On Monday, stewards at Belmont Park unanimously approved the nasal strips for all horses running at New York Racing Assn. racetracks. California Chrome, trying to become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978, wore a nasal strip while winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness races, the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
"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," New York State Gaming Commission Equine Medical Director Scott E. Palmer wrote in his analysis of the strips.
"If improperly applied, equine nasal strips cannot interfere with performance. In my opinion equine nasal strips fall into the same category as tongue-ties," Palmer wrote.
The nasal strip ban had to be addressed after the trainer of California Chrome, Art Sherman, said on Sunday that he might not let his horse run in the Belmont if he wasn't allowed to race with a nasal strip.
California Chrome is 6-0 since he started wearing the nasal strips in races only, not for training.
The strips are similar to ones worn by people with nasal congestion or breathing problems. The strip keeps a horse's airway from becoming smaller during strenuous activity. That helps provide more air to the lungs and reduces the chance of bleeding.