05/25/2012 3:28PM

Belmont Stakes 2012: Stewards won't permit I'll Have Another to wear nasal strip in Belmont Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
The nasal strip that I'll Have Another wore while winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness will not be allowed in the June 9 Belmont Stakes.

I’ll Have Another will be forced to make a subtle, but perhaps significant, equipment change when he tries to become racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner in the 144th Belmont Stakes on June 9, not because his connections want to, but because they are being required to do so by Belmont Park stewards.

In both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, I’ll Have Another has raced with a Flair Equine Nasal Strip across his nose, similar to the Breathe Right strips popular with some human athletes. He also wore a nasal strip when he won the Robert Lewis Stakes and Santa Anita Derby, and last summer at Del Mar, when he finished second in the Best Pal Stakes.

[BELMONT STAKES: Video updates, expected field, early odds]

However, stewards at New York Racing Association racetracks, which includes Belmont Park, have decided not to allow nasal strips. This is not a New York State Racing and Wagering Board rule, nor even a Belmont Park house rule. It is a decision made by the stewards.

Dr. Ted Hill, the Jockey Club steward at Belmont Park, said the nasal strip issue has been reviewed a number of times and said the problem is how to regulate its use.

[I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: Derby, Preakness winner runs for Triple Crown]

Changes for blinkers, bar shoes, and Lasix, for instance, are announced in New York. Changes regarding other equipment, such as shadow rolls, tongue ties, and bits, are not denoted. But all of those items are allowed.

Curiously, nasal strips are permitted in New York for harness racing. But the line has been drawn in Thoroughbred racing at NYRA tracks.

“If it’s really going to help the horse that much, to be fair and consistent, we have to regulate it,” Hill said. “That’s always been the issue.”

Part of the issue, Hill said, is what to do with a horse who was scheduled to wear a nasal strip if the strip comes off in the paddock or at the gate, perhaps because of wet weather. Further, Hill said there has not been a clamor among New York horsemen to use it.

“We’ve never had someone say, ‘What can we do here because we’d like to use this product?’ ” Hill said. “There’s really been no push for it.”

Doug O’Neill, the trainer of I’ll Have Another, on Friday said that although he believes the nasal strip is “a safe, natural piece of equipment for the horse, I completely respect the New York rules and will not use one.”

Flair, the company that makes the equine nasal strip, argues that its product is humane in that it promotes better lung function and helps alleviate the need for anti-bleeding medication, such as Lasix. The company says the strips “provide drug-free support and protection of the respiratory system of the hard-working equine athlete,” and said eight clinical studies show that the strips “reduce airway resistance, reduce lung stress and bleeding, reduce fatigue, and shorten post-exercise recovery time.”

Dr. James R. Chiapetta, a veterinarian who is the president of Flair LLC, contacted the Belmont Park stewards earlier this week in an attempt to change their position, but was unsuccessful.

“The strips make no more difference in the outcome of a race than do horseshoes, tongue ties, figure eight bridles, or other equipment horsemen are permitted to use,” Chiapetta said in a statement released by Flair on Friday. “The strips, however, are designed to protect horses’ lungs so they can stay healthier.”

According to Chiapetta, the strips “are scientifically proven to reduce lung bleeding and can reduce bleeding as much as the drug Lasix/Salix when horses are running to fatigue.”

This decision goes to a larger aspect of racing, the varying rules that are in each state regarding equipment and medication. For instance, the states that play host to the Triple Crown races have different rules on adjunct bleeder medication. It is legal to use such products in Kentucky and Maryland, but not in New York, where only Lasix, now known as Salix, is allowed.


