you freely and often run “unsound” horses. But your gonna need a vet to treat your arm – isn’t it sore from throwing so many rocks at other trainers in between having to toss them back at former owners?

          • jack

            I’m guessing you weren’t valedictorian of your charm school, Jane

    • betterthannothing

      You should gather other ex-owners and start a class action lawsuit against Cibelli and the broken system that welcomes her and her abusive ilk. Do it for the horses. No racing authority or organization solely exists to protect them and they continue to be abused in so many ways on and off track. What is bad for horses is bad for all except bad people who need to punished and purged from racing.

    • Janet delcastillo

      Owners should be billed directly from the vets. If they get bills, they should question why a horse needs the medical support. I have campaigned for educating owners about what vet bills mean and how to interpret them. I have a section in my book, BACKYARD RACE HORSE- MEDICATIONS and have had some trainers complain that they wish I’d never written that book. Also some owners have been appalled when they found out the cause and effect of certain medications…injecting joints, running, a few times and then…surprise! breakdown! When, many years ago I wrote the Association of Equine Vets, and discussed the mis use of many legal medications, their only comment was,”Please use the term ‘medications’ not ‘drugs’. Many Vets are put in a difficult position when practicing at the track…they must make the decision of whether they are really “helping the horse” or allowing him to run pain free with possible dire results. Owners who care have dialogue with their trainers…and trainers should want to have educated owners. Then decisions may be made with the welfare of the horse utmost.

    • Jane cibelli

      Didn’t you have a horse break down catastrophically last month Stu? Maybe you push your trainers too hard. I haven’t had a horse break down In years I told you to stop on your horse last year and your answer to that was find a new trainer. Look in the mirror stu Sackowitz if you dare

  • Confused

    Track Vets are also a significant part of the problem. In many barns the Vets train the horse and the trainers trains the owner.Newbie owners like me blindly pay the bills. In what other profession can you essentially do what you want and bill for it ? Try this try that…and invoice.No proof but I am convinced many trainers get a rebate (kickback) from the vets they employ.Does anybody out there have any clue as to what an average Vet bill should be for a horse in training at a race track?

    • Janet delcastillo

      Owners should be billed directly from the vets. If they get bills, they should question why a horse needs the medical support. I have campaigned for educating owners about what vet bills mean and how to interpret them. I have a section in my book, BACKYARD RACE HORSE- MEDICATIONS and have had some trainers complain that they wish I’d never written that book. Also some owners have been appalled when they found out the cause and effect of certain medications…injecting joints, running, a few times and then…surprise! breakdown! When, many years ago I wrote the Association of Equine Vets, and discussed the mis use of many legal medications, their only comment was,”Please use the term ‘medications’ not ‘drugs’. Many Vets are put in a difficult position when practicing at the track…they must make the decision of whether they are really “helping the horse” or allowing him to run pain free with possible dire results. Owners who care have dialogue with their trainers…and trainers should want to have educated owners. Then decisions may be made with the welfare of the horse utmost.

    • Fan-1

      The average vet bill varies but a “rough guess” might go like this; the average makes 12 starts @ year, so that should be 12 jugs, 12 shots of bute (POST-RACE), coggins 1x @ year, heath certificates-no charge, worming 2x-3x @ year, did I forget anything?.

      Now that is in an IDEAL world; the above and treatment for any injuries, vitamin shots (what a waste, considering most horses are kept at a “high level”-good hay, clean water, healthy feed…, colts-maybe gelding, filies/mares-maybe RX, and LAST BUT NOT LEAST; PRE-RACE (now this is where the vet bill can explode!

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Why did both New Jersey and New York approve Cibelli’s license application?

    • fooled

      Welcome to America ,land of the free, until someome does something to protect the animal she has a liesens to cheat

  • Convene

    It seems it still takes MUCH too long for our industry to respond appropriately to those who cheat. Considering a certain recent case that took years, I’m not as surprised as I might be. I am, however, just as disgusted as I was about that particular case.

  • fooled

    Well said but the state has to get rid of her for good

  • rocky

    Tampa Bay Downs is not worth betting on with the rampant cheating going on. Ness , Navarro ,Cibelli and other crooks claim a horse and they improve 20 lengths immediately. Ten years ago Tampa was one of the most attractive tracks to bet on with big competitive fields and now it stinks like festering garbage. Tampa Bay Downs is the shame of American racing.

