Two Questions Regarding Life At Ten - By Eric Mitchell

 (Originally published in the November 27, 2010 issue of The Blood-Horse magazine. Feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions at the bottom of the column.

By Eric Mitchell - @EJMitchellKy on Twitter

By Eric Mitchell

 David Vance, racing manager for Candy DeBartolo, is looking for the answer to two questions:

1. Should DeBartolo’s 5-year-old graded stakes winner Life At Ten have been scratched at the gate prior to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I) at Churchill Downs Nov. 5, and

2. Should the mare have been tested after the race?

Right now, neither Vance nor DeBartolo is getting the answers as quickly as each would like or has expected.

“I don’t understand why it is two weeks out and there is still no resolution,” said Vance from his home base in Oklahoma. “It allows for more speculation. From our vantage point, I would like to see an acknowledgement.”

The circumstances surrounding Life At Ten, the 7-2 second choice in the Ladies’ Classic, became a blemish on the 2010 Breeders’ Cup when jockey John Velazquez told ESPN commentators Jerry Bailey and Randy Moss about five minutes before the race that the mare did not feel right and was not warming up as she should. In post-race interviews, trainer Todd Pletcher acknowledged that Life At Ten did not seem right but told Velazquez to ride her out to the track to see if she woke up more. Clearly, she wasn’t right.

Vance, who was in the saddling paddock prior to the race, admits at the time, he didn’t suspect Life At Ten was not well. He thought she looked docile but attributed the calm to an experienced 5-year-old ready for the race. When the mare got out onto the track, Vance said the vets should have had a much different impression. When Vance reviewed the replays later, he noticed while Life At Ten was warming up around the five-eighths pole that the mare stumbled, staggered, and almost lost her balance. At that point, the fate of Life At Ten was in the hands of the state stewards and the 11 veterinarians stationed around the racetrack and at the gate.

With minutes to go before post time, what exactly happened and didn’t happen is fuzzy and part of an ongoing Kentucky Horse Racing Commission investigation. We know a television producer contacted the stewards and told them Velazquez’ on-air comments. It is unclear whether Velazquez ever talked to a vet. Still, 11 veterinarians and the stewards did not see anything amiss.

Now, a horse does not have to be lame or injured to be scratched out of a race.  According to Kentucky’s senior and chief steward John Veitch, if a vet detects anything that makes him or her uncomfortable about a horse that he or she feels could compromise the horse’s ability to run, a scratch can be recommended to the stewards.

“We always follow the state vet’s decision,” Veitch said.

Life At Ten did not break well out of the gate, did not run well, and should not have raced at all.

Vance’s second question leads to major mistake No. 2. Life At Ten was not tested after the race because the testing barn was full.

“When we have something like Derby or Oaks day, the card is spread out a bit more,” Veitch said. “We didn’t have that luxury during Breeders’ Cup, with the races run closer together. We could not take her to the barn from a safety standpoint for the animals and human beings; it was very crowded. We just didn’t have that luxury.”

It should not be a luxury to test horses that are not behaving properly in a race. The 2010 Championships is not the first Breeders’ Cup ever held at Churchill Downs, and it will be held there again in 2011. If there was any question about the testing barn having enough space, couldn’t this have been addressed prior to the Championships? There is no question the protocols need to be followed to ensure the integrity of the samples being taken, but in this case it seems a fourth-place horse that had not given a urine sample yet should have been removed to make room for Life At Ten.

Vance said he’s confident, if tested, that the results would not have turned up anything. But the procedure still should have been followed.

“We have had vets look at her,” he said. “She was legitimately sick. But having been on the other side of the desk in racing, I know perception is reality. She should have been tested,” said Vance.

Veitch said the ongoing investigation will be thorough but could not give an estimate of when results might be presented to the racing commission or how they might be presented.

Let’s hope the investigation leads to real changes and that the only result is not a ban on jockeys from giving pre-race interviews on national TV.


Leave a Comment:

Mike Relva

Without any doubt,punishment should be handed down to ALL parties involved. It's fortunate LAT didn't meet a tragic ending.

23 Nov 2010 10:33 AM
needler in Virginia

The owners are right to be REALLY angry, confused, puzzled, and any other adjective you can conjure! They paid the trainer and jockey good money to safeguard their horse, and in the end the caretakers failed. This is NOT to say that Life at Ten was on the verge of death....what I DO say is that both jockey and trainer saw and mentioned the mare's "difficulties"; neither reported to a steward or track vet that there were legitimate concerns about the mare, and NEITHER saw fit to inform ANYONE, except the ESPN talking heads. To be very simplistic about it: which is more embarrassing? To gate scratch a horse, or have her run as sadly as did Life at Ten in the biggest race of her career? The other, more significant, concerns begin to stack up behind the simple ones; WHERE is the after-race test that is ABSOLUTELY called for in this situation (with all due respect to Mr Veitch.........BULLONEY! they were too crowded or busy)? WHERE are the results of the PRE-race test? WHERE is the integrity that racing claims to have? WHERE is the "tough drug policy" that the Breeder's Cup claims to have instituted? And where, in all these questions, is the responsibility to those who fuel this entire enterprise......the bettors? Even if Life at Ten had been a 99-1 longshot, the track, the stewards, the trainer, the jockey and anyone who cleans the restrooms at ANY track have the duty of care to the bettors, who, after all, DO pay the bills.

The KHRC and the BC had better get a grip; this situation is NOT going away, and the longer it remains unaddressed, the worse it's gonna get.

Cheers and safe trips to most.........

23 Nov 2010 10:44 AM
Tales Untold

Life At Ten's life was put on the line with this a new fan to horseracing this was not what I wanted to see..there is more value with the horse than that lousy trainer and jock...yes, she should have been scratched and blood tested following that pathetic denial of help by the trainer,jock..

I wagered on Life At Ten, just thankful, her life was spared.  I am not a fan of horse racing anymore..they are crooked...

23 Nov 2010 11:02 AM

The rider should have voiced his concerns to the vet not the announcers. What on earth was he thinking? I still believe this is all on him.

And I agree, she should have been tested. She could have been checked in at the test barn and then a test barn rep could have gone back to her barn, supervised her walking and then collected the samples, that would have solved the "danger" issues in the test barn.

23 Nov 2010 11:03 AM
Rita Robinson

Is Life At Ten okay now?  

23 Nov 2010 11:09 AM

Looks like Pletcher is going to skate.   HE had the responsibility to tell the track vets or stewards and did not do so.

23 Nov 2010 11:28 AM
Fuzzy Corgi

Yes Life At Ten should have been scratched. It doesn't matter if the race is for cheap claimers or a multi million dollar race. No horse should enter the gate if their health is in question and/or the wagers made on the horse will be in jeopardy. I seriously doubt that Life At Ten's life was on the line because she couldn't run fast enough to hurt herself, BUT that doesn't mean she didn't have some muscle damage from trying to move when her muscles were cramped up.

Luckily for racing, the mainstream media didn't make more than a mention about the Life At Ten situation because they were mesmerized by the bantam weight cockfight in the winners circle. While I think it was fairly shameful for Borel to pick such a public forum for his brawl, a few of my non-racing friends LOVED it. Maybe we could have a new reality TV show... Boxing With The Jocks.

23 Nov 2010 11:40 AM


23 Nov 2010 11:49 AM

I emailed the stable a couple weeks ago and they said that she was 'doing very well and recovering quickly from her illness'.

23 Nov 2010 11:52 AM
Karen in Indiana

ESPN interviewed the normally stoic Mr. Pletcher after the race and he had that look every parent knows - go caught with my hand in the cookie jar. If you it DVR'd, check it out and see what you think.

23 Nov 2010 11:54 AM

The majority of blame should go on Todd Pletcher. He sees this horse almost every day, and even commented that she wasn't acting right in the paddock.

Valazquez second, because he was warming her up and commented also that she didn't seem right.

I guess it all came down to them both thinking of the $108,000 they each would win if she won.

Some might say they both have won alot of money already and that isn't the case. If that is true, why would Valazquez ride a $7500 claimer with a purse of $17,000, days after the Breeders Cup.

With the rich its all about the money. They are never satisfied with being rich. They want more and more money.

Both should be fined $108,000 and suspended for quite a while.

23 Nov 2010 11:59 AM


23 Nov 2010 12:00 PM

I can't believe that the people involved didn't think it appropriate to inform someone, or scratch her. This is absolutely embarrassing.

23 Nov 2010 12:06 PM

Ange,dead on target !!!

23 Nov 2010 12:13 PM
eight belles

This is why the public at large does not respect horseracing. It is sad becuase it is such a beautiful sport but in many cases, and this one is the perfect example, greed and arrogance of the connections overtakes the safety of the horses.

They were determined to run her no matter what because there was ecomonic gain to be had. They knew she was not well. Shameless.

It happens all the time, but this time it got captured in full view on a much bigger scale as any more people were watching.  

I doubt the parties will change there ways because they are already failing to assume any responsibity for the event.

I am so glad Life at Ten did not meet a tragic fate. She is actuallly a a very good racehorse and she deserves better connections who will look out for her properly.

23 Nov 2010 12:23 PM

Another good column Eric.  Responsibility has got to be taken by someone or shared by all those in position to protect the horse, the public and the integrity of the Breeder's Cup.  Justice must not only be done, it must also APPEAR to be done.

23 Nov 2010 12:23 PM

Churchill Downs is not qualified to handle Premier Races such as the Breeders' Cup.  

It's going to happen again next year too.  They are simply not a first class track capable of handling anything more than the Derby.  

Get the Breeders' Cup back into a qualified venue that can handle multiple First Class races.  

23 Nov 2010 12:30 PM

As I watched from my television at home I was concerned as I watched her in the paddock. She was so quiet.....

As I watched her in the post parade I felt so sorry for her - the way she was carrying herself - & it looked to me like she was tying up.

'They'll scratch her at the gate, poor thing', I thought to myself. But when she loaded I was horrified! "Scratch her! Scratch her!", I started yelling at the indifferent television. When she "broke" I wept. I barely watched the race as I thought of this courageous, beautiful mare so full of heart struggling around that track.

