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Monday, December 1, 2014

A Slight Detour into the Thoroughbred World

Glad to hear former Chief Steward for Thoroughbred Racing in Kentucky John Veitch was ordered reinstated with back pay by a Kentucky Circuit Court according to ESPN.  As you may be aware, Veitch was fired for the Life At Ten fiasco in the 2010 Breeders Cup when the Jockey told ESPN the horse was not right yet was not scratched.

Granted, this is probably a short-lived victory as the judge ruled Veitch could only be fired by the KHRC and not the Public Protection Cabinet.  The smart thing for the KHRC to do at this time is accept the judges decision after which they will probably fire Veitch from the position of chief regulator; the judge even acknowledged the end result will probably be the same.  But for using Veitch as a scapegoat, I say let the KHRC pay Veitch (I can only hope it was a six figure salary).

Clearly mistakes were made that day but it was a unique situation never before encountered.  Were the judges supposed to be watching the Breeders Cup activity on NBC or doing their normal duties?  Why didn't the jockey report the problem directly to the vet or the starter at the starting gate instead of just a television audience?  Make no mistake, Life At Ten should have been examined and subjected to post-race testing after the race to make sure nothing nefarious happened.  Plenty of mistakes and blame to go around.

The fact is Veitch was used as a scapegoat for the problems that day.  True, Jockey John Velasquez was fined $10,000 which half was donated to a charity for his part in the mess but he received no days and admitted no wrong doing.  Let's face it, while not pocket change, it was a negotiated slap of the hand.  Firing Veitch was supposed to be the scalp which cleansed Kentucky thoroughbred racing and the regulators.  Yes, mistakes were made; errors in judgement.  But to pin it all on one person is wrong.  You don't hang someone out to dry in this situation.  Let's face it, similar situations happened on regular race days (minus the television reporter) and nothing is done.  Let the KHRC pay; pay through the nose.

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