HALLANDALE BEACH, FLA., March 17, 2011--It’s been a week since the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission released the results of its forensic investigation into the Life At Ten incident.

At the time it happened, I became enraged thinking about how such an event, and the manner in which it transpired could occur, especially under a world class microscope.

Within days, I was asking for sanctions against the principals involved; trainer Todd Pletcher, jockey John Velazquez, and chief steward John Veitch, calling for the latter’s dismissal.

I thought that when the results of the investigation--laughable in that it took four months to complete--were made public, I’d become furious all over again.

But it’s not rage that I feel now. What I feel is this: Nothing.

The processes in which any untoward occurrence is adjudicated within the Thoroughbred industry usually comes down in a fashion similar to the aftermath of this investigation, namely very little.

It remains to be seen just what, if any, real sanctions will be levied, whether there will indeed be a measure of accountability. After all, none of this was any of the filly’s doing.

But I’m afraid the industry has won, it’s beaten me down, stolen from me the energy needed to become angry. Taking it out of the realm of feelings, it’s a sad resignation I’m experiencing. Always, resignation.

If I didn’t love it so--if I didn’t still feel compelled to give back to a game that has packed my life with excitement and fulfillment, one that’s given me a living, a chance to work at what surely would have been an avocation--I would walk away.

I would walk away with all the others who, for one reason or another, refused to play the game by the same old tired rules and outcomes, so tired of all of it.

The KHRC found no evidence of intentional wrongdoing. No one dropped a dime to the regulatory body to report any betting irregularities. No fix was in. But as important as integrity is as the cornerstone of any gambling enterprise, that never was at issue here.

The driving force behind the non-action taken by any of the game’s well known practitioners while the rare events of Nov. 5 unfolded before a national television audience is the same tie that binds everyone in modern society: Money.

A five-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer was concerned that his filly, training as well if not better than any member of his deep, powerful arsenal, was unusually quiet, but informed no authority figure of his concerns.

Was he compelled to do so? By rule, no. By moral imperative? No one knows that answer because that’s not the way the money game is played. Instead, after the fact, it was reported that his filly might have had an adverse reaction to Lasix.

A future first-round Hall of Fame jockey told a retired Hall of Fame colleague on television that his mount didn’t feel right, indicating again later on that the situation had “not really” improved.

Erring on the side of business, he did not bring his filly to the state veterinarian for further examination before the start of the race, preferring to break from the barrier to see if his mount would improve with a jolt of adrenaline.

Life At Ten took several steps away from the starting gate and was eased. The jockey abdicated his responsibility and failed to report what he was feeling to the veterinarian on the scene.

He did not do so despite what was apparent to many veteran horsemen; that the filly was traveling in a manner strongly suggesting she was “tying up,” severely cramped, unable to perform normally.

Instead, Velazquez made a judgment call, one he is likely to always regret. He was in a tough spot but he failed to act in the best interests of racing and its lifeblood, the bettors. To me, the only blemish on his exemplary career.

Where it all went horribly wrong, and where there is more than a hint of a cover-up, occurred after the chief steward was contacted by a veteran ESPN producer and told what Velazquez said to analyst Jerry Bailey at four minutes to post time.

Led by chief steward Veitch, the fact that none of the stewards took action is inexcusable and not in the best interests of the game. The investigation revealed that indeed Veitch had put the onus on Velazquez, making his responsibility when all he need to do was to pick up a phone.

This collective non-action, intended or not, served the interests of Breeders’ Cup Ltd. and Churchill Downs Inc. by not returning millions of dollars to the betting public or the starting fees--more than the annual salary of most bettors--to the owner of Life At Ten. That’s a business decision.

If there were no fear of being judged as making the wrong decision, why wasn’t the filly given a post race test, steward Veitch reasoning that the testing barn likely was too overcrowded to take a blood sample. Seriously, that’s a reason?

Then there’s the conflicting testimony when KHRC steward John Becraft broke ranks, Becraft suggesting that the stewards should contact the state veterinarian at the gate. Becraft said that Veitch’s response was “if we do that, we might as well scratch the horse.”

This became a he said-he said. According to the report Veitch acknowledged Becraft might have made that suggestion but denied both hearing the suggestion or saying “…we might as well scratch the horse.”

This section of the report raised reasonable questions about whether the stewards, notably Veitch, acted in a manner that goes beyond an error in judgment and into possible abdication of responsibility.

Veitch’s non-denial denial defense of not being able to recollect a conversation in such a weighty and short timeline of events simply doesn’t fly in the real world. Where then is accountability?

What is incontrovertible is that Life At Ten was not herself in the paddock, post parade or warm-up. Any number of experts observed her action and determined she was cramped to the point where she physically was unable to race normally, much less competitively.

If Kentucky racing rules are vague enough to cause confusion among the sport’s most elite practitioners then they are nothing more than legal loopholes. In that context, following usual and customary protocols is neither a reasonable course of action nor acceptable defense.

The report implies, however vaguely, that Velazquez and Veitch are equally culpable. But racing officials by definition are the last line of defense.

In a recent thought provoking piece, Alan Shuback of Daily Racing form drew an analogy between Life At Ten’s and Barbaro’s unusual pre-Preakness behavior, reminding all that the ill-fated colt, after breaking through before the start, was immediately reloaded into the gate in a similar pressure-packed situation.

Should the Maryland stewards have erred on the side of caution and asked the attending veterinarian to take a comprehensive second look? The sport is still reeling from the effects of Barbaro, and Eight Belles, too. The Life At Ten affair resulted only in a personal tragedy for the bettors and owner.

Does anyone doubt that one more high profile breakdown resulting in death has a chance to put a reeling sport out of business?

And so what will be sanctions be? Indeed, what should they be? Can the game survive the fallout from a perceived wrist slap? What happens next time?

Why can’t a leading authority, such as the Jockey Club, construct specific guidelines and a code of conduct that all state regulators can follow instead of commissioning yet another study?