Another Turn in KHRC-Veitch Case

Court orders KHRC to reconsider length of suspension of its former chief steward.

More than five years after the race that led the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to sanction its then-chief steward John Veitch, legal proceedings continue.

For the second time, the Franklin (Ky.) Circuit Court remanded the matter of Veitch's suspension length to the KHRC. The court asked that the KHRC apportion Veitch's penalty to the remaining regulatory violations.

Also, the court specifically asked that the KHRC consider similar circumstances when determining the penalty.

All of this goes back to Veitch's handling of Life At Ten's run in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. Life At Ten appeared to be listless before the race and in a televised pre-race interview, jockey John Velazquez noted that the filly wasn't warming up well.

Life At Ten showed little when the gate opened and Velazquez soon wrapped her up. Velazquez paid a $10,000 fine after the race, with half the money going to charity.

According to the court, Veitch was initially charged with five regulatory violations and punished with a 12-month suspension. A 2012 Court of Appeals decision reversed the KHRC order regarding regulatory violations sustained before the race, but determined post-race violations—Life At Ten was not sent to the test barn—occurred.

This latest court decision determined a nine-month suspension for those remaining sanctions is not apportioned to the post-race violations and the case has been returned to the KHRC. 

The current point of debate over length of suspension has been moot for some time, after Veitch served that suspension in 2011-12. But the Racing Hall of Famer has maintained that he followed state rules and has continued to contest the KHRC decisions. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story said this is the second time the court determined the KHRC did not appropriately apportion its penalty. This is the second time the court has remanded consideration of its penalty to the KHRC but the issue of apportioning was not brought up the first time.