The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission said Nov. 8 it is “continuing its inquiry” into the circumstances surrounding the performance of Life At Ten in the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
The 3-year-old filly finished last in the Ladies Classic as the second choice in the wagering at 7-2. The usually speedy Life At Ten broke from post one under John Velazquez but had no run; she wasn’t persevered with throughout the 1 1/8-mile race.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said the day after the race Life At Ten may have had a reaction to the bleeder medication Salix, which is administered four hours before a race.
“From the time Life at Ten was brought to the paddock, saddled, led to the track for the post parade, warmed up and loaded into the starting gate, neither trainer Todd Pletcher nor jockey Johnny Velasquez voiced any concerns they may have had regarding Life at Ten to any racing officials, veterinarians or the outriders prior to the running of the Ladies Classic,” the KHRC said in a statement.
“Should a trainer or jockey have concerns about whether a horse is fit to race, they know the proper protocol is to notify a KHRC veterinarian, who will talk to the jockey and observe the horse and then make a recommendation to the stewards regarding any scratch.”
Velazquez told ESPN just before the race the filly didn’t seem right. The KHRC statement didn’t address the comments the jockey made to ESPN.
The incident led bettors to question whether Life At Ten should have been scratched and all wagers on her refunded. More than $300,000 was wagered on her to win; when exotic wagers are factored in, the figure is in the millions of dollars.
The KHRC said it “takes seriously the safety of horses and jockeys—before before, during, and after each race. The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission firmly believes its veterinarians and racing stewards acted properly in all instances regarding this race.”
After the race, chief state racing steward John Veitch interviewed Pletcher, head outrider Greg Blasi, and KHRC chief veterinarian Dr. Bryce Peckham. An interview with Velazquez is pending, officials said.