Delay Requested in Filing Life At Ten Report

Delay Requested in Filing Life At Ten Report
Photo: Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs
Life At Ten

The hearing officer in the lengthy Life At Ten investigation has requested a 30-day extension to complete his report to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Robert Layton, who is the chief hearing officer for the Office of Administrative Hearings within the Energy and Environment Cabinet, is drafting the report based on three days of hearings conducted this summer into whether Kentucky chief steward John Veitch violated any rules of racing in his handling of the Life At Ten affair and subsequent filings from attorneys for both parties.

“While the appeal does not present legally complex issues, there is voluminous and contradictory factual proof to be addressed, which requires substantial time to weigh and address," Layton said in his Nov. 14 request. “The hearing officer has also maintained a full docket of hearing cases for the Energy and Environmental Cabinet during this proceeding.”

Under Kentucky law, a hearing officer shall file a written recommended order that includes findings of fact and recommended penalties within 60 days after receiving an official record of the proceedings, unless an extension is granted. Nov. 14 was the deadline for the recommended report.

Life At Ten, owned by Candy DeBartolo and trained by Todd Pletcher, finished last in the Ladies’ Classic (gr. I) 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 race.

The KHRC launched an investigation that included a review of comments Velazquez made to retired jockey Jerry Bailey, who was assisting with the ESPN coverage of the Breeders’ Cup, prior to the race. The jockey said Life At Ten was not warming up as she normally does, but did not relay those concerns to the stewards or any KHRC veterinarians.

The KHRC found probable cause that Velazquez and Veitch had violated rules of racing in connection with the incident. Though he did not admit to violating any rules of racing, Velazquez paid a $10,000 fine, half of which went to charity.

Veitch has said he did nothing wrong in his handling of the case and that the charges against him are due in part to disagreements between him and KHRC executive director Lisa Underwood over handling of disciplinary matters.

Underwood last month announced she was resigning, effective Nov. 16, to become partner in a Lexington law firm.

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