Former Chief Steward Veitch Seeks License
by Ron Mitchell
Date Posted: 6/19/2012 11:45:50 AM
Last Updated: 6/20/2012 2:02:13 PM

John Veitch
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Attorneys for John Veitch have filed a motion seeking to force the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to consider a license application from the former Kentucky chief racing steward.

According to the motion, filed in Franklin Circuit Court by attorney Tom Miller, Veitch applied for a steward’s license after being told he had an opportunity to serve as a steward at the upcoming Ellis Park meet.

Since he did not have a Kentucky license, Veitch submitted the requisite application and paid the required fee on May 14. According to the motion, Veitch was told by the KHRC’s associate executive director the “license would be issued in short order” but then was “given excuses for the delay in the issuance of the license and finally was given no information at all.”

After Veitch’s application and fee were returned, his legal counsel says he was informed by KHRC representatives that in order to be granted a racing official license, the applicant must have a job working as a racing official in place.

In the motion, Miller states there is no requirement in state racing regulations that a job must be in place before a license application is considered and that the KHRC’s regulations state “The commission shall provide notice to an applicant that the license has been issued or denied. If all requirements for licensure are met, a license shall be issued to the license applicant.”

Miller contends that Veitch was not informed that his license was denied nor given any grounds for denial. Also, Veitch is unable to obtain a job without first being able to provide the potential employer with his license, the motion states. Because he was unable to provide a license to Ellis Park, the position for which Veitch was being considered has now been filled, the legal documents state.

Veitch was fired without cause as the KHRC’s chief steward last Nov. 28 and subsequently had his license suspended for one year by the commission. The license suspension stemmed from a hearing officer’s report that concluded Veitch had violated rules of racing in his handling of the controversial Life At Ten incident.

Hearing officer Robert Layton determined Veitch had violated racing rules by not having Life At Ten inspected by a veterinarian or scratched from the Ladies’ Classic at Churchill Downs after jockey John Velazquez told an ESPN audience the filly was not warming up properly prior to the race. Among other charges, Layton ruled Veitch should have ordered Life At Ten tested after the Breeders' Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I), in which she was not persevered with and ran last as the 7-2 second choice.

The suspension was stayed by Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate in an April 11 ruling.

In the latest motion, which will be heard by Wingate June 20, Veitch and his attorneys are seeking to have the court compel the KHRC to act upon his application and that “it be sanctioned for failing to comply with the order staying the suspension of his license.”

“The KHRC’s conduct in simply ignoring and then returning the application and fee perfectly illustrates the arbitrary and capricious manner in which it has targeted Veitch, from the 2010 Breeders’ Cup to date,” the motion states.

A KHRC spokesman said the agency's response to the Veitch motion would be filed with the court the afternoon of June 19.



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