Updated on 05/18/2014 6:53PM

Will New York allow California Chrome to wear nasal strips?

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Tom Keyser
The nasal strips California Chrome has been wearing may not be permitted when he runs in the June 7 Belmont Stakes.

A decision on whether dual classic winner California Chrome will be permitted to use nasal strips when he bids for the Triple Crown in the June 7 Belmont Stakes should be made by Tuesday, according to a New York Racing Association official.

Martin Panza, NYRA’s senior vice president of racing operations, said he put Art Sherman, trainer of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome, in touch with the stewards at 3:45 p.m. Eastern,  at which time Sherman formally requested permission to use nasal strips on California Chrome in the Belmont, Panza said. A decision was expected within 24 to 48 hours, Panza added.

California Chrome has worn nasal strips in each of his last six starts - including victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

On Sunday morning, Art Sherman, the trainer of California Chrome, was surprised to hear that he may not be permitted to use nasal strips on his horse in the Belmont. He even went so far to suggest that Perry Martin, co-owner of California Chrome, may not want to run in the Belmont if the use of nasal strips is denied.

“Perry Martin might say if I can’t put them on that horse I’m not sending him,” Sherman said at Pimlico. “I think it helps. It’s not going to move him up five or six lengths but you hate to change things.”

Nasal strips, legal for use in many jurisdictions, are not used in New York, though there is not a rule specifically banning them. In fact, in 1999, the then-New York State Racing and Wagering Board approved their use but New York Racing Association officials - specifically then-president Terry Meyocks - said they would not be permitted for use in New York.

Lee Park, spokesman for the commission, said the stewards have the right to approve or disallow the use of nasal strips based on Rule 4033.8 that states "Only equipment specifically approved by the stewards shall be worn or carried by a jockey or a horse in a race."​

In the past, New York stewards did not permit the use of nasal strips, in part, because they were not sure how to regulate it should the strips fall off in the paddock or during a race.

In 2012, I’ll Have Another wore nasal strips winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but his trainer, Doug O’Neill, was told that he could not use them in the Belmont. It became a moot point when I’ll Have Another was scratched the day before the Belmont with a tendon injury.

“You pick your spots when you argue with the refs,” O’Neill said. “I didn’t want there to be an asterisk if we won the Triple Crown. We did not put up a fight. I was not told to put in a request to the stewards or else I would have.”

O’Neill said he uses nasal strips on all his horses in California because he believes it’s a good way “to help a horse’s air passage and to lessen their chance of getting a bloody nose,” he said.

“How is it not a smart thing?” O’Neill added.

O’Neill said he is interested to see how the stewards handle the request by the connections of California Chrome to use nasal strips in the Belmont. He plans on bringing three horses to run at Belmont that weekend, including Goldencents in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on the undercard.

“If there is a way to request to use them, I will,” he said.