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Monday, May 19, 2014

California Chrome Wins Derby, Preakness and Heads To Belmont With His Nasal Strips

California Chrome and his nasal strips.
(Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)
Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome went on his six week winning streak worth some $3 million dollars when his connections started using an equine nasal strip not entirely dissimilar to the ones that human athletes wear.   

He was wearing the strips when he annexed the first two jewels of the Triple Crown and a mini-controversy arose Sunday when everyone realized that there was only one state that did not allow the strips – New York, which hosts the final jewel, The Belmont Stakes.

A mad scramble ensued and the New York Racing Association stewards unanimously approved using the strips thus keeping alive his chances to become the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.
On Monday morning, three steward  unanimously approved the nasal strips for all horses running at racetracks of the New York Racing Association, effective immediately.

"Equine nasal strips do not enhance equine performance nor do they pose a risk to equine health or safety and as such do not need to be regulated," New York State Gaming Commission Equine Medical Director Scott E. Palmer wrote in his analysis of the strips. He added that strips are applied to the top of the nose and anyone can see their use prior to a race.

"If improperly applied, equine nasal strips cannot interfere with performance. In my opinion equine nasal strips fall into the same category as tongue-ties," Palmer wrote.

While there is research that indicates nasal strips decrease airway resistance in horses and may decrease the amount of bleeding associated with exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH), there is no evidence that the strips enable a horse to run faster, Palmer wrote.

California Chrome winning the Preakness.
(Rob Carr/Getty Images North America)
A day earlier, Sherman's father, 77-year-old California Chrome trainer Art Sherman, said that if the horses wasn't allowed to run with a nasal strip – designed to enhance air flow in the nasal passages -- his owners might not want to run him at all in the Belmont, never mind the hugeness of the race for the horse and the racing industry.

"We put in an official request (Sunday to New York officials) to get the nasal strip, and it looks like we're going to be able to use it," Sherman said outside California Chrome' barn at Pimlico Race Course.

"It's looking that way, but we'll see when I get up there."

I’ll Have Another who won both the KY Derby and Preakness in 2012 also wore nasal strips, but his connections had forgone using them prior to entry in Belmont Stakes.  I’ll Have Another scratched out of the Belmont due to a then undisclosed injury.

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