Triple Crown candidate California Chrome will be allowed to wear nasal strips on June 7 in the Belmont Stakes based on today’s unanimous ruling by the three stewards at Belmont Park to allow them for all horses running at racetracks of The New York Racing Association (NYRA). Finger Lakes Race Track followed up with a similar approval subsequent to the stewards’ decision.
The three stewards that represent NYRA, The Jockey Club and the New York State Gaming Commission (the Commission) were contacted Sunday by trainer Art Sherman requesting permission to use nasal strips on his horse. The Commission’s Rule 4033.8 provides, “Only equipment specifically approved by the stewards shall be worn or carried by a jockey or a horse in a race.”
The stewards sought the medical advice of the Commission’s Equine Medical Director Scott E. Palmer, VDM, before reaching their decision to allow the strips. Palmer recommended discontinuing the ban stating that “Equine nasal strips do not enhance equine performance nor do they pose a risk to equine health or safety and as such do not need to be regulated.”
It looks like the Belmont Stakes will have a fairly large field as five horses will return that ran in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness. There are three Preakness horses likely to return, including the second- and third-place finishers over the weekend. Finally, two newcomers that raced in the Peter Pan, Tonalist and Commissioner, will also try to upset California Chrome’s bid to become the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace