07/20/2012 4:23PM

Veitch can depose racing board officials in bid for license

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A Kentucky court has given an attorney for John Veitch the authority to depose officials for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in order to determine whether it is a requirement that stewards in the state have a job before being considered for a license, according to the court order.

The order, issued on Thursday, is the latest development in a dispute pitting Veitch against the racing commission. Earlier this year, Veitch was suspended by the racing commission for one year, four months after he was fired from his position as chief state steward. The two sides have engaged in a legal battle over the status of his license since then.

In the latest ruling, Judge Thomas Wingate of the Franklin County Circuit Court ruled that he could not determine whether the racing commission requires stewards to be employed before being licensed. He ordered the two sides to conduct “discovery” over the next 45 days, a decision that will allow Veitch’s attorney, Tom Miler, to interview racing commission employees on the matter.

“I’ll be taking depositions of employees of the horse racing commission and its officials to find out if that’s the case,” said Miller, referring to a policy by the commission of refusing to consider Veitch’s license application until the commission is presented with a track’s roster of racing officials.

Veitch received a stay of the one-year suspension shortly after it was issued. After that, he applied to the racing commission for a license, but the commission returned the application without consideration. Veitch then sued to force the commission to consider the license, and Wingate ruled that the commission should be compelled to review the application if Veitch presented evidence to the commission that a track intended to hire him as a steward.

Miller said that Veitch then submitted a letter to the commission from Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington that said the track was “interested in exploring employing” Veitch. The commission refused to consider issuing a license to Veitch again, Miller said.