This error is an embarrassment to all who were responsible for her safety. ALL. I haven't groomed racehorses in 22 years & I saw what she was going through, why couldn't they?!

I pray that Life At Ten has recovered & is well now. Poor lady, such a joy to have watched her this year. I cannot help but wonder if a traumatic incident like this won't leave a lasting impression on the psyche of a racing mare like her. I hope that she is strong of mind, for the sake of all around her. Blessings to Life At Ten. I have prayed for her health (physically & mentally) every day.

23 Nov 2010 12:37 PM
Mike Relva

And some wonder why racing is in the state it is!

23 Nov 2010 12:38 PM

I would NEVER trust my horse to Todd Pletcher or Johnny V.  Matter of fact, I will never trust Pletcher about anything he says.  They both put Life At Ten in a situation that could have been tragic.  Then after the race, it was obvious that she should have been tested.  Pletcher should have made sure of that. Hopefully, this incident will bring about a change for the better.

23 Nov 2010 12:50 PM

"...11 veterinarians (probably Dr. Bramlege included) stationed around the racetrack and at the gate..." Yet not one of them saw anything to cause concern? (Jerry Bailey, at that time, stated on ESPN that he felt LAT was amiss, and Vance saw problems as well). So, what does this say about veterinary scrutiny?-AND, please recall what were Dr. Bramlege's on track "observations"/assessments following Eight Belles' tragedy-another whitewash attempt that everyone bought.  Also, I can assure you that there are far less than 11 veterinarians on the scene for the everyday racecards...How is it that the vets (on the track) can communicate with the stewards, but the stewards are unable to contact on-track vets (stewards were apprised, by ESPN, of the LAT issues)?... As I've said all along, these racehorses don't receive scrutiny sufficient to place them in such harm's way.    

23 Nov 2010 12:51 PM

Hey Bell, Care to guess where the owner's get the money to pay the bills? Right, purses. Care to guess where the purse money comes from? Right again, the "take" from bettors, be they horses or slots. Remove the bettor from the equation and what do you have? NOTHING! As long as their are purses, there will always be owners trying to win them. The fact that most tracks will openly admit they need slots to survive proves there wont necessarily always be horse bettors to "take" from. Get a clue....

23 Nov 2010 12:54 PM
Winnah Pickah

I know many of you are placing some blame on Pletcher/Velazquez.

What I don't understand is what they could've gained by haveing her enter the gate?

They don't benefit from Handle.

If you want to make a conspiracy then what did they have to gain?

I think both of them held out hope until the very last second. That is the only fault I could see.

23 Nov 2010 1:00 PM
JG the Great One

The fault is with John Velasquez. He should have refused to ride the horse knowing something was amiss. That would have brought the stewards judgment to the forefront. But the damage to racings image is done. At a time when we need more interest this turns people off forever, if Big Brown did not already

23 Nov 2010 1:10 PM

Velazquez is getting a bit of a bum wrap. He was put in a tough position. He told ESPN; ESPN told the stewards. I don't think he's completely blameless, but he's by far the least culpable. Pletcher deserves to be dealt with strictly. He sent a horse out there that he knew was not right. he had a responsibility to stay on top of the situation. The party that needs to be dealt with most severely here, however, is John Veitch. He's the ultimate authority here and it happened on his watch. Mistakes can be made in the moment, but he's had numerous chances after the fact to make things right. First, there was no inquiry. she should have been declared a non-starter. The few hundred grand they would have lost is nothing compared to what this will cost racing as regards public perception. Second, not testing her is inexcusable. And finally, he should be fired just for saying that maybe the lesson to be learned from all this is that pre-race interviews with jockeys should be disallowed. I mean, come on! That is such an affront to transparency that it's clear he's unfit for that position.

23 Nov 2010 1:16 PM

It certainly is not up to either the jockey or the trainer to protect the betting interests.  She shot a lot of exotics and pick 4s.  What were the 11 vets and stewards doing?  One may expect this at the Woodland County Fair but the biggest single day of racing?  This is right up there with Tyson burning money in Japan to Buster Douglas because he had the flu.  

23 Nov 2010 1:18 PM

Mr. vance saw her stumble,stagger and almost lose her balance and said nothing?Heck of a racing manager!

23 Nov 2010 1:32 PM

It was the responsibility of the jock to inform the vet at the starting gate (not ESPN) that something was not right.  Anyone would have been able to see that she was lame.  I lost all respect for Johnny V.  He is supposed to be a top notch rider and he knows the proper procedure to follow.  Thank God LAT did not stumble out of the gate and fall and possibly get someone else's horse or another jockey injured.  Was he afraid the owner was going to be mad if he scratched her horse.  I have been an owner for 30 years and I would have wanted him to scratch my horse to protect her and everyone else in the race.  That was a disaster looking for a place to happen.

23 Nov 2010 1:39 PM
Janesville Liz

The owners should also be angry at Todd Pletcher and John Velasquez. As the trainer and jockey, who were in the best position to observe her in the critical minutes before the race, it was their responsibility to make sure they had a healthy horse ready to run. Don't tell me neither have never raced horses under lights before and they weren't sure the mare was upset by them--bull! She was listless, dull, stiff--even I could see that on TV. Money and ego were more important than her well being to them in my opinion. If there was any, ANY doubt about her state of health or soundness, it was the responsibility of Pletcher and her jockey to mention something to the state vets and steward crew. They are just as responsible for this debacle as the vets and stewards. All these people failed the mare and placed her life in jeopardy. If I were her owner, I would can Pletcher and Velasquez both, and if the Ky stewards had any balls, they would fine both of them, as well. Life At Ten is a lovely mare and she deserved better.

23 Nov 2010 1:43 PM

If pletcher gets off scott free, its an absolute fraud. ive never been a fan of pletcher so i admit to being a little more biased against him then most. that having been said, the media..i.e whoever is covering the triple crown and BC seem to love this guy and if you think that dosnt matter, your wrong.

23 Nov 2010 1:46 PM

Tales Untold,

You are right: the bottom line is that no one in the game wants to be caught thinking in the interest of the horse, instead of the money. If racing really wanted to keep fans, they would impose stiff penalties for all involved with putting this horse in the starting gate, from Pletcher to the state vet, and also the people who couldn't find a stall to administer a test. Such poppycock! They didn't WANT to test her and catch an outfit like Mr. Pletcher's red handed in some inappropriate behavior because he represents Big Money for the sport.

What the Racing Establishment doesn't get is how big a turn-off it is for someone who wants to like the sport, but cannot stand the carnage involved due to these kinds of shenanigans.

23 Nov 2010 1:47 PM

Millions of dollars were won and lost due to the performance of Life At Ten. Horse Racing is a dope-rigged sport that is losing players to casino games, sports betting, poker, etc. by the day.

Either complete zero tolerance or anything goes.

23 Nov 2010 1:48 PM
Bud in Albany NY

The circumstances surrounding the Life At Ten situation were horrendous!  The jockey and trainer should have notified the vet before entering the gate.  For Friday's card, I could not watch and wager on it live, so went at lunchtime and made my bets in advance.  I had $52 of exotic wagers involving Life At Ten. She should have been declared a non-starter and everyone should have gotten their money refunded.  I was so mad at JV and TP, I purposely did not use Uncle Mo in my wagers the next day and routed against the horse.  That just goes to show you that you can't let emotions rule your wagering, but I have a bad taste in my mouth about horse racing now because of the Life At Ten debacle.

23 Nov 2010 1:52 PM

There is one rule for some and another rule for others.

In all my experience with racing in the USA there needs to be one Govering Body for the whole of American Racing, run by professional people in a professional manner. Not make it up as you go along from state to state. To many un-professional people making money off the backs of genuine racing enthusiasts and its the owners and horses that are suffering. But, how do you get rid off these get rid of the chaff and grow the seed on a new dawn in racing  

23 Nov 2010 2:01 PM
Bill Daly

Amateur hour at CD on the biggest day of the year!  Not what you want the world to see and take away with them.  This isn't how to attract new fans or hold on to those who still love this sport.

23 Nov 2010 2:03 PM

It is the trainers responsibility,Period. If Pletcher was worth all the accolades he recieves then he should Man-Up and say I should have known my own horse was not right and protected his horse, owner and the betting public.

23 Nov 2010 2:10 PM

not having enough room is a lame excuse, this was a serious situation, it could have not only put Johnny V in danger but other horses & their rider, so in these kinda situation there is always time to take a test no matter to what extent the over crowding was. Also what should be checked into is if anyone & i mean anyone connected to this horse made any wager on another horse.

23 Nov 2010 2:23 PM

Jerry Bailey being a hall of fame jock and was watching this live did not need Johnny V to tell him anything about a horse if it was in the shape LAT was, how come in the best interest of the sport he was not concerned & call the stewards, he being who he is had the clout.

23 Nov 2010 2:35 PM

This is a very sad situation again for racing.

The racing industry is the only sporting body (I understand they are not controlling) that continues to both allow and gratify proven individuals that have been caught cheating the system with not only 'industry awards' but platitude after platitude.

In conjunction with DANI's comments above, do not just DVR what he said on the live ESPN program, also look at what he said the day after.  Completely inconsistent!!!

23 Nov 2010 2:46 PM
anita b

I have heard where trainers were fined for trying to scratch a horse at race time. The stewards and vets are more to blame--because she wasn't lame they paid no attention to Johnny V.. Yes, why wasn't she tested after the race--again the state vets failed the public.

23 Nov 2010 2:46 PM

We all know how this incident just contributes to demise of the sport.

The horse's safety was not put first and all who had any part in her entering the gate are responsible.  What did they need, a fire alarm to go off or what?  

23 Nov 2010 2:53 PM

i'm a trainer and i know from experience horses will throw you off with their way of actions. i have had horses cough and win or act quiet and also win. you shake your head and say i'm glad i didnt scratch but if i was watching that filly warm up and saw her blowing hard and almost fall when she stumbled and jogged off sore a step or so afterwards i would have picked up my phone and said scratch my filly. i find it hard to believe that she was completley sound if she was scratched from the sale. they said no temp that she tied up. well when they tie up with a little banamine there fine the next day. so a lot of questions@

23 Nov 2010 3:00 PM

I want my money back!!


