The lengthy legal battle between the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and its former chief steward John Veitch, surrounding the Life At Ten incident during the 2010 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1), has come to an end.
According to an agreement reached between the two parties June 7, and approved by the KHRC earlier this week, Veitch agreed that he violated two rules of racing in his handling of the Life At Ten situation and will pay a $2,500 fine for each violation. The agreement also means a one-year suspension, which Veitch served and was later amended down to nine months, is no longer part of the penatly levied on the Hall of Fame trainer and will not be on his record.
The case began after the Todd Pletcher-trained grade 1 winner Life At Ten finished last as the favorite in the Ladies' Classic. In a pre-race television interview, jockey John Velazquez voiced concerns about how his mount was warming up, and during the race the mare was not persevered with. Despite her performance, Life At Ten was not selected for post-race testing.
Further examination of the mare did not show any physical problem that would have led to her performance, and Pletcher concluded that the filly had an allergic reaction to an anti-bleeder medication.
Following an investigation, the commission in February of 2012 suspended Veitch for a year, alleging he violated five administrative regulations in his handling of the situation before and after the race.
Velazquez was also charged with violating two racing regulations for his failure to notify veterinarians of his concerns, and for failing to ride Life At Ten out and easing her without adequate cause. In an agreement with the regulatory agency, Velazquez stipulated that one or more rules may have been violated and agreed to pay a $10,000 fine, half of which went to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
Veitch, who was fired by the commission before the proceedings took place, maintained he did nothing wrong. This set in motion a series of regulatory and legal proceedings that proved costly to both the steward and the commission. Among the outcomes of the legal battles, Veitch's suspension was lowered to nine months and two of the charges were dropped.
Veitch, who was Kentucky's top steward before the 2010 Breeders' Cup, in recent years has worked in the racing office at Kentucky tracks.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled late last year that Veitch violated regulations by his post-race actions but reversed the commission's determination that he had violated regulations in his pre-race actions, leading the two parties to reach the settlement approved by the commission.
Life At Ten went winless in five starts in 2011 before she was retired. The $1.2 million earner and daughter of Malibu Moon has produced a foal annually since 2013, the latest a filly by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah foaled March 22. Life At Ten was purchased by Adena Springs out of the Three Chimneys Sales consignment for $1.95 million at the 2011 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.