03/12/2012 12:55PM

Veitch files lawsuit disputing firing in Life At Ten case


John Veitch, the former chief state steward for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, filed a lawsuit in Franklin Circuit Court on Friday disputing his firing last year and a one-year suspension approved by the commission in mid-February.

The suit asks the court to lift the suspension and “immediately reinstate” Veitch as the chief state steward, according to a copy of the suit. Among other allegations, the suit contends that the rules that were used to suspend Veitch are unconstitutionally vague and that his rights to due process were violated during a year-long investigation into whether Veitch broke Kentucky racing rules during the Life at Ten incident at the Breeders’ Cup last year.

Veitch was fired in November, several weeks prior to the release of a hearing officer’s report into the Life at Ten incident. The commission approved a one-year suspension recommended by the report on Feb. 16, even though Veitch no longer worked for the state. The suspension prohibits Veitch from applying for a license in Kentucky for one year, a penalty that would also likely be upheld in other states under racing’s rules of reciprocity.

Life at Ten finished last in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic shortly after her jockey, John Velazquez, told television commentators that the filly “was not warming up like she normally does.” The remark led to criticism that Veitch should have ordered the filly examined or scratched.