Arthur: Post Story Questioning Justify Case Was A Plant From Ruis Legal Team

In the second of a two-part question and answer with the Thoroughbred Daily News, retiring California equine medical director Dr. Rick Arthur casts doubt on the origins of new reporting on the 2018 Justify scopolamine case. Arthur, who has served in the role 15 years, was the subject of a critical report by the Washington Post in late June suggesting that he had deliberately stalled the investigative process of Justify’s scopolamine overage until after the horse had completed his Triple Crown bid.

When speaking to the TDN, Arthur maintained that the investigation — and others into high scopolamine tests which also resulted in no sanctions — was by handled as suggested by staff counsel. He also said he thought the legal team for Mick Ruis, who filed a lawsuit over the handling of the Justify case, was behind the Post’s story, with help from CHRB commissioner Oscar Gonzales.

“I don’t know if Oscar was the one, but Oscar has certainly been the proponent of keeping the Justify issue alive. Actually, I filed a whistleblower complaint against Commissioner Gonzales for basically arguing the Justify case as if he was representing Ruis with talking points that were clearly provided by Darrell Vienna,” Arthur said. “I’m sure Commissioner Gonzales knows that I filed a whistleblower complaint. I think I haven’t hidden my disdain for Commissioner Gonzales for a long time.

“There certainly have been attorneys that have tried to play commissioners over the years. And I think that we have an ambitious petty politician that wants to make a name for himself that allowed himself to be played. The Justify case was dismissed in accordance to state law, and it was not dismissed by Rick Arthur. It was not dismissed by [former CHRB executive director] Rick Baedeker. It was dismissed by the board, which is required by law. And that was done properly in accordance to law.”

Beyond his response to the Post story, Arthur told the TDN he believes California has made significant progress in the areas of equine welfare and safety in the 15 years he has been involved. Some regulations might be a little extreme, he admitted, but he thinks the state will find the balance with time.

Read more at Thoroughbred Daily News

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