02/27/2013 12:29PM

Veitch motion to reopen Life At Ten investigation being considered by judge


A Franklin Circuit Court judge on Wednesday deferred ruling on a motion by former Kentucky Chief State Steward John Veitch to reopen an investigation into the Life At Ten incident during the 2010 Breeders’ Cup, an inquiry that cost Veitch his job.

Veitch’s attorney filed the motion to reopen the case a week ago, claiming that members of the state racing commission were provided with “inaccurate information” in a report prepared by a hearing officer that recommended Veitch be suspended for one year for his role in the incident. Veitch is currently appealing that suspension, which was handed down a year ago, several months after Veitch had already been fired.

The racing commission filed a response to the motion seeking its dismissal, contending that Veitch has not presented specific evidence of the information that he claimed was inaccurate. The response characterized the motion as a “fishing expedition” and reiterated the hearing officer’s conclusions that Veitch had provided misleading testimony during the investigation into the incident.

In the motion to reopen the case, Veitch’s attorney said that he intended to depose a racing commissioner, Tom Conway, who had voted along with other racing commissioners to approve the hearing officer’s findings to suspend Veitch for a year. The vote to approve the report was unanimous.

Tom Miller, Veitch’s attorney, said that Judge Thomas Wingate was “non-committal” to the motion at the Wednesday morning hearing.

“He said he was taking it under advisement,” Miller said.

Veitch was placed under scrutiny after Life At Ten performed poorly in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Churchill Downs. Prior to the race, Life At Ten’s jockey, John Velazquez, told television broadcasters that the filly was “not warming up the way she usually does.” Although Veitch acknowledged that he had received information prior to the race that the rider had made comments casting doubt on the filly’s condition, he did not order veterinarians to conduct an on-site examination.

An investigation into the incident exposed numerous communications failures by on-site personnel. The hearing officer concluded that Veitch had violated five racing rules for failing to order the filly to be examined or sent to the test barn after the race.