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Veitch appeals firing, asks to be reinstated as steward

Alydar trainer John Veitch talked about the horse's rivalry with Triple Crown winner Affirmed in Lexington on March 6, 2008.  Photo by David Stephenson | Staff 5269 This is a photo from video.
Alydar trainer John Veitch talked about the horse's rivalry with Triple Crown winner Affirmed in Lexington on March 6, 2008. Photo by David Stephenson | Staff 5269 This is a photo from video. LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER

Former chief Kentucky racing steward John Veitch, 66, on Wednesday appealed his firing on the grounds of age discrimination, among other reasons. He is requesting that he be reinstated and awarded damages.

Veitch was dismissed Monday and told that because he was fired without cause he wasn't eligible to appeal. But in an appeal filed with the Kentucky Personnel Board, Veitch contends that he is eligible to appeal because his job as chief state steward is not listed under Kentucky statute as an "unclassified" position, and therefore the state must show cause.

He said the Public Protection Cabinet failed to give written notice of its intent to dismiss him and did not give him an opportunity to challenge the termination.

Veitch also said he was "illegally terminated for asserting my statutory and constitutional rights to defend myself in an action brought against me by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission."

The commission voted in March that there was probable cause Veitch violated the rules of racing in the Life At Ten incident during the 2010 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.

The filly went off at second-favorite but finished last after her jockey told TV announcers she wasn't warming up well. She was not tested for drugs afterward, but tests on a pre-race blood sample showed no illegal substances.

Veitch has denied wrongdoing.

A hearing officer's report on the case is due by Dec. 14.

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