FBI needs to shut this down.

23 Nov 2010 3:27 PM
Soldier Course

Jerry Bailey would not have stuck his neck out on national  television unless he was certain that something was seriously wrong with Life At Ten. John Velazquez echoed his concerns from the track, yet nothing was done.

Eleven vets? Where were they .. asleep?

23 Nov 2010 3:34 PM

Why wasn't Life at Ten scratched or tested?  A whole lot of people made a whole lot of poor decisions all the way down the line. Fingers have been pointed every which way. It will be interesting to see what the investigation turns up and who of those involved, in any part of the incident, will see the other shoe drop.

23 Nov 2010 3:56 PM

Look at it... how much money was wagered on her in the win place and show, but also in exotics... there is no way they were going to scratch her from that stand point. Like anything all you have to do is follow the money.

23 Nov 2010 4:06 PM

This situation is a Catch 22.

Lots are at fault and in the long run no one.

Jockey won't ask for scratch as he would be fired from the trainer.

He didn't say horse was lame just very quiet in post parade.

Trainer said horse was very subdued in paddock but filly has had lots of racing experience so maybe he thought she was just maturing.

Drug testing people-keep in mind lots of security is around BC horses once they enter stables. No one could have tampered with her!

I have heard of other horses shipping to another track and a different brand of lasix is used and the horse has had a bad reaction. Usually the opposite of the filly.

I have to commend the jockey for keeping the filly safe in the race.  

Yes the owners blew lots of money for the entry but how would they or the trainer reacted if the jockey asked for a scratch at the gate.

This is why I call the whole situation a Catch 22.

23 Nov 2010 4:17 PM

David Vance clarified what he saw with me today. He was not in a position in the grandstand to get a good view of Life At Ten warming up on the track prior to the race. He has watched the replays of the race several times since and at that time saw Life At Ten stumble. He just wonders why no one else saw what he saw later.

23 Nov 2010 4:18 PM

it's simple...Johnny V was on the horse, he said multiple times that the horse wasn't right...It's his job to tell the vets, since it was internal and not outward...its really that simple...

23 Nov 2010 4:21 PM

If Churchill can't handle the testing of horses, Churchill can't handle a Breeder's Cup.  Next track please.

23 Nov 2010 4:30 PM

“We have had vets look at her,” he said. “She was legitimately sick."

wait a minute, "SICK"? that's the first I've heard that word used, was she ill? I've heard 'tied up' or 'crampy,' I, myself would theorize (from what the owner said in another article) that racing at night upsets her to the point of physical side effects, but I'm no expert and I wasn’t there.  Also, if she, "stumbled, staggered, and almost lost her balance," it should have been obvious that someone needed to take a closer look, at the *least*.  Shame on all involved:  state/track vets, stewards, Velazquez and Pletcher, you failed Life at Ten, and it's only through the grace of God that nothing worse happened to her or anyone else.

23 Nov 2010 4:35 PM


each and every point you have made is totally wrong, all of them have already been discussed on this and other Bloodhorse posts so there is no need to discuss them again, just read.

23 Nov 2010 4:35 PM

messers pletcher and velazquez owe me 3500$$$

23 Nov 2010 4:42 PM

Todd Pletcher should be suspended and Johnny Velasquez should be suspended even longer.

JV did NOT tell the stewerds anything nor did Mr Pletcher say she was not right in the paddock.

It is a crime to effect to outcome of a sporting event. Both JV and TP are guilty because they knew something was amiss with the horse but neither said ANYTHING to the stewerds.

Put them in jail - just like Greg Martin. They effected the outcome of a sporting event - ITS A CRIME.

23 Nov 2010 4:42 PM

I saw her stumble during the warm-up...go watch the vieo before the race...she's walking funny and stumbles a couple of times...must have been blinded by the lights.

They are dragging this out hoping we forget about it.

23 Nov 2010 4:47 PM

I agree with rurallady.  Its a catch 22 situation

23 Nov 2010 5:08 PM

I really hate to pile on, but these horses need others to advocate for them, and this, perhaps, is an ideal occasion to call a spade a spade. -

It now appears that both Life At Ten and her owner were ill served by nearly all involved. Despite Mr. Mitchell's "clarification" (of what Vance saw), did Mr. Mitchell initially report, or didn't he, that Vance noticed things were awry while viewing the warm-up live? I thought I read as much when this blog first appeared-before the recent edit/if there was indeed an edit. Please clarify. Afterall, Vance claimed that the filly was unusually placid in the paddock (he admits to being there)-shouldn't that have prompted him to watch her closely in the warmup?-or was he then socializing?  Also, on the subject of David Vance "racing manager"- he is an experienced horseman, and no doubt is compensated by the owner to oversee Life At Ten and others. The fact is that Life At Ten was a major name performer well prior to the Breeders' Cup day. It's beyond reasonable belief that David Vance wasn't often in the paddock during Life At Ten's previous races (if he wasn't, he should have been), "...he thought she looked docile, but attributed the calm to an experienced 5 year old ready for the race." Really, Mr. Vance? All of a sudden, after all those previous starts, this "experienced 5 year-old" suddenly becomes far "calmer" than in those previous paddock encounters you witnessed (or should have witnessed)? What's the real truth-laissez faire, as it no doubt was for Pletcher, Velasquez, the track vets, stewards, etc. This is par for the course too often in this sport. Racing is controlled, to a large part, by the wrong people who gained their status for reasons other than real merit, intelligence, integrity, and right-mindedness. But, how to remove them? No simple answers.    

23 Nov 2010 5:31 PM

I think it was all about the money that the trainer and jockey was thinking that they could win. They wasn't sure about how the mare was. But for sure it was the money verses the horses safety.

23 Nov 2010 5:39 PM


 After the race, she had a temp. of over 103. Pletcher also said her white count was "through the roof."

23 Nov 2010 5:56 PM
Asst. Hotwalker

Fire the vets, the stewards, fine the jockey and the trainer. Refund all moneys bet and start caring about what you say you care about, the horse. If John Vietch had a report the horse was not right and did not have a vet check her out, he should not be upstairs.

23 Nov 2010 6:11 PM

This is SHAMEFUL and exactly why racing has a bad name with so many people.  Thank God Life at Ten did not break down during the race.  Have they learned nothing from the other tragedies we have witnessed?  Jockey and Trainer should be punished - something meaningful not just a slap on the hand.

23 Nov 2010 6:15 PM
Mike Relva

I blame EVERYONE involved.

23 Nov 2010 6:16 PM
Big Brown's Buddy

I don't hold much against the jock - jocks aren't vets. Should he have made Pletcher aware of LAT's behavior? Sure,but it sounds like Pletcher already knew how she was acting. Should Johnny have said something when he got to the gate? Probably, but again,he's not a vet. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there a vet AT the gate?? I think that as long as LAT wasn't causing a ruckus going in, no one suspected anything was wrong. I think most of the blame falls on Pletcher. Knowing that she wasn't acting like herself, even if he figured she was just "a pro at this," he should have been watching the post parade closely,or been at the gate. Just imagine if Johnny had called for her to be scratched,and NOTHING turned out to be the problem. Do you think he'd ever ride for either the owners OR Pletcher again??  And hey,if the trainer saw no problem,who is the jock to second guess him?

Ultimately, it rests on Pletcher.

23 Nov 2010 6:30 PM

Perhaps protocol was not followed, but the stewards were notified of the situation by the ESPN crew.  Did they require an engraved invitation before they would follow up with a vet check?  I believe the situation speaks volumes in respect to holding the BC at only one venue.  Churchill did not do its job.  No one did their job!  Buckpasser was an outstanding horse, but buck passing is simply unacceptable as a policy in racing.

23 Nov 2010 6:39 PM

Nobody wanted to take the heat  for scratching a favorite from a BC race, so now they're all pointing fingers at each other. IMHO, it falls on the jockey since he's the one that knows best how she was (or wasn't) responding.

23 Nov 2010 6:45 PM

Plenty of blame to go around everywhere.  Jockey and trainer most culpable, especially JV he put the horse, himself and everyone in that race in danger.  Suppose she had broken sooner and then gone down with horses coming behind her.  Why oh why do they bother with vets?  On tv it was evident that the mare was zoned out, not even on this planet.  I could see it on tv and vets on site could not?  The test barn was full?  Give me a break.  With vets all over the place one of them could have pulled a vial of blood.  This is the publicity generated by horse racing, drugs and breakdowns.  When Zenyatta brings in some good publicity the handicappers denigrate our own champion.  I've been watching racing since I was a little kid and I'm finally fed up.

23 Nov 2010 6:45 PM

I am a huge fan of racing not for the betting but because I love the horses I am thankful Life at Ten was not hurt she should never have started in the race and the people at fault should be fined the horses need to come first they are a living breathing animal that has feelings They need to be cared for first.

23 Nov 2010 6:49 PM


23 Nov 2010 7:09 PM

no mention of the betting patterns or comparison of life at ten's drugs test

when she won and lost.

on and off meds and betting


23 Nov 2010 7:28 PM

Another Big Brown situation. Fishy. Did they let her run because they didn't want DNF or scratched on her performance record? Did someone put something in her feed? The whole episode reads like a Damon Runyon story.

23 Nov 2010 7:34 PM

I must apoligize to Mr.Vance-I did not read the article close enough! He saw her stumble and almost lose her balance when he reviewed the replay-not during the live warm up! Deeply sorry for my "mispeak"

23 Nov 2010 8:02 PM

I'm a fairly new fan of this sport & I couldn't enjoy watching that race b/c I was afraid Life At Ten was going to die on the track.

There's lots of blame to go around and Velazquez & Pletcher are at the top of the list!

23 Nov 2010 8:48 PM
Paula Higgins

I think there are two people to blame here. Pletcher and Velasquez. They should be fined. As for the vets., I don't know what they saw or knew. We do know Pletcher and Velazquez knew something was wrong from the get go. That is the bottom line. I think the problem was they didn't think anything was horribly wrong so they tried to punt. Bad idea, bad for the horse eand bad for horse racing.

