08/26/2016 11:00AM

Kentucky court seeks clarification in Veitch case


A Kentucky circuit judge has ordered the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to provide a “proper explanation” to former chief state steward John Veitch regarding how the commission apportioned three three-month suspensions to Veitch based on his actions in the 2010 Life At Ten case.

The ruling is the latest development in a long-running case in which Veitch has been attempting to clear his name in the incident. Veitch was initially suspended for one year by the commission, citing five administrative violations pertaining chiefly to Veitch’s responsibility to perform his duties. Life At Ten finished last in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic after jockey John Velazquez stated in a television interview just prior to the start of the race that the horse “was not warming up like she normally does.”

In the latest ruling, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate wrote that the commission has not provided a detailed explanation for how it determined that Veitch should serve three individual three-month suspensions. Wingate had earlier vacated two of the five violations that the commission levied against Veitch and ordered the commission to reduce the suspension to nine months.

Veitch has already served the entire one-year suspension.

“After five years of litigation, the KHRC owes Veitch a proper explanation of the penalty imposed against him for violating the KHRC administrative regulations,” Wingate wrote. “This explanation could be a comprehensive writing, detailed with supporting evidence from the administrative record taking into consideration any similar circumstances against which Veitch’s conduct can be judged.”

Wingate’s ruling was in response to Veitch’s appeal of the KHRC’s allocation of the penalties. In the appeal, Veitch argued that the commission failed to consider similar incidents and did not adequately explain its rationale for the three penalties.