    • shipwatch6990

      tampa bay is a great place to race their purses have gotten bigger without slots as far as harboring cheats in every sport out their there are people taking an edge baseball ,football, basketball,mabe you should not gamble and take up underwater basket weavin and you would still find someone trying to stay under longer!!

      • rocky

        Tampa Bay is great for whom? Certainly not the bettor. The cheaters dominate the racing there and the public knows it and therefore the value isn’t there. You seem to think hey everyone cheats in sports so what? The purses may be bigger but the handle is way down because of the slime balls that race there.I will continue gambling on the better tracks. Maybe you should not gamble so much and take an English class so you can learn how to write better than a 6th grader.

  • Charles Weis

    Another former owner from 1971 to 2012. I had 7 different trainers during that period @ TBD ad George Julian at Calder in 1971,(First Year). My Horse “Wise lark” ran 11 straight times in the money,(2-2-7) earning a wooping $6700. which paid all expenses. A good experience, thanks to George.
    Fast forward, 7 Trainers at TBD from 1991 to 2012 and only 2, IMHO, were 100% Honest & did their very best for their horses, Kathleen O’Connell and Joan Scott.
    One of the other Trainers was Jane Cibelli for( 0ne Month), the screaming, cursing, at other trainers & her help and my horse breaking down after first breeze was the end. A very bad experience. As another poster mentioned, just look at her record before & after the incident in January.
    The track officials will most likely do nothing, waiting for the state to act. They are most likely asking the advice of other State Racing Officials, like Kentucky & New York (Maybe) how to handle this Mess.
    For the good of Racing, I would like to see camera’s in every barn,(Stalls) where the Track Vet could moniter. The private Vets only done what the Trainer tells them to do…PERIOD.

    • Jane cibelli

      The problem with this business is people like you. You don’t want to hear the truth. Your horse came to me from Philadephia she was broken down when I got her when I told you you didn’t want to hear it you couldn’t believe you previous trainer would lie to you. Wake up Charlie I was honest with you. As far as Joan Scott is concerned do not insult me by using her name in the same sentence as mine, she may be polite but you sure wouldn’t want to be on the other end of a shank, by the way take note of how many grooms make it to a second week in her barn. If you are going to throw rocks you better substantiate it

      • Sal Carcia

        It’s what I love about this game. We all hate each other. :)

      • Knowitall

        Wow. It does take a set to accuse anyone else of being, “the problem with this business…”

        DId YOU breeze the horse if it came to you “broken down”?

        And by the way, while we are here – care to explain your sudden drop in percentage Jane?

        (And on the rock score, you seem to be collecting them over there.)

        • Jane cibelli

          Did not breeze the horse and furthermore this happened 22 years ago also my percentage did not drop if you know anything at all you would know at the time of the incident it went UP at Gulfstream and UP all summer at Delaware who by the way has the toughest testing lab on the east coast

  • Slim

    I have been betting TB for 20 plus years
    No more until she is banned and Margo is gone

  • Bosco55

    Two words KIRK ZIADE who runs his horses at Gulfstream as well as Calder, you just went from the frying pan into the fire! I did like your article though!

  • KyHorsedocinFl

    My Name is Robert McDonald, and I am a veterinarian who is involved in a permit-holder Division licensee exclusion case versus Calder (Case No: 09-80832 CA 21) and I am preparing a similar case against Tampa Bay Downs to be filed in the next few weeks. Starting from the beginning of the Dr. O & Jane Cibelli fiasco, Peter Berube, has no “property right” as he claims to exclude a Division licensee such as Dr. O. because in Florida such common law property rights are controlled by Fl. St. 2.01 which reads as follows: ”

