Chief Steward Veitch dumped by KHRC prior to Life at Ten report

Life at Ten and John Velazquez Winning the Beldame
Life At Ten and John Velazquez win the Beldame Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010, at Belmont Park in New York. (AP Photo / NYRA)

Ron Mitchell, writing for the Blood-Horse, reports:

    John Veitch, chief steward for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission who was the subject of an investigation into the Life At Ten situation during the 2010 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, was dismissed from his position Nov. 28.

    The action comes in the midst of a hearing officer completing a final report from an investigation and hearings held this summer regarding the performance of Life At Ten during the 2010 Breeders’ Cup World Championships. 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 June 28-30. Earlier this month, Layton requested and received a 30-day extension in which to complete his report.

    Life At Ten, owned by Candy DeBartolo and trained by Todd Pletcher, finished last in the Breeders’ Cup 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.

Pletcher said at the time that the mare either “tied-up” for which he had no explanation, or had a reaction to her pre-race injection of Lasix, for which he had no explanation. Life at Ten ran on Lasix in all of her other races without (reported) incident. Pletcher also admitted he noticed that Life at Ten (and I am paraphrasing here) was quiet — not herself — when she was being saddled for the race in question. If the Kentucky Horse Racing Commisssion is going to spend enormous amounts of time and energy in a sincere effort to get to the bottom of the situation, let’s hope Pletcher was the first person called on the carpet.

But what we are going to get is a report compiled by an insider concerning the investigation and hearing and we will mostly likely never know whether Veitch has been singled out, or sacked.

Horseracing is notorious for circling the wagons, giving out very little data, or giving it out in such a way that the most exquisite mind struggles to comprehend it. Scapegoating appears to be another of their tactics. At any rate, it will be interesting to see what the report reveals.

It looks like a case of betting fraud could be alleged, and possibly, probably, the only reason so much attention is being given to the Life at Ten controversy. Life at Ten was 2nd favorite in a heavily bet race and finished last, and when it is reportedly pretty clear that a number of professional eyewitnesses questioned her suitability to run.

It certainly has nothing to do with the horse. The mare’s owner “retired” her and dumped her in a sale shortly after the Breeders’ Cup. Not long thereafter, however, she was withdrawn.

The Daily Racing Form reports:

    In a release issued Saturday, Fasig-Tipton said Life At Ten’s owner, Candy DeBartolo, and Pletcher decided against entering her in the auction after consultation with the sale company.

Wow, a press release following the withdrawal of the sale of Life at Ten. Wouldn’t we all like to know what Fasig-Tipton had to say in that consultation? Where is Life at Ten now? She has entered Thoroughbred breeding mill.

The Thoroughbred Times reports:

    Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs signed the ticket for $1.95-million for multiple Grade 1 winner Life At Ten on Monday at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale for his fourth purchase of the opening session.

The end.

7 thoughts on “Chief Steward Veitch dumped by KHRC prior to Life at Ten report”

  1. Coincidentally pehaps, Representative Ed Whitfield, (R) Kentucky has introdcued a bill in Congress to support the ban of all race day drugs. It would be an excellent idea I think to support this bill.

    I am very interested in finding out what drugs or substances are used to mask the presence of banned drugs on race day in case anyone knows where to look for this.


  2. Exactly. Not even a slap on the wrists of the owner and trainer……

    “The mare’s owner “retired” her and dumped her in a sale shortly after the Breeders’ Cup.”

    That, to me, speaks volumes about how much this owner actually “cares” about the welfare of LAT. And yes, where is she? On a truck to the slaughterhouse? Disgusting.


  3. Yes, Barb, such a small percentage of the 1000s of TB foals produced each year make it to the racetrack. Jane will know the correct percentage. What happens to the rest? As you said Barb. We know where many of them end up on a dinner plate.

    Jane, I agree all the way. I see what you are saying about Veitch being at least being partly culpable. But with the sacking of Veitch (if the LAT incident is the reason he was dumped), does that say that the owners and trainers of a racehorse are not responsible for failing to scratch a horse clearly not prepared to run (did they think she was going to come to life in the stalls or something?), that it rests solely on the Chief Steward? I am not enamoured with the betting side of the game, but it is there, so we must consider the bettors too.

    American horse racing is in a shambles, as most of the country’s sport is — pro and college — because greed rules. It is only because a certain percentage can still spin millions of dollars, that the ‘powers that be’ think they are in good shape. There is no integrity left in American sport, anywhere I can see.


  4. The whole point of the article continues to point the finger at the atrocities of horse racing….Vietch, although no doubt at fault to some extent is, as the article so clearly indicates, is simply a coverup to appease the public, and is of no consequence to repairing the tragic state of affairs that the horse raicing industry currently exists as. Simply a pawn to appease and cloak the true nature of the “so-called” game. Shame on the lame body of individuals who continue to call this a sustainable sport yet support the massacre of these truly magnificent animals. What was once beautiful is now tragic.


  5. This horse, like all of the other mares forced to reproduce ever year until they are to old will likely end up sent to slaughter as will all of the foals she has. Maybe she will produce a winner but who knows. Some of these horses simply are not runners. And the breed now is so damaged by inbreeding by greedy owners looking for that million dollar baby that there’s not much hope for any of them. As I have said before there’s no telling how many foals die at birth or shortly after because of deformities or genetic diseases.


  6. Well see what I am saying Racing is cleaning up there act, at least they reprimand those who do wrong………………. and FIRE THEM no explanations Just fire them……………….. This kind of action is what should happen to the BLM murders………….


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