Veitch Licensed in KY, to Work at Keeneland

Veitch Licensed in KY, to Work at Keeneland
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
John Veitch

John Veitch, the former chief steward for racing in Kentucky who was fired and suspended, has been granted a license by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and is set to resume his racing official career during the upcoming meet at Keeneland.

Veitch, a Hall of Fame trainer who was Kentucky's top regulator before his career unraveled following the Life At Ten incident during the 2010 Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I), was among a number of officials approved by the KHRC without discussion during its Sept. 23 meeting to work during the Keeneland meet. His titles will be patrol judge and entry clerk.

According to chief state steward Barbara Borden, patrol judges and entry clerks perform a number of clerical duties within the racing office.

Veitch has been unemployed since the KHRC fired him, without cause, in November 2011. An appeal of the firing has been upheld by the Kentucky Personnel Board.

Veitch was subsequently suspended for a year when the KHRC upheld a hearing officer's report into the circumstances surrounding the performance of Life At Ten during the Ladies' Classic.

Hearing officer Robert Layton determined Veitch had violated rules of racing by not having Life At Ten inspected by a veterinarian or scratched from the race 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 Ladies' Classic, in which she was not persevered with and ran last as the 7-2 second choice.

The KHRC initiated charges into whether Veitch or Velazquez had violated racing regulations with regard to the incident. Velazquez did not admit to wrongdoing but paid a $10,000 fine, half of which went to a charitable organization.

Veitch refused to admit wrongdoing and also refused to pay a fine, resulting in a lengthy and costly investigation by the KHRC that led to the suspension.

Despite a number of legal motions filed by attorneys on behalf of Veitch, he was unable to be licensed or seek employment until the suspension ended in July of this year. By being hired by Keeneland, Veitch was able to comply with a KHRC rules' interpretation that he needed to have employment before they could grant him a licensing hearing.

Rogers Beasley, director of racing at Keeneland, said the Lexington track decided to hire Veitch to fill an opening in the racing office "because he is obviously somebody who could do a nice job."

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