Horse Racing

Hall of Fame Trainer Veitch dies aged 77


Hall of Fame coach John Veitch, who coached the great Alydar, died on February 14 in Lexington, according to his second cousin Michael Veitch and his longtime friend Bobby Penn. Veitch is 77 years old.

In a career that spanned 1974-2003, Veitch coached four champions—Before Dawn, Davona Dale, Our Mims, and Sunshine Forever—as well as Alydar, who joined Davona Dale in the Hall of Fame. Alydar, a hybrid of Calumet Farm, may be best known for his three brave runner-ups to be Claimed in the Triple Crown in 1978, but he also won six tier 1 races, including the Travers Stakes ( G1) in 1978. He ended up as the top breeder of the year 1990.

Author Ed Bowen, who first met Veitch in the 1970s while writing for BloodHorse, recalls Veitch’s “sports spirit and positive attitude”.

“He was here with this great horse (in Alydar) but was regularly beaten by Affirm,” Bowen recalls. “And what an outstanding horse Alydar is… The day after he lost his Belmont—Confirmed to have won the Three Crowns—Veitch the next morning was sitting at the foot of his Jaguar on the ice. back seat Belmont Parkate everything, and he said, ‘Well, I think I can still beat that horse.’

“He’s very resilient, a very good horseman, and he has a great charm. Quite a personality.”

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Veitch, son of Hall of Fame coach Sylvester Veitch, has won 410 races in his career, including 76 places and 93 finals. John Veitch was enshrined in 2007.

Michael Veitch, historian at the Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Saratoga, said: “He’s very, very, very proud to be joining his father in the Hall of Fame. It’s a big day. , important in John’s life”. Springs, NY

John Veitch is credited with reviving the historic Calumet Ranch, which had fallen on hard times. He coached the legendary Calumet from 1976-1982. Veitch also enjoyed a successful tenure as private trainer for another historic stable, Darby Dan.

“That’s when John is happiest, when he doesn’t have to answer about a lot of ownership,” says Michael. “That was his generation. I think his riding ability speaks for itself. It’s the Hall of Fame.”

Veitch’s champions range from a chubby 2-year-old to a full-grown pony, as his Eclipse Award winners include Davona Dale, Our Mims, Before Dawn and Sunshine Forever, who will finish second in Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1T) in 1988 .

Calumet’s Davona Dale wiped out both old and modern versions of the Filly Triple Crowns, taking the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) along with New York’s Acorn, Mother Goose and the Coaching Club American Oaks (all). both G1) .

Alydar defeated Affirm three times, most notably in Champagne Stakes (G1) and was disqualified in Travers. Alydar also won these tier 1 races: Flamingo Stakes, Sapling Stakes, Florida Derby and Blue Grass Stakes. He beat older horses to win the Whitney Stakes (G2) in 10 races.

“(You) can’t take anything away from Alydar and his runs with Affirmation in the Triple Crown,” Veitch told Breeders’ Cup in 1988.

In 1985, Veitch won the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) with Proud Truth for Darby Dan. In 1983, he won the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) with Star Choice for Frances Genter. In addition to Sunshine Forever, his other major Darby Dan runners include Florida Derby winner Brian’s Time and Yellow Ribbon Invitational Stakes (G1T) and Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G2T) Plenty of Grace winner.

Veitch told Breeders’ Cup in 1988: “From an individual race’s point of view, I have to think that the (Breeders’ Cup) Classic is as big of a thrill as I was.” To win it for someone like Mr. Galbreath, who has given so much in the race, it was a huge thrill for him and that made me even more nervous.

Rogers Beasley, former vice president of racing at Keenelandcalled Veitch a true gentleman who behaves in a first-class manner.

“He was old-school not just in training, but in courtesy to everyone — always wearing a jacket and tie at the races,” says Beasley. “He’s a product of a bygone era: a gentleman.”

Following his coaching career, Veitch became principal manager of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. He eventually left that role after being eliminated from the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (G1) in 2010 at Churchill Downsin which the 1st class winner Life At Ten was allowed to compete although equestrian John Velazquez, in a national television interview, raised concerns about how she warmed up before the race .

Life At Ten, who did not persevere throughout the race and finished last as the favorite, was not selected for the post-race test.

The commission then alleges that Veitch violated a number of regulations and sanctioned him.

“He fought it,” Penn said. “He felt like he got it (a rudimentary deal).”

Penn said Veitch has a quiet side and can make people laugh with his sense of humour. The two will go hunting together. Penn went to Veitch’s house in Lexington on Tuesday and discovered that Veitch had passed away. Born in Lexington and later a resident of Old Westbury, NY, for most of his training career, Veitch remained in Kentucky after leaving KHRC.

Besides Michael Veitch and the other extended family, John Veitch’s survivors include a daughter, Shannon Veitch Storms, and a son, Jason Veitch.

John before the death of his third wife, Ellis Conway Veitch, who passed away in 2017. He will be buried alongside Ellis Conway Veitch in a plot in Saratoga Springs, Michael Veitch said.

This story will be updated.

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