23 Nov 2010 9:16 PM
mike rullo

why isnt the owner asking pletcher & johnny v what happended. Im sorry, the blame goes to pletcher & velasquez.

23 Nov 2010 9:33 PM
Lorri S

If a jock of the calibre of Gomez can scratch a horse before a race then Velazquez should have done the same. Both JV and Pletcher should be blamed for this and both should receive fines and suspensions. Does it matter why she was "sick"? The fact is they both knew she wasn't right and still let her run. LAT deserved better. Let's hope the owners change both jockey and trainer, for LAT's sake if not for the sake of the sport.

23 Nov 2010 9:45 PM

There is no doubt the horse was not fit to race for whatever reason. The trainer has custody and control of the animal whose fate is in the hands of her trainer. There is the hook, the trainer cannot have it both ways all the cheers when he is right and avoid the geers when he is wrong. Although I think he should get more than geers the track management is not off the hook either. Someone should do something about both the bettors for Life At Ten and the horse who is a wonderful horse, and deserves better than she received that day as well.

23 Nov 2010 9:49 PM

The trainer Todd Pletcher noticed something wrong in the paddock, the mare was in his care, HE SHOULD HAVE HAD THE VET IN THE PADDOCK EXAMINE HER.  When he mentioned it to the jockey John V, the jockey then took responsibility for the mare, when she stumbled during the warm up HE SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED IT TO ONE OF THE TRACK VETS SO SHE COULD BE EXAMINED.

The owners of Life at Ten should sue both the trainer and the jockey for putting this mare's life on the line along with all the other horses and jockeys in the race.  The racing public was cheated by their not taking their responsibilites seriously. Life at Ten deserved better care by the professionals that trained and rode her.

23 Nov 2010 9:52 PM

Most of these comments are stupid. Blame blame blame.  Everyone wants to always blame the jock.  The jock is on the horse for a total of 10 minutes? The horse is in the trainers care everyday! Also, do you know the pressures of a jock scratching a horse in the post? Especially a $1mill race!? If a jock takes a horse to the vet in a $2500 claiming race he is called a chicken etc..etc..  Imagine what they would say about the poor guy in that race! Johnny V was in a NO win situation! Kent pulled up Big Brown because he felt something was wrong, and he was blamed and knocked for doing it. Im sure none of you knows what they are talking about until you are on the back of one of these during a race.

23 Nov 2010 9:52 PM

I hold Velazquez accountable. By the time it became clear to EVERYONE that something was amiss, it was up to HIM to do something about it. He was the one on her back. He was the one who should have said something to the track vet or stewards. I can't believe he put, not only the horse but, himself and every other horse and jockey in that race, in potential grave danger. I expect more from an Eclipse Award winning jockey, one whom I genuinely respect. My jaw literally dropped that night when I watched him ride her into the starting gate without a word to anyone. Unacceptable.

23 Nov 2010 10:01 PM

Why is everyone so surprised?

It's the same  "just get that damn horse in the gate" attitude that caused all the panic and resulting abuse of Quality Road last year.

The last thing the organizers want to see at these signature events are the star horses being scratched in living color on world wide TV hook-ups.

23 Nov 2010 10:25 PM

If I were the owners of Life at Ten, I would be moving her to another barn and fast.    

23 Nov 2010 10:33 PM

this investigation is going on for a long time, mark my words just like in an inquiry if it takes a long time there is a disqualification, hence here there are some or many suspensions or fines going to be involved.

23 Nov 2010 10:52 PM

If it were someone like Frankel who was training this horse she would have never even made it out of the paddock....Frankel would had not let her run.

It is more than one person's fault here. I think if you were someone who wanted to put the blame on one person it would be Pletcher's fault because he is the trainer and the man responsible of making sure the horse is ready to race and it's his job to train her up to the race. If he sees something is wrong he should have immediatly told the vets, "something is wrong, we need to scratch her."

It's Johnny V's fault cause he didn't say a word to the vets and or stewards....ESPN freakin asked him, "Is she better out there?" and he said, "No, not really." what the hell is he doing letting her race? Also, as soon as she left the gates slow he should have pulled her up, but instead he decided to allow her to continue running around the track. If I were the jock I'd pull her up before they even hit the first turn.

The vets and stewards should have spotted the problem and scratched her. I don't know how they couldn't tell something was wrong...ESPN even contacted the stewards telling them Johnny V told them something was wrong and nothing was done.

I don't really think the owner should have too much blame...half of these owners don't even know whats going on. They just buy the horse and watch it run...half of them can't tell if they're fine or not.

So, in my opinion, there are many to blame here. This situation should have never happened and hopefully this opens up people's eyes and gets people to make some changes.

Imagine if she had collapsed or broken down....the racing industry would be in HUMONGOUS trouble...thank goodness she is okay and will live to race another day.

23 Nov 2010 10:53 PM

I am not a vet. I am a nurse & I could tell immediately what was happening to Life at Ten. Once I realized she had Lasix & I saw her front shoulder muscles bunching up (in spasm) in the post parade & how stiffly she was walking, I yelled @ my TV, "She's tying up!!" I couldn't believe it as I watched her continue to progress towards the gate without someone stopping her. When the gates opened, I did something I have never done before while watching a race... I turned off my TV. I just couldn't watch. I was sick to my stomach. I have since found out that there were 11, I repeat 11, vets on the track that day.  I know they had the information, in their records, that LAT had been given Lasix. What I would like to know is how in God's name not even one vet saw, right there on the track,what I saw my television, a television that is NOT a big screen high tech. TV. In fact, it is an older small screen TV & LAT's problem was clear to me. Why wasn't it clear to the vets. They were right there!!! Yes, I blame Todd Pletcher & J. Velesquez, to some degree. But, I fully blame the vets. They are medical professionals. Why are they even there, if not to eyeball each horse coming thru the post parade to the gate. Their job is to watch each horse with a trained eye & pick up on anything not right. LAT's symptoms were not subtle. They were obvious. Every vet, with a DVM after his name, knows how Lasix works as well as I do. First of all, Lasix is not really an anti bleeding medication. It is a diuretic,like a water pill, but in liquid form & given intravenously or intramuscularly (an injection). It has been in use with humans with congestive heart failure for decades. It is given to "pull" water from a person's blood to decrease the amt. of fluid (blood) pumping thru the heart with each heart beat. With congestive heart failure, the heart loses some of its pumping ability & with each heart beat, not all the blood passes thru the heart as it should. Since more blood keeps coming to pump thru the heart, it starts to back up. Water is the heaviest part of blood, so that is what backs up, & it backs up into the lungs. What Lasix does is "pull" some of the water from the blood supply,decreasing the amt. of fluid attempting to pass thru the heart with each heartbeat. The Lasix pulls the water from the blood & sends it to the kidneys to be flushed out as urine.

Lasix has the exact same effect in all mammels, including horses. By giving a racehorse Lasix, the premise is to pull water from their blood supply. By keeping their blood "dry" (deplete of water)rather than with the horse's normal amt of water in their blood, the Lasix insures that with each heart beat during a race, the horse's blood pumps completely thru the heart & doesn't back up into the lungs, causing "bleeding".

The problem with Lasix is that while it flushes water out of the blood supply thru the kidneys, it also flushes very necessary electrolytes, mostly potassium, from the blood supply, too. I know trainers give horses a dose of replacement electrolyes when they give Lasix. But, is it just a standard dose and do they draw blood about 3 to 4 hrs. after the replacement is given to make sure they have given enough to that particular horse? Everyone is different. Some people require more Potassium replacement after Lasix than others. The only way to know if you have given enough is to draw blood. It is a very quick (10 mins.) and inexpensive blood test.

I believe that if every single horse, given Lasix, had a blood test to check electrolyte levels at least 2 hours before a race, there would not be horses tying up. It is a simple fix. 1) give the Lasix 5 hrs. before the race & give replacement electrolytes 2) draw blood 2 hrs before the race to check the electrolytes. Replace what is still low. Give potassium if that is low. Give sodium if that is what is low. 3) by race time, the electrolytes should be within normal range. The key is to know what the individual horse's electrolyes are several hours after the Lasix & replacements are given & several hours before the race so there is still time to replace what is needed since it takes the replacement at least 1 to 2 hrs. to be effective. That is the way to send a horse to the starting gate when the horse has been given Lasix. That is the responsible thing to do & it is NOT hard.

I have tried to explain all of this as clearly as I can since there is so many questions in people's minds about LAT. I saw some mention of getting a urine speciman from LAT after the race. That would have showed nothing. But, the blood test she had the next day was telling. That blood test showed an elevation in an enzyme, CPK. CPK levels elevate for about 24 hrs. after muscles spasm or are damaged in any way. 'Tying up' is multiple muscle masses spasming, usually due to low electrolye levels & dehyration.

I would think that every vet would be paying specific attention to every horse given Lasix for signs of muscle spasms. Life At Ten was telling them what her problem was. They weren't paying attention.

As a nurse, if I missed something that obvious, I'd be praying I wouldn't lose my nursing license for missing it.

As a medical professional, I just don't get it. How could 11 vets all not see the obvious.


23 Nov 2010 11:18 PM
Lorri S


If something had happened to LAT would you think then that no one was to blame. Of course somebody needs to take responsibility for this fiasco. When Gomez got off Stream of Gold in a $10k claimer he lost rides from Maker but he was right to do what he did. The first responsibility is to the horse.

23 Nov 2010 11:23 PM
Terrible black eye for racing. What Big Z did to uplift the racing industry,  the connections of Life at Ten dismantled it in one moment.

I didn't lose any money on LAT, as I had Blind Luck across the board but my heart goes out to all of the folks who lost hard earned money. This just makes me sick and very suspicious..........

24 Nov 2010 1:30 AM

This is just a bad situation.  However Tod Pletcher told the jockey that she was unusually quiet. This means he didn't see her cramping up and could easily have been from it being night or she was just quiet. Once he sent her to the track he didn't have any control over the situation.  Being quiet doesn't earn a scratch or a vet check, it just needs watching.

The Jockey is the major fault.  When she didn't warm up, felt stiff, stumbled he should have said she's off and we need to scratch her.  Once she was on the track she is the stewards/vets/jockeys responsibility.  I have no way to understand why Johnny V. didn't call for a scratch, a trainer isn't going to fire him because he says the horse is stiff the trainer would have been fine with that decision.  

