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Nasal strip could clog Chrome's Triple Crown bid

California Chrome Could Skip Belmont

BALTIMORE (AP) -- California Chrome might abandon his Triple Crown bid if New York officials do not allow the colt to wear a nasal strip in the Belmont Stakes.

Trainer Art Sherman made no threats about the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner passing on a chance to become horse racing's 12th Triple Crown winner, but he suggested it was a possibility.

"I'd have to leave it up to the owners," he said Sunday. "I know they'll be upset."

Neither the New York State Gaming Commission nor the New York Racing Association stewards has received a request to use nasal strips in the Belmont on June 7.

"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," Gaming Commission spokesman Lee Park said Sunday.

Among the Gaming Commission's rules governing Belmont Park is one that states: Only equipment specifically approved by the stewards shall be worn or carried by a jockey or a horse in a race.

In a post on its Twitter feed, NYRA said: "We operate under the rules set forth by (at)NYSGamingCommission."

California Chrome has worn a nasal strip during his current six-race winning streak after co-owner Perry Martin wanted to try it. Sherman is based in California and said he wasn't aware that using one in New York might be a problem. He said he would talk to New York racing officials and the horse's owners.

Some horses, like humans, wear nasal strips to assist breathing. The colt wears the strip only during races, not training.

At 1 1/2 miles, the Belmont is the longest and most grueling of the three Triple Crown races.

"I think it opens up his air passage and gives him that little extra oomph that he needs, especially going a mile and a half," Sherman said. "Anytime you can have a good air passage, that means a lot for these thoroughbreds."

Sherman said Martin likes to try different products and the co-owner thought a nasal strip might benefit California Chrome.

"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," the trainer said. "I don't know why they would ban you from wearing one. We'll have to cross that bridge when we get there."

Other states allow nasal strips while racing, and even some jockeys wear them.

"It's something nonmedical that can be beneficial to a workout or a race," California-based trainer Doug O'Neill said by phone. "If you think your horse could use some help with their nostrils, you do it."

Two years ago, O'Neill trained I'll Have Another to victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness with the colt wearing a nasal strip. New York officials told O'Neill that his horse couldn't wear one in the Belmont. The issue became moot when I'll Have Another was scratched the day before the race because of a leg injury.

"I can't imagine them being that ignorant that they would do that again," O'Neill said. "New York has gotten a lot better with common sense. It seems like a more rational place now."

NYRA has several new officials since 2012, including Martin Panza, the former racing secretary at now-closed Betfair Hollywood Park in California who now oversees racing operations at Belmont, Saratoga and Aqueduct.

Sherman said California Chrome came out of Saturday's Preakness in good shape, emptying his feed tub after the race.

The colt playfully nibbled on his leather shank outside the barn as his two front legs were washed off Sunday. A worker removed a poultice from each lower front leg, which had been applied under bandages as a precaution to protect the colt's tendons.

The nasal strip could prove insignificant, as did California Chrome's cough that had no impact on his Preakness run. The colt has a small blister in his throat that caused him to cough last week, triggering rumors that he wouldn't run at Pimlico.

Sherman thinks California Chrome will win the Triple Crown, something no horse has done since Affirmed in 1978.

"I have a good feeling about it. I'm really confident," he said. "They better have their running shoes on. I don't care how many fresh shooters they have. He's the real McCoy."

If California Chrome competes, the Belmont Stakes is shaping up as a possible 11-horse race, including two newcomers to the Triple Crown trail: Commissioner, sixth in the Arkansas Derby; and Tonalist, the Peter Pan Stakes winner.

Other probables include the second- through fifth-place finishers in the Kentucky Derby: Commanding Curve, Danza, Wicked Strong and Samraat. Intense Holiday, 12th in the Derby, is on the list.

Three Preakness runners could return: Ride On Curlin (second), Social Inclusion (third) and Kid Cruz (eighth).


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asimpcatdr May 19 2014 at 12:13 AM

Horse racing NEEDS a Triple Crown Winner. It's a dying industry that needs to recapture the interest of the general public. People need a reason to care about TB racing. They need a hero . The industry will be shooting itself in the foot if NY doesn't allow the nasal strips. Just issue nasal strips to every horse in the race to even the playing field. That should solve the problem.

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2 replies
Joann! asimpcatdr May 19 2014 at 12:33 AM


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insomeniac asimpcatdr May 19 2014 at 1:04 AM

This is absolutely true. Belmont has supposedly been in financial straits for years already. To deprive that track of hosting a possible Triple Crown would be beyond absurd. They desperately need the publicity.

