Breeders' Cup: Drug Tests Done in Life At Ten Probe

On Feb. 9, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) offered no details about or a timeline for the ongoing investigation into Life At Ten's performance in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., though there was public acknowledgment of drug testing related to the case.

Lisa Underwood, KHRC executive director, said the probe continues and "will be thorough." She said 89 individuals have been interviewed, some more than once, and that information continues to be compiled.

"A lot of thought is going into this," Underwood said. "The final report will be made public, but I can't put a timeframe on the report right now."

In reports to the Kentucky Equine Drug Research Council and the KHRC, equine medical director Mary Scollay, DVM, provided statistics on 2010 drug testing at Kentucky racetracks and in the process noted the total cost for last year doesn't include the ongoing Life At Ten investigation. Blood was drawn from the filly pre-race.

Life At Ten, owned by Candy DeBartolo and trained by Todd Pletcher, finished last in the Ladies' Classic as the second choice at odds of 7-2. With jockey John Velazquez aboard, Life At Ten had no run when the field left the gate, and she was not persevered with throughout the 1 1/8-mile race.

Before the race, Velazquez told retired jockey Jerry Bailey, who was assisting with the ESPN coverage of the Breeders' Cup, that the filly did not look right, but he apparently did not relay those concerns to the stewards or any KHRC veterinarians.

The Office of the Inspector General in the Kentucky Transportation Department is also assisting the KHRC in its probe. Though the commission staff, under its director of security, is conducting the bulk of the investigation, the Transportation Department official was brought in to handle the role of the stewards in the Life At Ten matter to avoid conflicts of interest.

Not counting drug-testing costs associated with the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic probe, Kentucky in 2010 spent $914,000 on equine drug testing, Scollay said.

Originally posted on

About the Author

Tom LaMarra

Tom LaMarra, a native of New Jersey and graduate of Rutgers University, has been news editor at The Blood-Horse since 1998. After graduation he worked at newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as an editor and reporter with a focus on municipal government and politics. He also worked at Daily Racing Form and Thoroughbred Times before joining The Blood-Horse. LaMarra, who has lived in Lexington since 1994, has won various writing awards and was recognized with the Old Hilltop Award for outstanding coverage of the horse racing industry. He likes to spend some of his spare time handicapping races.

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