Updated on 09/27/2013 9:28AM

Keeneland: Veitch gets job at fall meet

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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.”