06/20/2017 4:40PM

Veitch, Kentucky commission end long legal battle


The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on Tuesday voted to accept a settlement with former chief state steward John Veitch that will remove a one-year suspension from his record and end nearly a seven-year legal battle between the two sides, according to KHRC officials.

The settlement, which was hashed out in a mediation session several weeks ago, was approved by the commission following an executive session held at the close of a Tuesday meeting. Under the settlement, Veitch will be charged with a $5,000 fine for his role in the so-called Life At Ten incident at the 2010 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs in Louisville, but an initial one-year suspension – which Vietch served – will be stricken from his record, according to Marc Guilfoil, the executive director of the commission.

“That’s it,” Guilfoil said. “It’s all over now.”

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The commission initially charged Veitch with five administrative violations after Life At Ten finished last in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Distaff after her rider, John Velazquez, told a national television audience minutes before the race that the horse “was not warming up like she normally does.” The commission had ruled that Veitch failed in his responsibility as chief state steward by not taking appropriate actions based on Velazquez’s comment.

Following the ruling, Veitch has won several appeals, the latest being in 2016, when a judge ordered the case back to the commission while recommending a nine-month suspension. According to Guilfoil, both sides agreed to the mediation rather than re-litigating the case.

Veitch was fired as chief state steward prior to the commission releasing its final findings in the case. A former trainer who is in racing’s Hall of Fame, Veitch has worked in a variety of jobs at Keeneland in recent years.