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John Veitch appeals Ky. Racing Commission suspension in court

John Veitch
John Veitch LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER

Former chief state racing steward John Veitch is asking Franklin Circuit Court to block a one-year suspension imposed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

In a petition filed Friday, Veitch said the racing commission's suspension will prevent him from working as a steward anywhere until Feb. 15, 2013, because of states' reciprocal recognition of licenses and punishments. He asked for an injunction against enforcement of the suspension and that he be reinstated as chief state steward.

Veitch also is seeking damages for lost income and attorney fees. Veitch was fired in November by Public Protection Cabinet Secretary Bob Vance. No cause was given, but Veitch's handling of the Life At Ten incident at the 2010 Breeders' Cup had been under investigation.

The commission voted last month to accept findings that Veitch was derelict in his duties and imposed a one-year suspension of his steward's license.

Veitch also has appealed his firing with the state.

In Friday's filing, Veitch argued that the racing commission's order should be reversed because the regulations Veitch is charged with violating are unconstitutionally vague and indefinite, and that Veitch was selectively punished because no other steward was sanctioned.

Life At Ten's jockey, John Velazquez, also was charged with violating state racing rules; Velazquez entered a settlement that included a $5,000 fine and a $5,000 charitable contribution but did not admit wrongdoing.

Life At Ten went to post as the second favorite in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic but tailed off and did not finish. Velazquez said beforehand in a TV interview that she was not warming up well but he did not alert vets, stewards or her trainer, Todd Pletcher. After the race, she was not tested for drugs, but testing of a pre-race blood sample showed no sign of prohibited substances.

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