As for the stewards again a quiet horse isn't a reason for anything.  Horses have off and quiet days as well. My colt usually throws a fit in the paddock, one day he was perfectly behaved and he demolished the field so you can't say shes quiet say shes quiet see how she is on the track..exactly what Pletcher did.

I don't know why the vets didn't see anything but even so the jockey should have said something.  

So Pletcher could have said hum she doesn't seem to be warming up right and said something but since the jockey didn't say anything I doubt anyone would have really looked into it. So yah you could say he should have said something after/while watching her warm up.

Should she have been tested...yes at this level they all should.  

They did take blood tests at least which provided us with an answer on why she wasn't well.

24 Nov 2010 2:22 AM
Donut Jimmy

That Life at Ten was not scratched was a travesty, and any horseplayer who had money on her has a legitimate right to feel utterly cheated.

Count me among those who was screaming at the TV set that she should be scratched. That said, I based this on what Johnny V said to ESPN. I missed the start of the warm-up, and did not see the reported stumble that someone else here reported. I am a veterinarian myself, and while she looked "tight" I could not honestly say I could have said at that point exactly what was amiss, or that without jockey or trainer input, that I would have seen enough to scratch her. But with that input it was a no-brainer.

Velasquez and Pletcher screwed up, completely, plain and simple. They muffed the call. they put the horse (and the rest of the field) at risk, and they defrauded the public. There should be consequences.

That said, I do not for a second believe that there was any intent to defraud, cheat, or anything like that. It was stupidity, inability to make a judgement call quickly, and really poor communication. Neither trainer nor jockey had anything to gain by leaving Life at Ten in the race. Communication between trainer and rider is impossible once the horse leaves the paddock. If Pletcher had not seen enought to make him scratch her outright without leaving the paddock, then he should have been more clear with Velasquez that he should to scratch the horse if she did not warm up right. Velasquez should have taken more responsibility and scratched the horse himself when she did not warm up well. Even if it was a multi-million dollar race he should have done the right thing. SOMEBODY should have told the vet at the gate. I am afraid that somebody is Velaquez and that is where the buck has to stop. Both are culpable, but the rider has the final chance to report the problem to the vets. He should never have let her be loaded in the gate.

24 Nov 2010 2:46 AM
Eddie G

Many lesser known riders have been suspended and fined for "Failing to Persevere" with thier horse during a race.Johnny V should be held to those same standards and be made accountable for his actions, or lack of.

Todd Pletcher, on the other hand, obviously completely ignored the bettors, as well as the possible well being of Life At Ten,by instructing the rider to feel her out and protect her after the break.

Pletcher put it on someone else to make the decision, Johnny V didn't have the cubes to scratch the filly, and the Ky. Commission is making a total mess out of the whole incident.

It's very clear that Pletcher and Velesquez were entirely responsible to scratch an "unfit Horse", and in not doing so, should be made to pay for thier actions, as would any other lesser known trainer and rider.

24 Nov 2010 6:36 AM

It could cost a jock a whole lot more than future rides if something catastrophic had happened during the race in which he allowed a horse that was not  right to start, yet that's exactly what John V did.  Sure there are ramifictions and it's a tough call for a rider to make, but that's what riders must do if this sport is going to survive.  There is no question that riders of these horses are brave, but the privilege - yes, privilege - of riding race horses for a living means having courage in all things and standing up for what's right for the horse, not just where it's convenient and remunerative for oneself and everyone else.  You're earn a license to ride and you have obligations to adhere to certain standards of behavior under that license.  If you're not willing to meet those obligations, then, I'm sorry, find another job.

As for whether it was questionable whether Life at Ten was fit to race, more than a few of us who were watching could see the very obvious classic symptoms of tying up in the warm up, so why didn't "horsemen" like Pletcher and however many vets stationed around the track not pick that up?  That's simply appalling.  

Of course Jerry Bailey said something to Velasquez - he could see clearly that there was a problem - and it was his ESPN producer who contacted the stewards before the race to advise them of same. It's beyond shameful that Life at Ten was even brought to the track and that, when she was, Pletcher didn't scrath her in the paddock.

I won't even get started on the stewards, Mr. Veitch and the KHRC.

There was no real catch-22 here, there was just an unbelievably large number of people involved, ALL of whom failed show any courage and do their jobs, and in the process they failed Life at Ten, failed the bettors, and failed racing.  There should be stern consequences for all of them.    

24 Nov 2010 6:54 AM

I saw at Keeneland this year when Garret Gomez thought something was amiss with a horse he was riding and refused to ride the horse, for his concerns the trainer took him off his horses for the next few days. Catch-22.  The race was delayed, another rider was found, and the horse did alright. Later on in the fall card, the owner put Garret back on his horses and Garret said "no thanks". Don't really know what happened after that.

24 Nov 2010 6:59 AM

All we can do now is sit back and see if Pletcher is still training LAT.  I wonder what Pletcher told the connections in the paddock?  If I was the owner and he flat out lied to me, LAT would be out of his barn so fast!

24 Nov 2010 7:31 AM

If I were the owners of Life at Ten, I would be moving her to another barn and fast.    

Jodie 23 Nov 2010 10:33 PM


Absolutely! Plus Pletcher would be walking around with a few more body cavities for the TSA to inspect. I wouldn't hire a big-box trainer anyway, but that's beside the point.

I'm not holding my breath waiting for fines, sanctions, suspensions, etc.

Life At Ten's welfare was not put first, and that puts the lie to the 'welfare of the horse' blather we all hear about.

I'm glad to hear that LAT is recovering--thank you for the update.

24 Nov 2010 8:06 AM

I had really hoped that on 2 of the biggest racedays of the year with all that exposure and press that they could have cleaned their act up a little but alas-despite the fact she was OD'd she HAD to start so the crooks who did it could get their windfall.  Well they did it.  They pulled it off-had all the right people paid off etc. and as usual the officials helped them by making up excuses why they couldn't test her (just like they always do in such instances because they don't want it evidenced for the public to know)etc.  and how 11 vets couldn't see anything amiss in a mare that was stumbling and dragging her feet. So the world seen how it really is on a daily basis- the welfare of the horse is incidental to the crooks fixing races-even the big ones-for enormous payoffs. I really hope the public is not duped by all the lies spin and lame excuses and can see what really happenned- I think they can. What happenned was inexcusabe and so is the coverup that started before they even loaded her.  

24 Nov 2010 8:30 AM

Mike RELVA!!!---Seems you are repeatedly correct!  Especially with "no wonder racing's in the shape it's in"'s ALL ABOUT MONEY (SADLY..PITIFULLY).  Like the Sheik's brother said a few years ago..America needs to place the horse first..."not the wallet"! Seems racing is really beginning to lose it's long-time fan base...hey, we aren't all in-to-it for the gambling only!  WAKE UP AND LISTEN TO THE "LITTLE GUYS'!!!

24 Nov 2010 8:34 AM

Todd Pletcher announces on national television in the paddock before the horses go to the track that he wasn't happy with the mare because she acted as if someone had given her a tranquilizer.  He told the jockey to watch her and have her checked at the gate.  The racing public was told that she would be checked, but nothing happens. With all of those warnings, she not only was not scratched, but she wasn't even tested.Now the racing commission wants to blame the trainer for not seeking them out directly and requesting that she be scratched. They certainly didn't conceal her condition, and the public believed the appropriate officials had been notified.

Probably the Stewards were still dealing with the aftermath of the fistfight. Then the jockey responsible for endangering other jockeys with his dangerous maneuver manages to get his suspension overruled in court.

And there was the horse who fell in the turf race, got up and ran around- appeared to be alright, only to be told later that he broke his shoulder and was being put down. Michael Stout was right to scratch Workforce from the turf race due to conditions.

Overall, Breeder's Cup certainly did not show the sport at it's best.

24 Nov 2010 9:19 AM
Mike Relva

LAT was betrayed on the biggest stage! If I owned her she would've been out of Pletchers' barn so fast that his head would spin!

24 Nov 2010 9:47 AM

A horse, especially a filly, can tie up unexpectedly; nobody's fault. They can also be sick and the fever not begin till a day after the infection begins. Remember Secretariat's "defeat" by Onion? Lasix may exacerbate either condition as mentioned by Pletcher and I'm sure he wishes he'd made a scratch request as does the jockey. They seemed to be leaving responsibility to the vets at the gate where the jock should have made the request. Who know what else besides steriods Life at Ten may have been on, or not, which may have contributed to the problem. Maybe she was taken off something due to the monitering of the ship-in barn, which she was normally given. Many possibilities. Also, what's wrong with following her back to her stall then testing her there?

24 Nov 2010 9:54 AM

Several people have commented on why blood and urine samples were not taken outside the testing barn. I asked John Veitch the same question. The reason, he said, is that strict protocols have to be followed when collecting test samples. Who has access to the testing barn is tightly controlled and there is a very specific chain of custody that must be followed to ensure no one tampers with the samples.

If the mare had been tested and a questionable substance found in a sample that was collected outside the state's protocol and outside the testing barn then there could be questions raised about the integrity of the sample.  

24 Nov 2010 10:47 AM

Unless the public holds CD and all associated with this debacle accountable, it will just go away.  I believe they are hoping it will.  Then all in charge can go their merry way.

All racing fans deserve the truth, and there has been plenty of time for an investigation.

I implore the BLOODHORSE (whom we have a subscription with) to keep this on the FRONT page until all is in the open.

24 Nov 2010 10:55 AM


24 Nov 2010 11:27 AM


24 Nov 2010 11:28 AM

Lots to clean up here!!  And it's shocking to see so many holes in the system.  Thank the racing Gods that Life at Ten did not break down, and thanks to Johnny V for not making her push.  Even if the mistake was his, he did not try to hide it on the track.

24 Nov 2010 11:38 AM

Hindsight is always 20/20 and considering the result of the race, of course everyone is going to jump down the throats of everyone to say they should have scratched.  Just because she was a bit more quiet than usual and she may have misplaced her step during post parade does not necessarily warrant a scratch.  Vance admitted the quiet behavior didn't concern him, so why should a mere stumble in the post parade mean she should have been scratched?  As an ex-jockey, I can tell you I've had my fair share of horses do things like that.

