December 1, 2021

Paulick honored with Stan Bergstein Award

Last updated: 12/11/13 6:20 PM

Team Valor’s Barry Irwin (right) and Jeff Lowe (left) present the Stan Bergstein Award to Ray Paulick

(Photo courtesy of Team Valor)

Team Valor International on Wednesday honored a Paulick Report story on a
drug violation at Tampa Bay Downs with the second annual Stan Bergstein Writing
Award at the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program’s Global
Symposium on Racing and Gaming in Tucson.

Team Valor founder and CEO Barry Irwin presented Ray Paulick, the publisher
of the Paulick Report and writer of the piece from September 18, with a bronze
trophy from renowned sculptor Nina Kaiser and the winning prize of $25,000.

Paulick’s story was selected over nine other finalists by four  judges
Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke, former Sports
and Kentucky newspaper columnist Billy Reed, New York Post
columnist Ray Kerrison and HRTV analyst Jeff Siegel.

Paulick’s persistent coverage of the case involving Tampa Bay trainer Jane
Cibelli culminated in a story titled “Fla. Investigation: Vet Said Cibelli Told
Him ‘Keep Me Out of It'” that included testimony from a veterinarian who was
caught injecting a pain-blocking agent into the leg of a horse hours before it
was supposed to race.

Less than a week after the story was published, Florida’s state racing body
acted after a seven-month investigation, suspending Cibelli for 60 days. Tampa
Bay Downs responded with an announcement that Cibelli, one of the track’s
perennial leading trainers, would not be granted stalls or allowed to enter
horses in the 2013-14 meet.

Kerrison praised Paulick for shining “a bright light on four dark corners —
the trainer’s larceny, the vet’s illegal actions, the track’s clear reluctance
to move against Cibelli (but not the vet) and the regulatory body’s unbelievable
inertia in investigating the offense and imposing sanctions.

“Paulick forced their hands, but the case vividly illustrates the industry’s
incomprehensible reluctance to prosecute and punish wrong-doers.”

“I am very happy to see Ray Paulick get this honor,” Irwin said. “?We created
the award to praise, encourage, incentivize and celebrate turf writers. We felt
encouragement was sorely needed because of the sorry state of the turf writing
profession. The current state of racing journalism is best characterized by a
shrinking to the downright disappearance of copy inches.

“Almost extinct is the full time turf writer for a daily newspaper. Magazines
everywhere are contracting or folding. Any fan that reads the sports section
knows there are problems with cheating and drugs. Ray is one of the few out
there on a daily basis who is doing the tough work of investigating racing’s

Team Valor had already tapped Paulick as the keynote speaker for the award
presentation over the summer. Before learning of the award result, he spoke
today about the impact, inside and outside of horse racing, of investigative
reporting, including the New York Times series that won the inaugural
Stan Bergstein Writing Award last year.

“I don’t think I can emphasize this enough: the reason for this reporting is
to change the culture when it needs change,” Paulick said. “Those of us who do
this aren’t trying to make friends in the industry. We are trying to make

Stories published between November 2, 2012 and November 1, 2013 in North
America and about horse racing were eligible for the award.

Paulick’s piece can be found


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