Cibelli Suspended 2 Months for Deadening a Horse’s Leg

On January 27th of this year, Dr. Orlando Paraliticci, a private vet working for trainer Jane Cibelli, was caught injecting a nerve block, called “P Bloc,” into the Cibelli-trained horse Raven Train. Raven Train was scheduled to run that day in a $16,000 claiming race. According to the Paulick Report, “Paraliticci quickly left the stall, saying, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.'” Paraliticci was banned from Tampa Bay Downs (TBD) on February 3rd and eventually (May 15th) suspended 90 days by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering (FDPMW). Eight months later, Cibelli has finally been disciplined.

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Cibelli’s punishment is a 60-day Florida suspension and dismissal from TBD for the remainder of the meet. Implied here, is that Cibelli’s personal relationship with TBD official Margo Flynn was an impediment to immediate justice, at least at the racetrack itself. In defending the meager sentence, the state says that without a syringe or positive blood test – “a nerve block administered in this fashion is not likely to produce a positive test” – it had to rely solely on Paraliticci’s word. But when Paraliticci indicted both himself and his employer, he had to have known that the state lacked any evidence beyond a witness to some unspecified injection. It seems, then, that his word – admitting guilt when he probably didn’t have to – should have been at least as damning as a dirty syringe.

For deadening a horse’s leg on raceday, the guilty parties received two and three months. At the very least, TBD is a corrupt venue. At the very least, the FDPMW is a weak regulatory agency. At the very least, Dr. Orlando Paraliticci is devoid of professional ethics. And at the very least, Jane Cibelli is unconscionably negligent. But because everyone in racing knows that vets do the trainers’ bidding, especially one with as forceful a personality as hers, Cibelli is most likely an animal abuser. Reid Nagle, a Cibelli colleague who is outraged by this case, suggests that if this were England, Cibelli would be banned for life. Sorry, not good enough. Jane Cibelli should be in jail.

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  1. Until licenses are revoked for life, the abuse and cheating will continue. Again, there needs to be a national commission where breaking rules is taken seriously. Lives of jockeys and horses are put at risk at tracks across the country on a daily basis. Is that not a form of “reckless endangerment”.

    • There is nothing “sportsmanlike” about the actions of this monster, Jane Cibelli. I agree with Rose. She needs to be banned for life. Racing continues to disgust me.

  2. Cibelli got off lightly considering her infraction. Her “special relationship” with Margo Flynn, TBD Vice President of Marketing and Publicity,has insulated her from scrutiny and allowed her privileges that other trainers have not had. She is considered a bully and a manipulator in regards to track personnel and backstretch workers. There has also been some questions regarding her accounting practices and the allegation that she and Flynn share the same accountant.

    If it hadn’t been for the track-hired veterinarian that was charged with inspecting horses for soundness having noticed that Raven Train was slated to race that day and that she caught Ortiz and Paraliticci injecting the horse’s front leg with a P-block, Cibelli’s training practices may never have come to light –never mind the fact that we may have had one more helpless 5-year old gelding sent off to a claiming race primed for a break down. Since she has been monitored, her winning percentages have been almost halved.

    I couldn’t be happier for Raven Train that a watchful eye may have saved his life and the lives of other unfortunate horses who have been in her training stable.

    Thanks to Ray Paulick and other horse welfare and fan advocates, the story got continued publicity and TBDs was forced to take action. They are now being scrutinized and being placed under a microscope will only benefit the horses that race there.

    Cibelli deserved worse and in her native England might have received a lifetime ban for the same practices.

  3. Cibelli has a horse running at Delaware today. Why has Delaware continued to allow her to race there after the suspension in Florida?

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