She wasn't lame or gave any indication that she had a serious problem.  She just seemed a bit "off" and there is always the possibility that once those gates open she could have woken up.  I know I doubt I would have scratched a horse myself just because they seemed a bit more quiet than usual, especially when the stakes are so high.  I certainly wouldn't have wanted to see how ticked off the owner might be because I had a gut feeling she seemed a little "off" and then how often are we going to start seeing that excuse being misused?  

If Vance felt there was something wrong, I'm pretty certain he could have found the means to get her scratched prior to the start of the race.  Everyone has some form of communication device with them, be it a cell phone or walkie talkie, so to say it was in their hands is just trying to throw the blame elsewhere.  He could have called Pletcher and voiced concerns.  They could have called the stewards and voiced their concerns.  They could have done a lot of things but they didn't.  To put the blame on Johnny is disgusting.

What happened with her is, unfortunately, a part of racing.  Some horses just have off days and it isn't as though there was a major risk of a catastrophic breakdown on the line with her loping behind the field like she did.  If the bettors are annoyed, they could have changed their bets when they noticed how quiet or "off" she was prior to the race, which everyone seems to think it was completely and utterly noticeable prior to the start.  If it was so obvious, why was she still 7-2?  If those who clearly think she was off prior to the race still had money on her, then they need to rethink their argument here.

It also isn't as though this is the first horse to have raced who shouldn't have.  Like we have never seen a horse get pulled up prior to the end of the race before.  Maybe the media and industry should focus on the non-Breeders Cup horses who race in regular, every day claiming races and have the same thing happen.  Strange how those never seem to make the news, but this does and all of a sudden it is like this brand new problem we have never seen before.  Yeah, right.

24 Nov 2010 12:10 PM

They may all say it was not their responsibility and in a technical term they are right but the fact is for all the world to see, the mare was not right and not one person at a championship event, the flagship event for American horse racing did anything about it or was seen to do anything about it.  If its any consolation, a few years ago at the Epsom Derby, a horse called Horatio Nelson was not sound going to post and had to be trotted up in front of the vets.  They let him race.  He broke down and the rest is history including him.  Racing needs to sort itself out, you cannot keep having these major mess ups the public will not stand for it

24 Nov 2010 12:13 PM

The first line of defense for this mare failed miserably.  Pletcher and JR both said to ESPN before the race the mare wasn't right.  Neither saw fit, however, to mention this to a vet or steward as they are supposed to do.

So she stumbled in warm up.  Horses do this all the time.  She looked otherwise as a calm, veteran mare on the track.  Vets saw that and had the right to expect JR or Pletcher to point out she wasn't right.  Neither did.

The detention barn issue is something else, the trainer hustled his mare back to the barn and then if requested to detention he could claim he'd "dosed" her post-race with whatever she was given beforehand.

While there were other minor failures, the major failure was Pletcher & JR's.   The horse and owners deserve better.  And everyone who wagered on this mare deserve refunds from Pletcher.

I would expect a lawsuit by the owners to follow.  They had to withdraw her from sale due to this performance.  If merely ill and withdrawn, she could have still brought a reasonable amount.  As is, she's tainted and it is Pletcher's fault.  Period.

24 Nov 2010 12:15 PM
Janesville Liz

CHoffman is definitely right, If Churchill Downs says the testing barn was too full, then it is inadequate to hold the Breeders Cup. Either the CD management fixes this situation before next year, or they need to give up on hosting this event, period. Om another note, John Veitch may been a great trainer, but as a Ky state steward, he is ineffective. What a lame excuse about the woeful inadequacy of the testing facility. And the cotton glove treatment that was handed out to Calvin Borel for his deplorable display of temper. He was a madman that day, threatening to kill Castellano and having to be dragged away from the scene like a deranged animal. He should have been fined a lot more and suspended, as well. But he is the Golden Boy of Churchill Downs, and the stewards were not going to do anything to jeopardize that. Many things were badly handled at Churchill during the Breeders Cup that weekend. The management was lucky not to have another tragedy unfold, as they did in 2006 with the death of Pine Island and the career-ending injury of Fleet Indian, or in 1998, I believe, when Spanish Fern suffered a fractured pelvis during the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

24 Nov 2010 12:30 PM

I see the most responsibility in this particular situation falling on Velasquez...he's the one on the mare, he's the one obviously "knows" she's not right...he's the one rides her though the bad break and keeps on going. Did she suddenly revert to "normal" as the race progressed? Hardly. JV should have pulled her up.

24 Nov 2010 12:41 PM

Same old same old.  They preach safety and put the horse and jockey safety first. Blah blah blah.  We all know it is just PR and they don't mean it.  They have proven that over and over again.  Fortunately we did not have a horse break down or injured jockey because of this.

24 Nov 2010 12:51 PM


your long comment is based on LAT being a bit off.

If that was so how come so many people could tell she was not fit to race, even people watching on TV. Read the post by ColetteMarie i think thats the best one among all.

24 Nov 2010 1:06 PM

Blame .....Trainer....he and staff are with this animal 24/7 and should have known something was not right with her....gimmie a break...... did not test her after that performance.....gimmie a break.....Kentucky Racing dropped the excuses please...

24 Nov 2010 1:53 PM

Anyone brought questions to the capabilties of the vets on track? To any knowledgable horse person she clearly looked distressed, and not right, with eleven vets on track surely someone noticed something amiss with her, but Nothing was done

24 Nov 2010 1:55 PM
Mike Relva



24 Nov 2010 2:56 PM
Old Good common Sense

Well From all the Comments Here just one made sense ,Ex TB Trainer Like you I used to be in The Business,J.Velaquez Should have asked the gate vet to chek her out and this would have been history .Thats All

24 Nov 2010 2:56 PM

This mare looked like a wobbler before the race. Test barn too crowded someone must be kidding. What about the betting public, does anyone think they were owed a drug test.

24 Nov 2010 3:12 PM
long shot

It coundn't of happen at a better time than on national TV... let's look at it for what it is. It's not the first time or is it going to b the last... When the fix is's in!!!  Can you imagime the type of money that can be made by a trainer and jockey throwing and knowing that a 7~2 is not going 2 b nowhere close 2 the money..  the horse is not right but no actions where taken...I lost a lot of money which someone else put in their pocket...anyone who didn't take any action must have been in on the action...that's part of horse racing......

24 Nov 2010 3:56 PM


24 Nov 2010 4:50 PM

Yes, she should have been scratched AND tested.  There is no valid excuse not to test in this situation.  Most likely she was doped by someone, but we may never know now.  

24 Nov 2010 4:55 PM

She was 7-2 and appeared to be the speed of the race!  This was not some 45-1 shot that had no chance.  Someone benefitted from her loss and it wasn't me.  Curlin had 1 million dollars in just the WIN pool when he ran up the track at Santa Anita.  1 million just vaporized.  There is something very fishy here.  

24 Nov 2010 4:59 PM
Mike from Alpena

Damn right something was wrong.  They put a horses life at stake and someone should get their butt in a sling over this.  Hasn't there been enough tragedy in horse racing lately?  We don't need anymore.  They better do a thorough investigation because something doesn't smell right to me.

24 Nov 2010 6:33 PM

Big Brown was mentioned here, several X, as a prime example of racing's shame.  His shoe really was bent terribly, everyone.  How fast would you run with a few nails sticking thru the sole of your shoe (upwards)?

24 Nov 2010 8:19 PM

Full testing barn or not, when a good horse like Life at Ten turns in such a puzzling and atypical performance, it would seem prudent to get a vet out immediately after the race and test her, wherever she was - before she returned to her barn. Exigent circumstances and so on. Given her normally dynamic performances, her demeanor that day should have prompted immediate response from all responsible.

24 Nov 2010 8:28 PM

I trust the horseman to take care of the horses! My faith in this sport has been deeply shaken. There better be suspension or I'm out!

24 Nov 2010 9:06 PM

So this is what we can except from America's top Trainer and Jockey. Pathetic. i hope Todd Pletcher doesnt get Trainer of the Year for this. if he cant read his own horse then he should be awarded. Give the award to a deserving Trainer like John Shierffs, or Blind Luck's trainer

24 Nov 2010 10:18 PM

I have been a fan and bettor for almost 50 years. I have never felt this cheated. The bettors were "robbed".

To me, in this matter, integrity and fairness to the bettors and fans are more "important" than even

to the connections, owners,

trainers, jockeys, stewards, et al.

Without us, they will not exist.


Did "someone" get to LAT, to profit

"someone" in the betting "Exchanges" ? Who looked ?

It's not too late to penalise those

at fault. I won't get my money back.

24 Nov 2010 10:40 PM

I don't own or race horses, but even I could see she was moving stiffly and awkwardly and was definitely not right. If someone watching on TV could see it, why couldn't the track personnel? When the jockey spoke to ESPN, the guy on the lead pony heard his comments too, so that made two people on the track who knew she wasn't right. Yet no one else saw anything wrong except the millions watching on TV! Come on, I don't buy that. Someone should have said something. Thank god the mare survived. Churchill really muddled this whole BC.

24 Nov 2010 11:04 PM

I don't get the part about them not having a choice to test the horse after the race because it was too crowded.

too crowded ???  come on ...

25 Nov 2010 4:59 AM


25 Nov 2010 6:23 AM

Jim, I think you missed the point of my post entirely.  I think a lot of people say it is obvious due to hindsight (regardless of the comments made to ESPN).  If it were truly obvious, I think the Stewards would have noticed from where they are perched and I'm pretty certain the vet would have noticed as well, since they watch the horses all warm up.  

I think there were subtle hints, but I don't think there were any obvious signs until we saw what happened in the race.  David Vance himself stated that the only thing prior to the gates opening that concerned him was some missteps in the post parade and I would think he would have had a good eye on her the entire time.

