California Chrome wears a nasal strip while he races to help with his breathing. He wore a nasal strip in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, both of which he won. There is a chance, however, that California Chrome will not be allowed to wear the nasal strip in the Belmont Stakes -- and his owners say they won't let him race without it. According to The New York Times, this is a very real possibility and could end the horse's Triple Crown bid.
Trainer Art Sherman said:
"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."California Chrome's nasal strip isn't "illegal" per se but this wouldn't be the first time that the breathing enhancers were prohibited. Back in 2012, I'll Have Another was sporting a nasal strip when he raced in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness -- and he won both races, not unlike California Chrome. Just ahead of the Belmont Stakes, however, New York stewards told the horse's team that they could not put a nasal strip on him for the race. The strips were prohibited.
While it would have been interesting to see how the horse performed without wearing a nasal strip, he scratched just one day before the race. A leg injury kept I'll Have Another from winning the Triple Crown. Some believe, however, that the horse would have had a more difficult time racing without the nose strip in place.
If California Chrome isn't permitted to wear a nasal strip, there's a good possibility that he won't win the race either -- and that's because he may not even compete. Now it's just a waiting game.
Lee Park, a spokesman for the New York State Gaming Commission, said:
"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. 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.'"Despite the very real possibility that California Chrome won't race at the Belmont Stakes on June 7, there is still a lot of chatter surrounding his potential history-making win. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, California Chrome blew his competition out of the water at the Preakness. Many feel as though this horse has the potential to go all the way.
The last horse two win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978.
Do you think California Chrome's nasal strips will be a problem? Do you think he could pull it off without wearing one?
[Photo courtesy of Thoroughbred Champions]