Judge Rules Former Kentucky Chief Steward Veitch Improperly Dismissed

by | 11.28.2014 | 10:43am
John Veitch

According to a story by The Blood-Horse, a Circuit Court judge has ruled that former Kentucky chief state steward John Veitch was improperly dismissed from his position in 2011 and has ordered Veitch reinstated with back wages.

Veitch was dismissed from his chief steward position without cause in a Nov. 28, 2011 letter and then suspended by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission for a year regarding the circumstances around Life At Ten's performance in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Distaff. Veitch has since regained his license and is currently an official in the racing office at Keeneland.

“Even though all the necessary and appropriate agency heads and authorities concurred in terminating Veitch, Secretary Vance took unilateral action in terminating Veitch,” judge Thomas Wingate wrote. “While this may be a distinction without a different result at the end of the day, this Court believes that, because the KHRC is a statutorily created independent agency of state government, Secretary Vance did not have the authority to terminate Veitch.”

Read more at The Blood-Horse

  • Daniel Jividen

    A comedy of errors.

    • Lynn

      Errors yes, transparency?

      Scratching a horse in the post parade and warm up before a race for health related or unsoundness issues falls mostly on the responsibility of the Racing Commission’s Veterinarians. Granted hindsight is better than foresight, why didn’t The Kentucky Equine Medical Director or one of the
      Kentucky Racing Commission Veterinarian’s recommend to the Stewards that the horse Life At Ten be scratched?

      The failures of The Kentucky Equine Medical Director and at least one of the
      Kentucky Racing Commission Veterinarian’s roll in why the scratch was not done in this case with Life At Ten, hasn’t been transparent.

      It was the easy way out
      to for the regulators to go after John Veitch.

      • Black Helen

        Any horseman watching on TV could tell LAT was in major distress tying up.
        Why didn’t Pletcher scratch her??
        The trainer is responsible for the horse’s welfare!!!

        How many TC nominations of 3yrs old did Todd have this spring??(A zillion)
        How many raced in the TC races? How many survived the summer??(very few)
        This guy makes me sick


      • Gaye Goodwin

        Todd Pletcher is the only one responsible for running a horse that was not fit to run. Everyone else would have been guessing. Todd knew.

    • jonrand

      You might recall that the stewards declined to notify the vets about the rider’s comments on TV that the horse was not warming up properly.

      • Lexington 4

        You might recall that is not how the process works.

        Veitch was the commission’s sacrificial lamb to a simple-headed public demanding its pound of flesh. Hope he gets all of his money back.

  • Mousse

    Screw-ups all the way around here (Veitch, State vet, Johnny V, and Todd)….that he was scapegoated by the KHRC is without question. Lessons learned, it’s over, move on!

  • J

    I am Very Happy for MR Veitch.

  • FourCats

    It doesn’t sound, from the article, that Mr. Veitch was exonerated but rather that his dismissal was overturned because the wrong authority fired him.

    Clearly there was confusion before the race about who said or knew what. But, once the race had been run and it was clear that something was wrong with Life at Ten, the failure of the stewards to order a post-race test was negligence at best. Was it Mr. Veitch, as chief steward, who should have been held most at fault for that negligence? Should he have been fired as a result? If so, who should have done the firing? I don’t know those answers. But the stewards should be held just as accountable for negligent decisions as trainers and jockeys are.

    • Bellwether

      FC’s your statement is absolutely on time but a bunch here can’t read and comprehend @ the same time…ty…

      • Bellwether

        I will change that from a bunch to some…

    • Jttf

      The race fans should have had their bets on life at ten refunded. Kentucky is flip flopping on their decisions, lately. Claiborne farms horse that is disqualified for so positive, then gets a clean slate. Vet named steward gets his cased overturned. Caste llano goes to court to change the date of his suspension. Then the breeding capital wants get rid of LASIX and later flops like the breeders cup committee.
      Veitch displays ignorance when allowing the top three year olds run in twenty horse field without any disqualifications. Post one in the derby is a hazard. Veitch doesn’t care about the safety issues. Why ignore the ankle injuries associated with the Churchill downs surface ?

  • Black Helen

    John Veitch is an honest and good man.
    Pletcher the Butcher should have looked after his filly instead of the Good Ol Boys looking after him.

  • Francis Bush

    Now that Veitch has been cleared I would like for the Breeders’ Cup to send my money back that I lost on Life at Ten. The steward’s should have prevented this horse from racing. Based on the decision that resulted in the fine against the jockey, I find it disgusting that the horse was not scratched. Also, have the Breeders’s Cup send my wager back on the sorry decision in the crossover by Bayern causing my horse to finish third. Interesting that Bayern fouled the favorite and not other horses. Bayern’s jockey gave a miserable excuse of his ride.

  • Lenny Lu

    CDI can afford this. They’ll just use <1% off all the money they saved when they fired every Calder employee to cover Mr. Veitch's back wages.

    • RayPaulick

      The Kentucky Racing Commission is responsible for the salary.

      • Stop confusing the issue with facts just because you know them smarty pants!

  • Larry Kelly

    Thank God…because this would have opened the doors for not being responsible for your horse. .kinda like let’s blame Firestone tires for us losing the 500…….

  • Bellwether

    Every human involved in the Life @ Ten fiasco is guilty but the only fall guy now is Johnny V…

  • Richard C

    John Veitch had his reputation destroyed in this seedy and shadowy political game of assigning blame to a fall guy. A check can be cut, but the damage has been done.

  • Gene

    the judge must be a buddy of his, this guy is a loser and should never be allowed around a race track again.

  • Oh give up the ghost.

    • Lexington 4

      Who are you talking to?

  • Concerned Observer

    So you think the stewards should be watching television during the race day? Hmmmm???
    It sure would be sad if the stewards were to miss the inane time filler chatter that I have to endure between races, or the discussion of ladies hats during Derby Day.

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