Everyone is so quick to say they knew it was happening, but I bet if everyone was polled prior to the gates opening that they wouldn't necessarily say the same thing.  Heck, she still went off at 7-2 and if she were so obviously off like everyone claims, I'm pretty sure her odds wouldn't have been as such.  If a horse flips in the paddock their odds typically drop, so if she were as blatantly off as everyone claims she was then her odds would have dropped as well.

Everyone just wants to blame someone because oh no something not so nice happened!  Surprised PETA isn't in on this already because it sounds like a good case for them to jump on the band wagon.  I also want to know who is going to start causing a fuss like this for the thousands of claiming horses who run sore all of the time and get by the vets.  We don't have massive media scandals on those situations, so why start now?

25 Nov 2010 12:02 PM

You Know what?? If their is any question that a horse is not right, they should be scratched!! Period! I don't want to see anymore horses break down and have to be destroyed on the track or other wise. And I know no one else does. So why did these people that are suppose to be such good Horsemen let her run??? Greed that is why. SO GLAD SHE DID NOT HAVE TO BE TAKEN OFF THE TRACK IN A VAN.

These people involved should all be fined.

25 Nov 2010 2:07 PM
Fuzzy Corgi

There was no extra stall in the test barn for LAT to pee in after the last race on the card? I find that hard to believe. Any horse that shows as poor of a performance as she did should automatically be tested. Period.

25 Nov 2010 2:53 PM

Every time a horse goes out thier life is put on the line. To me it was lack of communication. Pletcher stated that is may have been an allergic reaction to the salix that she was given...

Also, who gives a crap about the people who betted on LAT and lost thier money- I for one don't. Ha ha ha at them.

25 Nov 2010 5:51 PM

Simple solution to see that this never happens again - NO DRUGS!!!! PERIOD, NO EXCEPTIONS, INCLUDING LASIX.

25 Nov 2010 6:12 PM

Also, any horse receiving purse money won, is automatically tested.  No one would risk getting caught using drugs if the testing is a given before entering.

Out of all the horses entered only two did not run on Lasix, as reported by Jour du Galop.  That is pathetic.

No drugs are allowed in French racing, and French horses hold their own in international competition.

25 Nov 2010 6:19 PM

If Debartolo is so upset, why is LAT still in Pletcher's barn.  If an owner doesn't like the decisions a trainer makes, they should find another trainer.  

25 Nov 2010 11:50 PM


26 Nov 2010 2:41 AM

As a trainer, I will wager a bet that LAT will go to the breeding shed and will not race again. Trying to race   With that kind of temp.  she was sick AND she tied up.  She will never fully recover from  the muscle and lung damage it  caused.  I hope the numerious stupid mistakes will not be repeated at Churchill or at any racetrack for that matter.

26 Nov 2010 10:06 AM

WE CARE MORE ABOUT "THE HORSES" & "THE GAME" THAN THE...owner$...jock...R THE trainer...PLEASE...ty...

26 Nov 2010 10:47 AM

These magnificent creatures must ALWAYS come first - I am very surprised that a trainer and jockey of their respective experience and reputations did not agree to scratch her.  It could have ended tragically. And please, next time make sure the correct protocol is followed!

26 Nov 2010 11:38 AM

Edgar Prado in the Preakness post parade did something I have never seen done in 55 years of watching horse racing. He turned left and right while leaning on Barbaro's rump and looked at both hind legs.

I feel he knew there was a problem with the horse and did not want the responsibility of scratching his mount. He later said this move was made because there were "a lot of flies' on the horse. We know the gate vet also was at fault not putting the horse thru circles and turns and observing his gait after he broke thru the gate. Racing continues to put bettor's money ahead of the welfare of the horse. I pray events like this will bring much needed changes.

26 Nov 2010 12:57 PM


26 Nov 2010 1:53 PM

Why on earth would any owner let Todd Pletcher near their $$$$$ Thoroughbred?  He " trains " so many horses I doubt he can even tell them apart.  At least this is how his "actions" speak.

26 Nov 2010 5:01 PM
Mike Relva


Great point and if it were me LAT would've been removed from his barn asap.

26 Nov 2010 6:34 PM

The blame lies with the trainer, jockey, and vets! They all did a terrible injustice to that horse. LAT should have been scratched, no excuses.

I'd never have a horse with Pletcher and if those owners keep her there shame on them.

TP one day will have to answer to someone other than those who kiss up to him and think he is above everything.

Why wasnt she tested right away after the race in the barn?

Something stinks here, it really does and one day if not in this situation, another one will come up where the answers will need to be known ASAP. Fine them all, and take the DVM away from those clowns at CD.

26 Nov 2010 7:54 PM

As a horse owner all my life, and having worked in the racing industry, I am absolutely disgusted by the lack of responsibility (of all parties) here.

Pletcher... why on earth was your horse's health not being monitored leading up to the race? I sincerely doubt that she suddenly "got sick" on the walk over. Even "everyday" horse owners will take daily temperatures on all of their steeds, and make note (and follow-up) on any unusual behavior issues (particularly listlessness). You KNEW she was not right, and you sent her out anyway.

Johnny V - Once you are onboard that horse, YOU are responsible for her. You said yourself she wasn't right... and yet you took her to the gate anyway, without a word to the vet. SHAME ON YOU. Heck, I've refused to take horses out on the track for GALLOPS that showed less "off" signs than what LAT was demonstrating. (If I get "fired" for that... so be it. I do not want to ride for or work with anyone who does not take the care and well-being of their horses seriously). Listlessness, missteps, trips... all of the above are SERIOUS indicators of an issue... a jockey of your status should have more heart, and know better. Your career was not at stake here. Your reputation was. And you've ruined it.

Vets - 11 vets on hand and not one caught on to the fact that LAT did not look well. This is absolute insanity. Look at how many racing fans alone had seen an issue... and yet you overlooked it. Shame on you. And, quite frankly, CD, if you don't have enough "space" in your test barn, you shouldn't be hosting the BC. Period.

26 Nov 2010 9:10 PM

Just a comment about Lasix and bleeding.  Lasix is a diuretic which effectively dehydrates the horse.  This results in a loss of blood volume (water? is not the heaviest component of blood, RBCs are, as clearly demonstrated by centrifugation or sedimentation, for that matter) and a concommitant drop in blood pressure.  Although the cause of bleeding is not clearly established, there is a tremendous rise in pulmonary blood pressure during exertion, which may cause "leakage" through the capillaries into the lungs in susceptible horses.  The loss in blood volume/pressure as a function of lasix may help to prevent this leakage.

27 Nov 2010 12:21 AM
Glenn Craven

I've blogged this long ago, but for those who are placing much (or most) blame on John Velazquez, your hostility is misdirected.

Once Pletcher let Life At TEn leave the saddling area -- concerned, but hoping she'd snap-to with a brisk warmup -- it's up to the stewards and veterinarians to scratch the horse. The jockey can complain about the horse, but he can't force a scratch, even by getting off and refusing to ride.

Have we all forgotten that Garrett Gomez did just exactly that in a much less important race in late-October at Keeneland? He got down from a Mike Maker horse that he thought was not fit to run, the horse was not scratched, and another rider was brought out to take the mount; the horse ran for junk as Gomez's instincts must have predicted.

But so much for a top jockey's opinion carrying any weight in Kentucky.

There remains a dispute (as this column suggests) about whether Velazquez said anything to the track vets. Dr. Larry Bramlage claims he didn't. Other reporting and quotes by Todd Pletcher claim that he did. Regardless, we absolutely know that Velazquez's concerns about Life at Ten as aired on ESPN were related to the stewards by an ESPN producer. The stewards failed to act on them, either by scratching the horse or by offering refunds when it became clear she was hopeless in the race and never should have started.

(And Ike, I'm not usually this harsh, but you shouldn't be allowed near a comment thread. Racing and all its fans had damned-well better care about the people who bet on a horse that never should have raced and ended up losing their money. No bettors, no sport.)

In the end, John Velazquez was left in a no-win situation. Once he was legged-up and the warmup goes poorly, getting off Life At Ten only brings attention to her circumstances. It doesn't prevent her from running. At least by staying on the horse, his longtime charge's fate was in his hands, not whomever got called to take the pickup ride. And when the gates opened, Velazquez pretty much wrapped her up and kept her safe.

Yes, Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez are the men most directly in contact with the horse. But the stewards were warned -- by ESPN if by nobody else -- and there are 11 ... ELEVEN ... state vets stationed around the track and at the gate, all of whom claim they didn't notice a thing.

After the Gomez/Keeneland and Life At Ten incidents, the spotlight really should be on the state vets and stewards in Kentucky even more than the trainers and riders.

27 Nov 2010 5:07 AM
RA Fan

As a trainer myself I don't agree with sending a horse out that is not 100%, but the problem is with trainers that have so many horses in their barn they don't actually know the horse itself.  When I train I only have at the most 10 horses and I don't make much money at it with only a few head but I know everything about them.  I groom them everyday and I know if they have a problem.  Most trainers have so many horses they rely on their grooms, asst. trainers or someone else to tell them about the horse.  You cannot have that many horses at several different tracks and know what is going on all the time.  That being said if they thought something was wrong any one of them could have called the stewards and had her scratched this includes the owner, her rep, the jockey, or the trainer.  As far as the testing goes, any one of them also could have requested her be tested and it did not have to happen in the test barn.  There are private vets on the track that could have done this.  I have done it myself after a race when my rider came back and told me the horse warmed up well but during the race he did not want to run as he usually does.  Since he was stabled at a track I don't usually run at I requested a vet come to my barn after the race and do this.  I requested the normal post-race testing plus blood work to determine if he was sick. I had to pay for this myself but it turned out not a thing was wrong with him he was just through racing, but it was worth my piece of mind to find out for myself.  He has since been retired and quite happy hanging out in the pasture with my pony horse.  If more owners would take an active interest in their horses, and more trainers would actually not rely on their employees to tell them about the horses in their care all would be better off.

27 Nov 2010 11:28 AM

I could tell in the saddling paddock that something was not quite right with Life at Ten. I even said to others in the room that I was wondering why she was being so still. It is a shame they would let this stakes winning horse risk her life for a race when she should of clearly been scratched. My job as a veterinary technician made me realize that this horse should have clearly not been ran. I think punishment should be handed down all around. The owner of this horse should be very upset with the trainer, jockey, starting gate crew and the veterinarians.