    “The common and statute laws of England which are of a general and not a local nature, with the exception hereinafter mentioned, down to the 4th day of July, 1776, are
    declared to be of force in this state; provided, the said statutes and common
    law be not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States and
    the acts of the Legislature of this state.”
    Berube should note the term “provided” and the following reference to “the acts of the Legislature of this state”. F.S. 550 et seq. and F.A.C. 61.D are Peter, “works of the legislature” That Pari-mutuel wagering contract is finalized by each year by Berube’s signing of the attest statement on DBPR-PMW form # 3060 which allows TBDs to conduct pari-mutuel wagering race meets. By signing this attest statement Berube “swears under oath ” to conduct the annual race meets pursuant to the pari-mutuel wagering contract as set forth in the laws of Florida as set forth in F.S. 550 et seq. and F.A.C. 61.D.
    Either Berube does not read what he swears to, or he does not care what he swears to. Or maybe he just does not understand what “provided…it is not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States and the acts of the Legislature of this state” means. In compliance with the Supreme Courts jurisprudence over the legislature as set forth in the case Kleuger vs. White when abrogating common law rights as F.S. 550 et seq. and F.A.C. 61.D do, the legislature must provide the property owner a reasonable alternative which id did in allowing permit-holders a majority voice on the Board of stewards.
    So Berube, I dropped the Mr. because I’m a ‘you disrespect me I’ll disrespect you’ kind of guy. Besides, I have a hard time respecting people that swear under oath to do one thing and then break that oath. Plus, I really have a hard time respecting bullies like you Peter. To get back to Dr. O. and ‘No-lady Jane’ fiasco. What should have been done according to the law was to call Carol in the stewards office, talked to Charlie and let him and the two association stewards fulfill their statutory duty to be the on-site representative of the Division which is mandated by F.S. 550 et seq. and F.A.C. 61.D to preside over all allegations involving licensees.
    Darn Peter, there goes that oath again. Maybe next time you should just not sign the thing then you can kick any licensee you want off of your property for whatever reason you want. But the problem is don’t sign it then no racing or race fixing which ever the case may be. Cuz you sign it you gotta follow the law and let the stewards kick them off. The problem there for you Peter, is there’s hearings and lawyers and laws that must be followed. Oh yeah, and Division investigators asking questions and looking around and just being nosey. That means ‘No-lady Jane’ and her lesbian lover get drawn into the picture. Now how you gonna cash a bet?
    Hey, I saw them at keeneland last week. Wonder who they were buying horses for? Stella maybe? Who knows? but them darn investigators would find out I betya. Can’t have that now can we. In Peter’s world he had no choice. Besides, being a bully can be fun right Peter? You’ve gotten away with it for so long it just seems right. Dr. O doesn’t need those constitutional rights anyway, you know with his occupational license and those darn constitutional protections. Hard to figure what those founding fathers were thinking, right Peter?
    Hey I gotta go but I would like to make one additional comment about ‘No-lady Jane’. I’ve know her for 30 years or so and it is laughable to think that she would let a M-A-N come into her barn and make any decisions about what happens to the horses under her care. That’s funny! That’s hilarious! Great! With that thought I can laugh myself to sleep. HaHaHaHa. NITEAL!

    • coach

      As much as I want to see the game cleaned up I find your letter offensive and hypocritical. You quote the constitution and want to be protected by it yet you diminish people who have a different sexual orientation. I would do everything I could to keep your bigotry out of my work environment too.

  • wayzer

    I was once told by an executive at a major track that if no one bet horses on one Saturday in protest of cheating – cheating in racing would be nonexistent- remember money talks..

  • njstu44

    Look in the mirror…….I’m not the one banned in Tampa Bay…..your significant other runs the place and they still banned you……..the sport needs to be cleaned up……we want to handicap the horses ……..not the vets……

  • njstu44

    FYI. I never dropped on any of your horses…..and is there a rule saying I couldn’t.

    • Jane cibelli

      Gotcha stu Sackowitz you are a liar don’t you think I check with the bookkeeper every time I gEt a horse claimed what else are you lying about your testimony is not credible join Dr O bye bye next

  • Machouno79

    As a fan, it’s disappointing to see such a great sport have it’s reputation tarnished and nothing be done about it. It would be easy and somewhat self gratifying to simply jump on the bandwagon and see Cibelli banned for life, but she’s one accused trainer in a sport riddled with people who need to have their practices questioned closely. This is why North American horse racing needs one central governing branch that would have the power to either convict or acquit people like the acerbic tongued Cibelli or the brash Dutrow before these stories make it into the real media and give this great sport a black eye it surely doesn’t need.

  • thestockbroker

    I respect Mr. Nagles letter immensely, I could white-out Tampa Bay and write the names of several well known large tracks, not just the smaller venues. As someone who is an owner and daily player I have posted many many posts on several sites about the same issue, I also write names and specifics, sometimes it causes me to be blocked from posting, however I feel protecting the cheaters just gives them carte blanche. In fact I have made public accusations against 1 trainer so many times everyone on Facebook knows how I feel, some have said “be careful or you will be sued” truthfully, let him, however no trainer will sue knowing that every training bill and vet bill and vet he uses will be deposed and subpoenaed, and the last thing a cheater wants is his vet bills made public. It is time that tracks crack down and the cheaters get convicted the same as a boxer who throws a fight, guilty of “effecting the outcome of a parimutuel event” a federal offense.

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