In reviewing the circumstances surrounding Life At Ten’s subpar performance in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I) at Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has concluded that the filly should have undergone post-race testing.
A report, entitled “Investigation of Events Surrounding the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic,” that was approved by the commission March 10, outlined reasons why Life At Ten was not, but should have been, tested following the race.
Life At Ten, owned by Candy DeBartolo and trained by Todd Pletcher, finished last in the Ladies’ Classic as the second choice at odds of 7-2. With jockey John Velazquez aboard, Life At Ten had no run when the field left the gate, and she was not persevered with throughout the 1 1/8-mile race.
Before the race, Velazquez told retired jockey Jerry Bailey, who was assisting with the ESPN coverage of the Breeders’ Cup, that the filly did not look right, but he apparently did not relay those concerns to the stewards or any KHRC veterinarians.
According to the report, Life At Ten was not tested because:
--All three racing stewards believed protocol from the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association’s Graded Stakes Committee require that the top four finishers from each graded race undergo post-race drug testing;
--Senior steward John Veitch did not believe the test barn at Churchill Downs could accommodate extra horses; and
--There was concern among stewards that Life At Ten might require veterinary care.
A pre-race blood sample taken from Life At Ten was negative, but the report noted that some substances can be detected only in post-race tests.
According to the report, there was post-race radio communication indicating that Life At Ten was fine. Also, stewards did not contact the test barn to determine if the barn was full. Finally, Dr. Mary Scollay, equine medical director for the KHRC, said they would never decline to sample a horse due to overcrowding in the test barn, the report stated.
While the Graded Stakes Committee does not require post-race testing of the top four finishers in a graded race, it is a requirement of the Breeders’ Cup and authorizes stewards to test additional horses, the report stated. Also, post-race testing of the top four finishers in graded stakes has been the custom in Kentucky for the last seven years.
Also, according to the report, a Kentucky regulation that went into effect in February of this year, but was not in effect last fall, the top three finishers in graded stakes, along with one or more additional horses in a race, will be sampled, as per guidelines in the regulation. The report stated those guidelines would result in Life At Ten being tested.