Rick Arthur

Dr. Rick Arthur Q&A: Part Two

After 15 years as California's equine medical director, Dr. Rick Arthur has stepped away from the post. A vocal proponent of tightened welfare practices in the sport, Arthur has spearheaded during his tenure a slew of equine safety reforms that have made California arguably the most stringent regulatory environment in the States. Arthur's forthrightness, however, has led to him staking out positions that have at times proven polarizing. The day after Arthur officially stepped down, he conducted a Q&A with the TDN, the first part of which can be seen...

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Dr. Rick Arthur Q&A: Part One

After 15 years as California's equine medical director, Dr. Rick Arthur has stepped away from the post. A long-time vocal champion, both in his home state and at the international level, of tightened welfare practices in the sport, Arthur has spearheaded a slew of precedent-setting medication and equine safety reforms in California. During those 15 years, Arthur has been at the helm of the industry's veterinary ship while California has navigated a series of tumultuous storms, including a benighted venture to switch from dirt to synthetic racetrack surfaces during the...

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McAnally Runner Tests Positive For CBD

The Ron McAnally trained Roses and Candy has tested positive for 7-Carboxy-Cannabidiol, a metabolite of cannabidiol, after a win at Del Mar on Nov. 22 last year, according to a complaint filed by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Monday. Because CBD is currently unclassified in California, a positive finding is by default a class 1, category A drug violation, requiring that the horse is disqualified and purse monies forfeited. Under CHRB rules, such a violation can also lead to a minimum one-year suspension or a maximum three-year suspension, with...

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Cal Trainers Warned Off CBD Use in Horses

The Cannabidiol (CBD) market is growing faster than a garden weed, and as the vast roots of this multi-billion dollar industry reach further into everyday life, it's hardly surprising that the racing industry has had to take accommodating actions. This can be evinced in a California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) notification sent to trainers Friday, warning that use of these CBD products can lead to a positive "for CBD and/or CBD metabolites in blood and urine," and that, because CBD is currently unclassified in California, a positive would by default...

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Thyroxine In SoCal: Nearly 300 Scrips This Year, Over Half for Two Trainers
Thyroxine In SoCal: Nearly 300 Scrips This Year, Over Half for Two Trainers

Despite an advisory designed to eliminate stable-wide usage of thyroxine that has been in effect since the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) investigated seven sudden deaths of horses trained by Bob Baffert in 2013 and found that all of them had been administered that drug "more as a supplement than a medication," the use of thyroxine in Southern California remains astoundingly high. In introducing a new rule proposal on Thursday to curb thyroxine use "to the point that it really will not be used any longer within CHRB facilities," CHRB...

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Baffert Scopolamine Hearing Unfolds in Complicated, Twisting Fashion

After 2 1/2 years of closed-session decision-making by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) and a complicated court battle to publicly reopen the case over whether to disqualify 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify over a scopolamine positive from when the colt won that year's GI Santa Anita Derby, the initial back-and-forth legal salvos in an Oct. 29 stewards' hearing on the matter indicate that the argument could come down to whether scopolamine was a Class 3 or Class 4 substance at the time of the post-race test. The difference in...

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Workouts Canceled at Santa Anita Tuesday Due to Air Quality

Santa Anita management sent a text to trainers Tuesday morning advising them that workouts would be canceled because of the air quality. "The AQI is at 159 this morning. We are going to cancel workouts and only allow gallopers and joggers," the text said. In conjunction with Dr. Rick Arthur, the Equine Medical Director at UC Davis, where he is assigned full time to the California Horse Racing Board, the Stronach Group has a policy that any air quality index about 150 could be unhealthy for horses, and that exercise...

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Los Alamitos Allowed to Continue Racing

In a teleconference Monday morning to discuss whether or not to suspend Los Alamitos' racing license, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) voted in favor of the racing association, deciding that enhanced safety plans the track unveiled over the prior week satisfied board concerns after a rash of equine fatalities at the Southern California facility. "Are you committed to this plan over the long-term? Are you committed to trying to make a cultural change at Los Alamitos?" asked CHRB chairman Greg Ferraro, of Dr. Ed Allred, who owns and operates...

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“Not Set Up Like The FBI”: Racing's Investigative Weak Spots

The shock announcement of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York's indictments against a slew of Thoroughbred veterinarians and trainers—and to a much lesser extent the California Horse Racing Board's (CHRB) long-awaited report into the equine fatalities at Santa Anita early last year—cast a kaleidoscopic shadow of speculation and questions marks over the industry. But one of the most salient takeaways from these two developments is surely this: What kind of investigative infrastructure is in place within the sport to catch the cheats and protect the...

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Responses to CHRB Fatality Report

One day after the bombshell announcement that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York had filed indictments against 27 Thoroughbred veterinarians and trainers for an array of drug offenses, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) released its long-awaited report on the 23 equine catastrophic injuries that marred Santa Anita during the first few months of its 2018-2019 winter-spring meet. The resulting report provides not only an extremely detailed dive into the multi-factorial nature of the causes behind these catastrophic injuries, but a lengthy series of recommendations...

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'It's a Cat and Mouse Game:' CHRB's Rick Arthur on Indictments

The latest bombshell to hit the racing industry was dropped Monday morning, when 27 individuals--including trainers Jason Servis and Jorge Navarro--were named in four separate indictments alleging that they had engaged in a "widespread, corrupt scheme by racehorse trainers, veterinarians, PED distributors and others to manufacture, distribute, and receive adulterated and misbranded PEDs and to secretly administer those PEDs to racehorses under scheme participants' control." The indictments list a number of illegal performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) that the 27 individuals allegedly manufactured, distributed and used. They include erythropoietin (EPO)--a hormone...

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Santa Anita Welfare Crisis: One Year On

This Sunday marks a year to the day Battle of Midway (Smart Strike) suffered catastrophic injuries during a morning workout at Santa Anita, unleashing a tempest of opprobrium the likes of which the industry has never before faced in terms of intensity and sustained impact. Of course, Battle of Midway's fatal injury wasn't alone the catalyst--the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained Breeders' Cup winner was one of three fatalities at the track within two days. His death was also the 18th to mar the facility since racing had resumed towards the end of...

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