Legal battle not over for Hall of Fame trainer, racing steward

John Veitch

Years of legal wrangling took another twist this week as a Franklin Circuit Court judge said John Veitch should be reinstated to his job as chief racing steward with back pay.

Judge Thomas Wingate signed the order Tuesday. That does not mean that Veitch will be back in his $90,000-a-year job at the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, said Thomas Miller, his attorney. The state Public Protection Cabinet, which terminated Veitch, can appeal the ruling. A Herald-Leader message left Friday for the cabinet's attorneys was not returned.

Veitch was terminated in 2010.

Around the same time he was fired by the cabinet, the racing commission voted to revoke Veitch's steward's license for a year. His steward's license was revoked following questions about his handling of the horse Life At Ten at the November 2010 Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs. One of the favorites, Life At Ten inexplicably finished last. The horse wasn't immediately examined or tested for drugs.

Miller said Veitch also appealed the license ruling and he is now awaiting a decision by the state personnel board.

Veitch is the Hall of Fame trainer of Alydar. His father and grandfather have a long history in the horse business, Miller said. Although Veitch could receive up to $270,000 in back pay, Miller said his client's main goal is clearing his name.

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