UPDATE: California Chrome will be allowed to wear a nasal strip at the Belmont Stakes on June 7

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UPDATED: Could a nasal strip block California Chrome's Triple Crown bid?

05/19/2014 09:51 AM

Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome will be allowed to wear a nasal strip at the Belmont Stakes as he looks to become horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 36 years on June 7.

Stewards at Belmont Park on Monday unanimously approved the nasal strips for all horses running at racetracks of the New York Racing Association, effective immediately.

The issue was raised by the Daily Racing Form in light of 2012 Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another’s request, and subsequent denial, to use a nasal strip in the Belmont that year. I’ll Have Another ended up being scratched from the Belmont due to a leg injury.

The strips, which look similar to nasal strips worn by many athletes, are said to improve a horse’s breathing. Nasal strips keep a horse’s airway from becoming smaller during strenuous activity, the Flair Equine Nasal Strips website says.

“I don’t know why they would ban you from wearing one,” Art Sherman told the New York Times . “But we’ll have to cross that bridge when we get there, I guess.”

As of 10 a.m. on Monday May 19, Lee Park, a spokesman for the New York State Gaming Commission, said neither his agency nor the stewards at the New York Racing Association had received a request to use nasal strips in the Belmont Stakes.

“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,” Park said in a statement. “This is in accordance with the Commission’s Thoroughbred Rule 4033.8, which states: ‘Only equipment specifically approved by the stewards shall be worn or carried by a jockey or a horse in a race.’”

California Chrome’s ownership team was not pleased with the prospect of not being able to race the colt with a nasal strip.

“I’ll tell you one thing about these owners: They’re funny about stuff like that,” Sherman told bloodhorse.com. “[Co-owner Perry Martin] might say, ‘Well, he’s done enough, let’s go to the Los Alamitos Derby.’ I’ve hardly ever run any horses with a nasal strip except him. We don’t want to change it if we don’t have to.”

Martin and Steve Coburn own the Lucky Pulpit colt. Should California Chrome win the Belmont Stakes on June 7, he would become racing’s first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

Trey Eckerle

Trey Eckerle joined cn|2 in June 2013. A graduate of WKU, Trey grew up in Louisville and enjoys having a front row seat as Director to Kentucky sports and politics. He can be reached at 502-792-1106 or trey.eckerle@charter.com

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