John Veitch

John Veitch

Anne M. Eberhardt

State Likely to Appeal Latest Veitch Decision

Judge's Nov. 24 ruling was the latest development in the convoluted case.

The state cabinet that oversees the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission likely will appeal a circuit court judge's ruling that former Kentucky chief steward John Veitch was improperly dismissed in November 2011.

Kentucky Horse Racing Commission chairman Bob Beck said staff and legal counsel will decide to appeal or not appeal by Friday, Dec. 5, which would be the deadline for such an appeal. Beck said an appeal by the Public Protection Cabinet would be likely. He added that the KHRC does not have to conduct a vote on the matter.

On Nov. 24 Franklin (Frankfort) Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate ruled that when Veitch was dismissed without cause Nov. 28, 2011, the move should have been carried out by the KHRC. It actually was carried out by Public Protection Cabinet secretary Robert Vance. The KHRC falls under the auspices of the Public Protection Cabinet.

The Nov. 24 ruling was the latest development in the convoluted case that began with the 2010 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs. It eventually led to Veitch, a Hall of Fame trainer, being dismissed from his position as the chief regulator for Kentucky Thoroughbred racing and suspended by the KHRC.

In an executive session of the regular KHRC meeting Dec. 2 at the Kentucky Horse Park, Beck said staff updated commission members on the case.

Following his dismissal, Veitch was 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 2010 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I).

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.

Veitch has subsequently regained his license and since October 2013 has been employed an official in the racing office at Keeneland.

To read the judge's Nov. 24 ruling, click here.