Ray Paulick of the Paulick Report published an article on September 18, 2013, pertaining to a confirmed  illegal pain-blocking incident at a Florida racetrack. Yesterday, Mr. Paulick won the second annual Team Valor International Stanley Bergstein Writing Award for his effort.

In establishing the award, Barry Irwin, Team Valor founder and CEO, said about Stan Bergstein: “Most leaders in his field are not inclined to write about things considered to be politically incorrect because they have been part of The Establishment for far too long. But Stan was cut from a different cloth and he had the courage of his convictions.”

I had the privilege of knowing the late Stan Bergstein since 1988 and spoke at many of his annual Harness Tracks of America conferences. Over the years, I got to know him personally and came to admire his intellect, integrity, and humanity. He would not tell you, unless you asked, that he graduated from Northwestern University, was in the D-Day invasion, and managed the Harlem Globetrotters in a Jim Crow era in which a Jewish man traveling with a black basketball team were not welcome in some quarters. I last saw Stan at a convention in Las Vegas about 2009, communicated with him about two weeks before he died, and still miss chatting with him.

Ray Paulick and I met in 1993 at a meeting at Darby Dan Farm in Columbus, Ohio. He invited me to write a piece for The Blood-Horse, where he was the editor, and I have been writing there ever since.

I’ve never met Barry Irwin but know that he was once a turf writer and radio/TV host in the mode of Stan Bergstein, never afraid of stating his case. Since then, he has developed arguably the most successful racing partnership enterprise in the United States. He is an occasional commenter on the Paulick Report forum; as in his writing days, he states his opinions openly by using his own name, rather than hiding or cowering behind a pseudonym.

Stan Bergstein, Barry Irwin, and Ray Paulick all are repeatedly on record as wanting a cleaner racing product and one that is free of race-day medication. That has earned them their share of enemies…and typically the attacks have been ad hominem and sometimes vicious.

I have always subscribed to the adage that “By their enemies you shall know them.” Using that heuristic as a guide, Bergstein, Irwin, and Paulick are men I would want to align myself with on the issue of integrity in horse racing.

Congratulations to Ray Paulick for winning and thanks to Barry Irwin for sponsoring the Stanley Bergstein Writing Award. I’m certain that Stan Bergstein would be pleased and honored that you have continued to pursue his quest for horse racing in America that measures up to international standards of conduct.

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