Breathe easy horse racing fans. California Chrome will indeed be racing in the Belmont Stakes (barring any injury between now and the morning of June 7th) after the New York State Gaming Commission unanimously voted to approve the use of equine nasal strips.
Yes, like a lot of human athletes, horses use nasal strips as well.
Trainer Art Sherman had been threatening to pull California Chrome from the race if the horse was unable to wear a nasal strip for the 1.5 mile race on June 7th.
California Chrome is seeking to become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to complete horse racing’s triple crown by winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes all in the same year.
California Chrome is on a current 6-race win streak, in which the horse wore a nasal strip in each race. Previously, the Belmont had not addressed the use of nasal strips by horses, but that all changed today.
I’ll Have Another appeared poised to make a run at it in 2012, but was pulled the night before the Belmont with tendonitis in its left front leg. I’ll Have Another subsequently retired from racing for good following the news.