California Chrome cleared to race with nasal strip

ESPN's Jeannine Edwards is reporing that the connections of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome have gotten approval to use a nasal strip the horse has been wearing all along. This likely would ensure his entry in the Belmont Stakes, keeping alive the horse's chance to become just the sport's 12th Triple Crown winner.

New York Racing Association steward Steve Lewandowski reportedly told Edwards on Monday that California Chrome would be allowed to wear the strip during the 1½-mile race on June 7. It's the longest and most grueling of the three Triple Crown races.

Trainer Art Sherman had raised the possibility of not entering the colt in the Belmont without the strip, which we wore during victories in the first two jewels of racing's Triple Crown.

Assistant trainer Alan Sherman made a formal request for permission to use the strip, per NYRA rules.

One of the rules of the gaming commission that governs Belmont Park is this: "Only equipment specifically approved by the stewards shall be worn or carried by a jockey or a horse in a race." There is no provision either way in the rulebook for Belmont Park regarding nasal strips.

California Chrome as worn a nasal strip during his current six-race winning streak after co-owner Perry Martin wanted to try it. Sherman is based in California and said he wasn't aware that using one in New York might be a problem.

Some horses, like humans, wear nasal strips to assist breathing. The colt wears the strip only during races, not training.

"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."

A horse hasn't won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Since then, 12 horses have won the first two legs and failed to complete the sweep in the Belmont.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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