Kentucky Personnel Board finds that chief state steward was improperly fired

John Veitch

The Kentucky Personnel Board has ruled that John Veitch was improperly fired from his post as chief state steward and is entitled to be reinstated and receive back pay to Nov. 28, 2011, when he was fired.

The board ruled Wednesday that Public Protection Cabinet Secretary Robert Vance did not have the authority to fire Veitch; the executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission must do it, the board found.

The board ruled that Veitch failed to prove age discrimination or that he was a merit employee who could be fired only for cause. The board also found that Veitch's firing was unrelated to his handling of the controversial case of Life At Ten at the 2010 Breeders' Cup in Louisville.

The Public Protection Cabinet may appeal the order.

Veitch was appointed in 2005.

He was criticized for not taking action after Life At Ten's jockey, John Velazquez, said in a televised interview before the 2010 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic that Life At Ten wasn't warming up properly. Although Life At Ten was the second favorite in the Ladies' Classic, she ran a lackluster race and trailed the field. She was not tested for drugs after the race; subsequent testing of a pre-race blood sample found no illegal substances.

Veitch denied wrongdoing. His steward's license was suspended for a year because of the incident, and Veitch appealed the suspension.


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