Riddle This More than 1 year ago
The ruling has nothing to do with enhancing performance. It is simply due to the fact that the dam thing could fall off during the race and thus negatively affect the horse's performance after the true owners of the sport, the bettor, has made his/her wager.
Starr More than 1 year ago
Starr More than 1 year ago
Sure, the dumbassess will allow man made medications but not allow an all natural remedy. SOUNDS LIKE HANKY PANKY AND/OR DRUG COMPANY PAYOFFS TO MEl
Sadie Ozmen More than 1 year ago
Bill Goodwin The horse is not in violation of any equipment or medication rule regardless of which part of the USA or Canada that he races in. A convenient stewards rule introduced that should be challenged in the courts. Some stewards just can't get their heads out of the sand.
Cheryll Terrance More than 1 year ago
Sounds to me like the stewerds are trying their hardest to prevent a triple crown success. This is a really good horse, what the hell is a nasal strip going to hurt, if it was another horse there would be no question. Cheryll Terrance, Norfolk, NY, a disgusted fan of horse racing, not necessarily in NY state.l
Mary Wilborn More than 1 year ago
Go Go Go Go I'll Have Another LIVE UP TO YOUR NAME and have another win for all us beginners.
Mary Wilborn More than 1 year ago
I see nothing wrong with the Flare. But it won't matter he's in shape he'll win hopefully his lungs won't bleed. I do love animals.Racing is just a chance for people to prove what they can do and who has the best. Horsetrades
Kiki Yaron More than 1 year ago
WTF? Those stewards are @ssholes!!! Scared the west coast horse will win ?
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
and one more point my friends and i below just brainstormed... nyra has an policy against using their forum for advertising..by jockeys in a race or horses..so when a figure eight does the same thing as a flair why allow a cheating trainer to possibly use his only star (IHA) as a chance to further his greed by gaining money fron the makers of the FLAIR?
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Is that what all of this dislike is about - because you fear Mr. O'Neill might make some money from the makers of the breathing strips? - LOL. That may be your fear, but the NYRA might have a deal of their own going with the makers of Lasix and are in fear of a lawsuit by the pharmaceutical companies if New York allows IHA to use the breathing strips. They are then liable for breech of contract by allowing the use of breathing strips. It's then a bottom line and legal issue for them. It's still not apparent that the stewards and NYRA have any of the horses running in the Belmont Stakes best interest at heart in this ruling. The ruling still makes zero sense.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
okay come onn.. every comment i post about the rulings, the breeding of union rags, the heart of iha, the endorcement policy here in new york, the breathing advantages of nasal flairs, and doug o' neil have been factual. NOT OPINIONATED. AND DOUG HAS NOT DONE ANYTHING TO ME. but he has broken rules, and they way he broke them was detrimental to the well being of a horse. thus the trainer responsibnility ruling in cali. PLEASE ROUTE FOR IHA..HE IS AS I HAVE PREVIOUSLY STATED DESERVING. just not his trainer. I'm honest about these posts. iaccept correction when I'm wrong... I even enjoy and would prefer people jumping all over me and these posts rather than UNION RAGS. BUT AS A MAN WHO CARES ABOUT THESE ANIMALS NOT GAMBLING PROFITS OR ENDORSEMENTS I HAVE TO SAY TO EVERYONE.. PLEASE STOP BEING NAIVE ABOUT MR. O'NEIL....
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I'm not being naive about Mr. O'Neill, Tom. In fact, I'm not naive about any trainer or how the game or industry is run, or about office politics of any form, even in horseracing. I may look young, but I am far from stupid or naive. Young does not equate with stupid. If I insulted you without meaning to do so, that was never my intention, then I apologize to you. And I know you care about the horses, so do I. We share a passion in that manner, we both what is best for all of the horses. You and I both know that there are many trainers who are doing far worse to horses than what the stewards and boards are accusing Mr. O'Neill of, yet you hear very little about enforcement of laws being thrown at THEM, when there should be a loud outcry by both the public and governing bodies. They need to be pursuing these trainers with just as much zeal as they seem to enjoy in pursuing accusations against Doug O'Neill. And Doug is accused of giving a horse the equivalent of Gatorade, Arm & Hammer Baking soda and Domino Sugar. It's not even illegal, and certainly not in the same category as giving a horse a needle full of harmful, invasive drugs. What I am saying is that if they are going to regulate, regulate fairly, not go after people they may have some kind of vague grudge against, but not go after people who are extremely well-connected or famous. When this particular agency puts down a ruling saying, "No, we didn't find any evidence of anything wrong having being done, BUT we are going to suspend you anyway," warning bells go off, because your ruling has effectively become a moot point, and done so by you. You negated your own ruling. They had no real evidence, and then timed their announcement of said ruling to cause as much of a distraction and damage as possible right before a huge race. Please forgive me for not believing them and their denials of not having an agenda for doing things the way they did. They could have handled it much better and in a much classier fashion and they know it!
