California Chrome: Could Nasal Strips Force Horse to Skip the Belmont?

139th Preakness Stakes

California Chrome won the Preakness on Saturday and only needs to win the Belmont to capture the elusive Triple Crown. However it looks like there is already some mild controversy about the final leg as reported by USA Today.

Trainer Art Sherman spoke with reporters on Sunday and mentioned how California Chrome has worn a nasal breathing strip in its last six races — all wins — at the suggestion of co-owner Perry Martin. New York doesn’t allow these breathing strips — similar to the ones worn by humans — in thoroughbred racing, raising the possibility the horse might not run.

“This guy Perry Martin, he might not run if they say you can’t run with a nasal strip. He’s very funny about things like that,” said Sherman, a day after his horse followed up his Kentucky Derby win with a victory in the Preakness.

“The horse has been on a six (race) winning streak with a nasal strip. I don’t know why they would ban you from wearing one. But we’ll have to cross that bridge when we get there I guess.”

USA Today contacted the New York State Gaming Commission about the issue and received this answer:

“Neither the New York State Gaming Commission or the Stewards at Belmont Park have received a request to use nasal strips in the June 7 Belmont Stakes,” said the emailed statement.

“If a request to use nasal strips is made, the decision on whether to permit them or not will be fully evaluated and determined by the Stewards.”

To say my knowledge of horse racing is minimal is an understatement. That said, if you have a shot to win the first Triple Crown in 36 years, figure you find a way to race the horse. The Belmont takes place on June 7, giving this plenty of time to develop into a controversy or non-troversy.

Stay tuned.

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