One day after the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission released a report saying jockey John Velazquez might have violated regulations during Life At Ten's non-effort in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic, the rider's attorney fired back with claims the organization is trying to make her client into a scapegoat.
In a statement released Friday, Maggi Moss — who is also a leading owner — took issue with the commission's claim that Velazquez's actions "were not in the best interest of racing" when he told ESPN reporters that Life At Ten was not warming up well before the race and then proceeded to ease her when she lost contact with the field shortly after the start.
The three charges against Velazquez included that the horse was not "ridden out," as statutes require every horse to be ridden "so as to win or finish as near as possible to first and demonstrate the best and fastest performance of which it is capable at the time."
"On behalf of all jockeys in the world, this precedence is at most chilling, and now sets an unworkable standard for all jockeys," Moss said in her statement. "By electing to proceed with such a charge, the regulators are essentially setting a precedent that jockeys should scratch every horse that warms up sound but sluggish. Otherwise, they could potentially be to subject to sanctions or other penalties.
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"We do not make light or undermine the travesty to racing and the betting public as a result of the 'Life at Ten incident' during the 2010 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic," the statement continued. "However, charging John Velazquez, an individual with such great integrity, after months of 'investigation' will never improve the image of our sport and rebuild the public trust. He is, quite simply, a scapegoat. The entire process, as well as the charges against Mr. Velazquez, will not withstand legal scrutiny."
Velazquez could face penalties that result in the suspension or revocation of his jockey's license.