12/05/2014 3:36PM

Kentucky Racing Commission fights ruling requiring Veitch to be rehired


The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Friday asked a judge to stay a ruling that would require the commission to reinstate its former chief state steward, John Veitch, and additionally filed a notice that it intended to appeal the ruling.

The filings argued that a reinstatement of Veitch would cause “irreparable harm” to the commission and its current chief state steward, Barbara Borden, who was appointed shortly after Veitch was fired in November 2011.

“Reinstating petitioner would disrupt the status quo of the last three years and remove Ms. Borden from her position, causing immediate irreparable harm to both the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and Ms. Borden,” states the motion, filed in Franklin Circuit Court.

The motion also states that Veitch is not currently licensed to work as a steward.

Last Friday, a circuit court judge ruled that Vetch was improperly fired by the Public Protection Cabinet, which oversees the racing commission. The judge, Thomas Wingate, instead stated that any decision to fire Veitch had to be made explicitly by the racing commission.

The ruling was the latest chapter in a four-year legal saga with a handful of twists and turns.

Veitch was fired several months prior to the release of a report examining an incident at the 2010 Breeders’ Cup involving the filly Life At Ten. The report claimed that Veitch should have asked veterinarians to examine Life At Ten after her jockey, John Velazquez, said in a televised interview approximately five minutes to post of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff that the filly “was not warming up like she normally does.” She finished last in the race, without urging from Velazquez.

At the report’s recommendation, the commission suspended Veitch for one year at the beginning of 2012 even though he had already been fired. After receiving a license in 2013, Veitch has since worked as a minor racing official at Keeneland.