27 Nov 2010 2:03 PM

Breeder's Cup

National t.v.

Top trainer "notices" filly is not acting her normal self, so instructs jockey to warm her up really well

Jockey realizes things aren't right and says so on national t.v.

Gates open and LAT, who should have never been in the gate, canters around the track.

The person who bears the most blame here is Todd Pletcher.  He is the trainer and gets paid nicely to train and oversee the horses in his stable.  Could be one of his assistants didn't provide him enough information on LAT.

When the action of a horse is questioned by many, many people who are watching on t.v., where in the heck are those who are looking right at her?  

I don't hold JV as accountable as others do.  This starts with the trainer who was in the saddling paddock and had a fairly good idea the filly wasn't right.  He simply let things proceed and this is on him.  

27 Nov 2010 6:29 PM

I just wonder what the reaction of the owner and racing manager would be had the horse been scratched and once back at the barn, nothing was found wrong with her? We all have the advantage of having seen the results of the race and sure it is an easy call now. What i would like to know is why JV didnt say something to the vet if he has already said something twice to ESPN?

27 Nov 2010 9:17 PM
Chris R.

There's something very CROOKED going on at Churchill and all one has to do is watch the games going on there on every day of their meet and the DQ from 11-26-10 is yet another example.

They've lost my wagering dollar until they get their house in order because IT IS NOT!!!

WE the customer PAY THEIR BILLS and for one am getting sicker by the day with this alleged "sport of kings" playing games that any King would put them into the guillotine for.

Churchill Downs Inc. (Churchill, Calder, Arlington, Fairgrounds, has lost me as a customer because they are clearly corrupt!!!

27 Nov 2010 9:43 PM
Four Card

The event with Life At Ten is one of the Big 3 Kentucky coverups. First, the death of Alydar. Second, the tampering of Holy Bull prior to his KY Derby effort, and third is LAT in the 2010 Breeder's Cup.

Holy Bull was not tested as beaten favorite after his 10th place KY Derby finish. He never lost again that year and won an Eclipse Award. LAT was not tested either. Both cases are inexcusable and occurred at Churchill Downs. Jerry Bailey and Randy Moss tried to help LAT. Nobody listened or at least acted in time.

Why would anyone want to own Churchill Downs stock? Let's also defer the cannonization of LATs trainer.

27 Nov 2010 10:23 PM
Martin Karlin

A sedated horse entered the paddock. A sedated horse was allowed to go to the track and warm up. A sedated horse was reported by his jockey to be not well but still was allowed to enter the starting gate. Over $13 million was bet on the race. Those responsible for sedating the horse did not bet $1 on Life At Ten who had easily beaten Unrivaled Belle in two previous races. An investigation of the race should begin with those who won the Pick 6 using Unrivaled Belle and not Life At Ten. Last year another Pletcher-Velazquez horse went crazy near the gate in the Classic and was still acting crazy when it was time to enter the plane for the trip home. Both horses, in my opinion, were administered drugs prior to entering the track. And so, in successive years, the two most important races for older horses in the United States were poisoned. Wake up American horsemen. Your industry is rotten and those administering the poison are brazen. If the most important races in America are tainted, then every other race is suspect. Today, winning at the races no longer involves picking winners, but rather, guessing correctly.

28 Nov 2010 5:15 AM

It falls number one on the trainer, if he did not think she was right then He should have taken her out. If she was not warming up right, then the rider should have taken her up to the gate for the track vet to look at. Unless a horse realy looks lame, somebody on the ground can not tell just how a horse is, or should be.

28 Nov 2010 12:53 PM

Eric, I'm glad you and Mr. Vance are taking Kentucky to task on this LAT issue. I've been an avid bettor for 25 years, including accounts at TVG and XpressBet. I'm done with racing. They've destroyed my trust with the more-than-curious "non-scratch" of LAT under these most obvious circumstances. Greed is not good when it destroys trust, Kentucky. I also have new information on this matter should you wish to contact me.  Keep up the good work.

28 Nov 2010 3:07 PM

In my opinion all track officials should wear IFBs (Interruptible Foldback) just like the TV commentators so that way they can hear any thing that is said to the TV commentators. For example if the officials at this year's Breeders' Cup were wearing the IFBs (Interruptible Foldback)they would have heard the conversation that John Velazquez had with Jerry Bailey during the warm ups prior to the race and would have then made sure that Johnny V brought Life At Ten to one of the vets and then maybe she would've been scratched so that there wouldn't have been the embarrassing gallop around the track for the favorite in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic.

28 Nov 2010 10:16 PM
tim lambro

Chris R........stick with something you know. You're an idiot. Lasix is given to control bleeding, it is a dieuretic, not a sedative. 'In my opinion' you can't have one when you nothing of the subject of which you write.

The horse you mention from last years BC was Quality Road, and he raced in this years Classic. The incident you refer to was the one and only time QR was unruly at the gate in three years of racing. For whatever reason he didn't want to cooperate last year at the gate.

28 Nov 2010 11:19 PM


28 Nov 2010 11:38 PM


28 Nov 2010 11:50 PM
Martin Karlin

Tim: I wasn't talking about Lasix or any legal drug. As to Quality Road, exactly my point. Why in that race only? And why did his symptoms continue to the airport, unless he was still feeling the effects of an illegal drug. It is my opinion that someone got to both horses and they reacted accordingly. No blood tests for either horse after the race.

29 Nov 2010 1:49 PM
hasty road

This really stinks.  Shouldn't J Val have  said something to someone while warming up the horse. (a t.v. producer does not count)

29 Nov 2010 7:05 PM

As another who watched the race (and lost $$), it was apparent - without ESPN or JV's commets- that the mare had a problem in the warm up.  She did look like she was tying up, even before the race.  That Pletcher and JV did nothing is horrific, and both should be fined.  Pletcher's first allegiance is to the animal and his clients.  Same for JV.  At the very least, she should have been pulled up after the start.  A DNF is far better than "broke down".  This incident makes me sick.

30 Nov 2010 5:38 AM
Sam Not Spam

Point 1: Stop drugging your horses, America.  Then this particular situation can be avoided altogether.

Point 2: If a heavily-backed horse performs below expectations in the UK, a urine/blood sample is taken.  Always.  Is that kind of rule really so hard to implement?

30 Nov 2010 6:08 AM

@tim lambro

just an addition on your point about QR which the media never wanted to comment, just when QR was getting readied to load into the gate there was an helicopter right above the starting gate, imagine the noise it makes. That chopper was there till QR was scratched. Once the chopper left QR quit acting up. Why was a chopper up there at that time & who gave the permission. Check the tape.

@Glenn Craven

one the point is that LAT did not warm up, its the jockeys duty to let the vets know about this even if ESPN was, this happens very often that a horse is scratched if he/she did not warm up well.


regarding your point of odds dropping,many people betting are not horsemen to see that LAT was not well, plus @ the track many people had already made their bet, imagine the long line in the final minutes @ the mutual windows, plus what about the off track,internet wagering where one is betting on many races at a time.

30 Nov 2010 7:07 AM

The responsibility comes down to the jockey. He was on her back. She was not right, she was stumbling, he should have taken action and stood his ground but instead he let her life be risked.

30 Nov 2010 8:57 PM

This reminds me of when Barbaro had a false start at Belmont . . . NO ONE Talks About this. My father and I were watching and my Dad turned to me and asked me if a vet had checked him out before they put him back in the gate and I said it was hard to tell but it looked like they just took him and reloaded him--only minutes later that horrendous breakdown when they "were off." I BLAME THE VETS. Would Barbaro still be with us had he been checked out? Does anyone know, WAS he checked out by a vet before he was reloaded? That horrific sight kept me from watching horseracing for nearly 2 years.

01 Dec 2010 12:16 PM

Another delay in the findings of what happened to this horse.....HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE....lawyers at work again....memories get fuzzy/real truth we will never know.

01 Dec 2010 1:09 PM

Has the owner removed Life At Ten from Todd Pletcher's barn? Has the horse fully recovered from illness?

01 Dec 2010 3:49 PM

i guess my L@10 tickets will havta go im my TP scrap heap next to waitawhile's

01 Dec 2010 4:57 PM

As an ex-rider... The jockey needs to tell the State Vet that your horse isn't right and they make the decision right there and then  after watching the horse go , but you have to say something as A rider.

01 Dec 2010 7:46 PM

@tim lambro. Please let's not start an aruguement. Chris r may not know about QR so let's not go around calling people idiots! Poor Life At Ten! I blame the trainer. He should have known there might be side effects when giving Lifey lasix. i hold nothing agianst the jockey. He tried his best and even if he had gotten of someone else might have ridden her. No blame to the owner either.

01 Dec 2010 8:00 PM
Bob Hope

The BC has needed a director of racing since its inception.  The founders, mainly horsemen, felt comfortable with their knowledge of the business at that time and did not anticipate that company policy would deteriorate into mainly a political and wagering platform with no real industry experts at the helm! The event day has suffered in many areas of presentation because of lack of cohesion and expertise.

02 Dec 2010 6:29 AM
Uncle Bri

I wonder how much someone had on her to LOSE the race?  You can bet on just about anything somewhere.

I, too, am thankful she did not meet an untimely demise in this fiasco.

Ten bucks this doesn't get posted.

03 Dec 2010 6:20 PM

How is Life At Ten? I hope she was removed from that trainer's barn. If not shame on them keeping her there!

04 Dec 2010 1:55 PM
Your Only Friend

Jan. 5 2011 another month gone by and cannot give us report on Life at Ten.....Gimmie a they think the public will just go away? They already know what happened.....just admit they all dropped the ball and do not want to admit.

05 Jan 2011 8:35 PM

It is an atrocity that as big as this industry is that the main players are not protected THE Horse. If a business is to run well you must provide for the most important participants the HORSE.  Shame on you people!!!!

16 Feb 2011 10:47 AM

It is an atrocity that as big as this industry is that the main players are not protected THE Horse. If a business is to run well you must provide for the most important participants the HORSE.

16 Feb 2011 10:47 AM

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