Updated on 09/27/2013 9:28AM

Keeneland: Veitch gets job at fall meet

Coady Photography/Keeneland
John Veitch will work at the Keeneland fall meet as a patrol judge and entry clerk.

John Veitch, the former Kentucky state steward who was fired and suspended for his role in the Life At Ten incident at the 2010 Breeders’ Cup, will work as a patrol judge and entry clerk during the upcoming meet at Keeneland in Lexington.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission approved Veitch’s employment at the track when it conducted a vote Monday to approve a list of all racing officials for the track’s fall meet Oct. 4-26.

“Horse racing has been my whole life,” Veitch said Tuesday. “I’ve never done anything else. I’m very pleased to be back in the game, and very pleased that Keeneland has made room for me.”

Veitch was fired late in 2011, several months before a hearing officer released a report examining the Life At Ten incident. Following the release of the report in early 2012, the commission approved a one-year suspension.

Life At Ten was never prevailed upon during the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Churchill Downs and finished last. Minutes prior to the race, her jockey, John Velazquez, told television interviewers that the filly “was not warming up like she normally does.”

That led to allegations that Veitch, as chief state steward, should have ordered a veterinarian to examine the filly prior to her going into the gate and sent Life At Ten to the test barn after the race. Velazquez never communicated his concerns to any veterinarians posted around the track or at the gate, and veterinarians testified during a lengthy hearing in 2011 that they did not see anything obviously wrong with the filly leading up to the race.

Veitch still has two appeals pending of both his firing and the penalties handed down by the commission, according to his attorney, Tom Miller. He was fired by an official of the state’s Environmental Protection Cabinet, which oversees the racing commission.

“He’s real happy to be back,” Miller said.

Rogers Beasley, the vice president of racing at Keeneland, said he had “no reservations” about hiring Veitch. “He’s served his time, and he’s a good official,” Beasley said. “We thought it was a good time to get him back in racing.”

Veitch, who as a trainer was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, said he has made inquiries to Churchill Downs and other racetracks in Kentucky about open positions.

“I’ve put my name in the hat,” he said. “I hope [the Keeneland position] will lead to bigger and better things.”

Quite A Dude More than 1 year ago
Still hard to believe he lost his cases. How many stewards have scratched a horse off a TV interview??
Steve S More than 1 year ago
If you want to blame someone, blame the trainer. Obviously the horse was "gotten to". A horse of that quality doesn't get that bad before a race unless something sneaky went on. Just like Holy Bull. Look up " halcion"
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Clearly there was an issue with Life at Ten. JV (jock) got fined, but what about the track vet that day ? Veitch , could have made the decision to scratch but did not. JV (jock) informed everyone watching that day in a post parade warm up interview that the horse wasn't herself but continued to go to post and as a result, paid a fine. Veitch, loses job, gets a bad rap. It should have been on the tracks Vets. Veitch has been around the block longer than all of us put together. I am happy your back in Kentucky Mr. Veitch....
Steve S More than 1 year ago
Veitch got screwed. What are you thinking????????
Margaret Hauer More than 1 year ago
Reply 1 reply+3 Margaret Hauer Glad John is back. He has always been a class act in this business. He gives me hope that racing will survive and come back stronger than ever. God Bless and good luck, John, From a struggling Beulah Park Fan.
John Sigerson More than 1 year ago
Most people deserve a second chance so it is commendable that Vietch is allowed back but I will always remember the hard line he took on anyone who appealed his rulings. His take was that the punishment he meted out should be doubled if someone dared appeal. He made numerous appeals in regards to his firing. I guess it is not much fun when somone threatens your liveliehood is it John.
tim blake More than 1 year ago
and yes, I definitely blame the trainer and jockey for the 2010 incident but i know to expect it from them. But the stewards are supposed to prottect the betting public. that's part of their job.
tim blake More than 1 year ago
i'm disappointed in Keeneland. Wasn't Veitch still there the next year when Goldikova was given a pass for taking out a few horses when she finished 3rd? Two years in a row he made it clear to bettors that even at Breeders Cup, no one is looking out for them. why would anyone continue betting on a game where they can get screwed 10 different ways with no protection?
Steve S More than 1 year ago
Pick more winners and quit whining.
turfnsport More than 1 year ago
Amy Zimmerman (The TV producer) called the stewards booth to let them know about Johnny V's comments. Veitch did nothing and then did not have the filly take a post race test. He dropped the ball protecting the betting public on one of racing's biggest days and got what he deserved. I did not like the filly going into the race and loaded up at post time against her after I saw on TV that she was not right. I cashed big time, and I'm still pissed bettors were screwed. She should have been scratched.
tim blake More than 1 year ago
agreed 100%. I didn't like Life At Ten before the post parade and made quite a bit of money on the race. But i'd give it all back to get good officials in the future....and if it meant other people wouldn't lose faith and run from the sport like horses from a burning barn.
Ed More than 1 year ago
the pair of ya probably gave it ALL BACK long ago
tom More than 1 year ago
John Veitch has been one of the most incompetent stewards of the last 25 years, his decisions in the judge's booth were at best incompetent and at worst criminal. A sad day for Kentucky racing, as I will now pass on betting their races this fall. john Veitch was in charge at Churchill and let people lose millions and then blamed everybody else, that shows a lack of character, who blames everybody else when YOU'RE IN CHARGE? but that was just the last decision in a very incompetent steward's career, there were many other calls for years that he should have been fired but just like anything else, it's the good ole boys network.
SaratogaBob More than 1 year ago
Good to see John back where he belongs...at the races. I've known John for over 25 years and he has always shown the highest integrity whether it be training or as a track official. I wish him the best and a long career.
Margaret Hauer More than 1 year ago
Glad John is back. He has always been a class act in this business. He gives me hope that racing will survive and come back stronger than ever. God Bless and good luck, John, From a struggling Beulah Park Fan.