Steward Could Be Fined, Suspended

Published: June 27, 2011 02:54 pm EDT

The administrative trial of Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Chief State Steward John Veitch is scheduled to get underway on Tuesday, June 28. It is possible that the former trainer and hall of famer could be suspended

as many as five years and fined up to $50,000.

As explained in an article by the Courier-Journal, Veitch's trial, which could run as long as three days, is in regard to the way he dealt with the filly Life At Ten during the 2010 edition of the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic.

Veitch has been scrutinized for his handling of the filly and the race. The lass was allowed to load in the gate and race even though her rider, John Velazquez, had gone on the record just before the tilt as saying that she wasn't warming up the way she normally did. Given the jockey's comments, the distaffer did not get checked by the commission vets before the race.

Life At Ten, who went off as the 7-2 second post-time choice, had a slow start in the race, found herself well behind the leaders and went unurged by Velazquez in the late stages of the contest, much to the chagrin of the wagering public.

(With files from the Courier-Journal)



If Veitch had to listen to any and all riders at post time, he would be having 2-3 horses checked each race. Johnny V did not say enough to have his horse checked. He simply said his horse wasn't warming up the way he usually did.

It was just a fluke that it was heard on ESPN. What if the TV station was getting ready to talk to another jockey, not J.V.His comments would never be heard, and the public would see that a horse got distanced, which happens a lot of times.

More to this than meets the eye. Veitch should tell them where to stick the fine and get into another line of work at the track. He could work at a high-class farm, getting horses ready to race.A lot of avenues there for him.
Bear in mind it wasn't Veitch who had to inspect at the gate; it would be a vet who was told to inspect by Veitch.

If the comments of JV were later by two minutes, nothing would be done.No inspection; no fine; no suspension of Veitch.

As far as I know, Veitch ran a tight ship and had no drug problem with his string of horses.The track/people employing Veitch have a good employee. Wake up.

Can you say scapegoat? This blog entry says it all.

Monday Notes and a Scapegoat

In the movie Breaker Morant; based on a real story, three Australian lieutenants are executed for killing Boer prisoners that their superior officers ordered. Such an outrage in diplomatic circles broke out that the high command decided to scapegoat these three soldiers to deflect attention from their own actions. One problem was the three condemned men put up a good defense that it was obvious what the military high command did.

Well, while not quite the same thing, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is looking to ‘execute’ their own steward John Veitch for the Life At Ten debacle at this past Breeders Cup for the Life At Ten incident. As you recall, the jockey of Life At Ten, Jorge Velazquez, didn’t tell the stewards about Life At Ten’s sluggishness, but told ESPN. When ESPN allegedly communicated the issue to the Stewards, Veitch didn’t act upon it and when the race went off, Life At Ten was almost immediately pulled up. Now, Veitch is facing an administrative hearing for the lack of action taken in this incident.

In an effort to placate the racing public, the KHRC is putting Veitch on trial where a person who earns $90,000 a year is may be suspended for five years and fined $50,000. Were this to happen in a $10,000 claiming race, on any regular race day, nothing would have been done. However, this occurred in front of a national audience so the KHRC must extract their pound of flesh from their scapegoat. If Velazquez or the trainer did what they should have done and notified the stewards, this affair would never have occurred. I doubt in the rulebook for Kentucky it says they must watch the ESPN telecast and take action based on an interview occurring pre-race.

The right thing which should have been done is the KHRC should issue a letter of memorandum to their stewards telling them what should be done in the future should this situation ever occur again; instead of correcting their errors, they have decided to kill the career of their own steward.

So what makes me discuss thoroughbred racing? First, what they are doing to Veitch is plain wrong and outrageous. Secondly it is typical of horse racing of all breeds; never get in front of an issue but reacts when all hell breaks loose. There have been several incidents in harness racing where the potential for a big public relations failure has arisen. Mistakes shouldn’t happen but they do. The key is to fix them when it occurs and not wait until it becomes a national issue and to make a victim out of someone for a racing commission’s own shortcomings.

If he gets anything like a $50,000 fine and a 5 year suspension for this then every trainer could/should be in the same boat!!