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musicvideo1967 May 18 2014 at 9:43 PM

To even question this nasal strip is laughable when trainers are doping horses all over this country and running them into the ground until they break down or die then they sell them as dog food.

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2 replies
no name musicvideo1967 May 18 2014 at 10:03 PM

Thank you for telling the truth.... Yes, Congress needs to get involved with all the ho
rse abuse for MONEY.

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1 reply
rgilb07720 no name May 19 2014 at 2:04 AM

Oh yes, Congress doesn't do anything else but they should definitely get involved in horse racing,

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Tom musicvideo1967 May 18 2014 at 10:14 PM

Well, aren't you just a cheery little horse-racing fan?! Why are you even interested?

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rosalies623 May 18 2014 at 10:16 PM

OMG, does there have to be a damper on everything??!! I hope California Chrome runs in spite of everything and everyone and goes on to be a Triple Crown winner. This fairy tale has to play out..................everyone wants this horse to race and win. Can't we just enjoy the sport and not have to deal with all the bull..........................

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toothii May 19 2014 at 9:47 AM

Total nonsense. Athletes wear these nostril openers all the time and no one objects. It doesn't rely on drugs just allows better oxygen flow. If this knocks CA Chrome out of the Belmaoin then shame on NY racing authority....the owners had alluded to rather poor treatment at Churchill Downs probabaly as a result of being unknowns from the "poor side" of the street amidst all these very wealthy horse owners and breeders. Politics even in horse racing. It's a damn shame!

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tedsclub May 18 2014 at 10:37 PM

i think horse racing fans should wear nasal strips to the track to show solidarity with California Chrome. If the NY stewards do not allow it then the owners should wait until the last minute then scratch Chrome in protest. Horse racing is a sport that is in severe decline and a run for the Triple Crown would be a huge shot errrr boost in the arm.

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Heymickr May 18 2014 at 10:58 PM

The horse has always raced with a nasal strip. Change is not good with these high strung animals. Better to pull him and keep his stud fees as high as possible than risk his running a really bad race if he is required to race under conditions he's not used to.

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1 reply
LolaMarie Heymickr May 18 2014 at 11:45 PM

I'd run him. But only on the conditions he has run in other races with the breathe strip. Now that he is famous they are calling Foul! Wasn't a problem till now! But his Dam had breathng problems too. I think that is why she went so "cheap" But if his problems are hereditary and he can't race with a "breathing strip" then how much will his stud fee be? Think about it!

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1 reply
Heymickr LolaMarie May 19 2014 at 4:39 AM

He can race everywhere other than New York with the nasal strip so I don't think that's going to bring down his stud fees. By next year all the horses will be using nasal strips and New York will have to change its rules to keep up with the times.

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happy2bgridfree May 19 2014 at 9:47 AM

So let all the other entrants use nasal strips if they choose. What's the big deal? Unless there is a legitimate health or safety reason why the horse shouldn't be using a nasal strip, this should be a non-issue.

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blueladyh May 19 2014 at 9:47 AM

It's a patch. there is no medicine in the patch. it's like the wraps they put on the legs , blinders and hoods. this patch is allowed in harness racing. What is the difference? It should be a no brainer- let Chrome wear it and fix the ruling. To not have a chance at a Triple crown this close!!! How many people will come if Chrome is not there.

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no name May 18 2014 at 9:58 PM

Not allowing Chrome to wear a nasal stip is a pathetic excuse for the NY Mob..oh, excuse me.. the gaming commission..... My spouse wears one at night b/c his nostrils close... not his fault. I hope Chrome's owners sue the pants off NY's Belmont. It's time some one came up and exposed the truth about who really sets those horses up for a fall and how the jockey's get paid to squish the horses in and block them off so the best will not win... Instead they want to Bit*h about a simple nasal strip... what a pathetic piece of crap they are up there. Even the Olympis are not that bitc*y.... I wonder hgow many horse have been messed with in the stall a few days before the race to hurt them in some way so their performace will be bad the day of the race?????? Hummmmmm.

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1 reply
Tom no name May 18 2014 at 10:11 PM

Why is everything a damn lawsuit right away? They haven't even asked for permission yet. And, why do you even watch the races if you are so convinced they are "messing with the horses in the stalls"? Hummmmmmm.

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kwise007 May 19 2014 at 8:28 AM

Calfornia Chrome has nothing to prove. Let the New York State Stewards look like the fools that they are.

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