05/28/2013 1:49PM

Tampa Bay Downs: Veterinarian accepts 90-day suspension


A veterinarian who was observed injecting a horse at Tampa Bay Downs on the day the horse was entered to race has accepted a 90-day suspension in exchange for cooperating in an ongoing investigation of the incident, according to an order issued by the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.

Dr. Orlando Paraliticci accepted the suspension May 15, according to records released by the division. Under the terms of a consent agreement signed by Paraliticci, he “expressly agrees to cooperate with the Division’s continuing investigation or prosecution of other parties/licensees,” the record stated. Paraliticci’s suspension began May 20 after the agreement was filed with the division’s clerk.

The suspension stems from an incident Jan. 27 in which Paraliticci was observed by a state veterinarian administering an injection to Raven Train, a horse trained by Jane Cibelli, who was entered that day in the second race at Tampa Bay Downs. Raven Train was scratched, and one week later, Paraliticci was banned by Tampa Bay Downs management.

Administering any medication on race day other than furosemide or prednisolone acetate, a corticosteroid that is often administered to horses in Florida to prevent heat prostration, is illegal under Florida rules.

Division officials did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday morning. Peter Berube, the general manager of Tampa Bay Downs, said Monday he would not comment on the suspension or the investigation.

“The case is not closed yet, obviously, so it would be premature to comment,” Berube said. “It is my understanding that once the investigation is complete, the facts will become available.”

It is not clear what substance was administered to Raven Train. Hannah Smith, the owner of the horse, was told by Cibelli that Paraliticci had mistakenly administered an antibiotic to the horse, Smith said several months ago. However, sources close to the investigation said the substance in the syringe was tested, and it was not an antibiotic.

Cibelli, a leading trainer at Tampa Bay Downs, has not been subjected to any penalty in the case, even though Florida rules hold the trainer ultimately accountable for the condition of the trainer’s horses. Division officials have said that she is being investigated in connection with the incident.