Starr More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FOR EVERYONE OUT THERE... from research.. not finger pointing or jealousy or bitterness.. GO LOOK UP SOME OF THIS.. I DARE YOU.. its too much to type.. the term is "alar fold stenosis". then if you can find any horse owners veterinary handbook look up the respiratory system of a horse from start to finish.. then look up how breathing directly influences lactic acid build-up. THEN GO LOOK AT FACIAL PICTURES OF IHA. then look at why california is banning doug for 45 days. then look up sentencing for first time violations of the high levels of CO2 in horses... THEN COME TELL ME HOW GREAT DOUG O'NEIL IS..... sorry folks.... after all this go see what the flairs actually do... just type EQUINE FLAIR... then come back and tell me IHA WILL STILL WIN.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
thank god.... somebody sees my point
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
get it now.... sorry
R. Martin More than 1 year ago
My friend you belong to the 1% who can think clearly. I applaud the NYRA Stewards for also belonging to the 1% Club. I congratulate you on an erudite posting rather than a PollyAnna one. IHA I think will finish 5th or 6th sans Nasal Strip aid. I'm taking my "Martin Entry" to WIN, at an estimated blended overall odds of 7/1 or maybe higher: Union Rags, Dullahan and Alpha.
neigh sayer More than 1 year ago
Just looked up the flair strip as you suggested. "gently supports the soft tissues over the nasal passages providing reduced airway resistance." Sounds like something that is good for the health of the horse, reducing the possiblity of bleeding, and might help him perform as good as he is capable of. And you find this to be such a horrible thing? So much so that you you think the trainer is a cheat for using a legal nasal strip? If all trainers believed in them they would all be using them. But of course you're all for lasix. I find this all silly.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
and the rest of the research or you rather not discuss that in public??? i'm busy here babysitting a horse with cholic.... get a clue PLEASE
neigh sayer More than 1 year ago
If you actually are babysitting a sick horse, you would know how to spell colic. So quit typing and keep him walking. Oh and don't cheat by giving him a sedative. And don't cheat by tubing him with oil, that might actually help the horses health.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Your statement is just dripping with hate. I would love to find out what Doug O'Neill personally did to you. There are a couple of people here on this forum who take the hatemongering much too far for this not to be some kind of personal issue for them. And in all of the images I have seen in the last year of I'll Have Another, IHA looks fabulous - healthy, his coat shines just like a new penny, he looks well feed, and he looks contented. All fabulous things. The breathing strips help aerate the lungs and delivers more oxygen to the system, just as it does in human flair strips. Delivering more oxygen to anyone's system is going to make them feel better, perform better, and makes the muscles work more efficiently and optimally because that's how the body works, period. Any human, any animal. And in the case of horses, in a humane, non-invasive way with no side effects. Sounds like a pretty effective and worthwhile product to me.
anonymous More than 1 year ago
No, you're the one who personalizes everything, absolutely. The commenter is holding out some skepticism, which you seem to hate. And even if other people on here are being a little biased, so what? It's their privelege, even as you constantly claim the right to express an opinion for yourself. Constantly. And you've been skeptical and negative about some of the other horse contestants, like Union Rags. You've attacked people who don't agree with you in this forum, you've taken offense at things that weren't personally directed at you, and you've repeatedly insulted commenters for criticizing your pet horses and trainers. So, expect some kick back. You leave extensive comments which in itself leaves you open to criticism. Most of the commentary you keave contains alot of repetition and praise for your favorites, and as such is usually highly annoying. The first time I saw the flair strips on IHA I instinctively didn't like them and wondered if they confer an advantage. You go through your tedious argument about breathing passages, etc. which anyone can well imagine without having you detail it, but they still seem fishy to me. I'm sure you'll call me nasty names for pusing back at your aggressive comments but I don't car if you do.