California Chrome Could Skip Belmont Stakes Over Nasal Strips Issue

California ChromeCalifornia Chrome has a chance to complete the Triple Crown with a win at the 2014 Belmont Stakes, but the colt may withdraw if New York officials don’t let the him wear nasal strips for the race.

“I’d have to leave it up to the owners,” trainer Art Sherman said Sunday, via The Associated Press. “I know they’ll be upset.”

The New York State Gaming Commission has specific rules in place at Belmont Park. One of the rules is that only equipment specifically approved by the New York Racing Association stewards can be worn or carried by a jockey or horse during the race. The Gaming Commission and the stewards both said they have not yet received a request from California Chrome’s camp to use nasal strips at the Belmont Stakes on June 7.

California Chrome has been wearing nasal strips during his current six-race winning streak after co-owner Perry Martin wanted to try it. Sherman is based in California and said he didn’t realize the colt racing with nasal strips would be an issue.

“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.”

Two years ago, I’ll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness wearing nasal strips. New York race officials said I’ll Have Another wouldn’t be able to wear the nasal strips in that year’s Belmont Stakes, but the point became moot when the colt withdrew from the race because of a leg injury.

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