Could New York State regulations do what no four-legged competitor could and deny California Chrome the first Triple Crown in racing in 36 years?

It seems impossible that this won’t be worked out before the June 7 Belmont Stakes, but Art Sherman, the horse’s trainer, raised the possibility Sunday morning that the horse might not run if rules prohibit him from wearing the nasal strips he’s worn as he has won six races in a row.

“This guy [co-owner] 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,” Sherman said (via the New York Daily News) the day after California Chrome’s victory in the Preakness. “The horse has been on a six [race] winning streak with a nasal strip. 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.”

(Jonathan Newton / Washington Post) (Jonathan Newton / Washington Post)

I’ll Have Another, the last horse to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown, wore nasal strips and was being prepared to run in the Belmont without a strip when he hurt his leg and had to be scratched on the eve of the race.  California Chrome began wearing the strips Dec. 22.

“That’s not fair to me,” said Sherman, noting that every other racing state allows the use of nasal strips. “That’s really bogus. I don’t understand.”

California Chrome had a bit of a cough last week, but the strips, which are three inches wide, are unrelated.

“I do think it opens up the air passage and gives that little extra oomph that he would need, especially going a mile-and-a-half [the Belmont distance],” Sherman said. “Any time you can have a good air passage that means a lot with these thoroughbreds.”


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