California Chrome Can Breathe Easy in Belmont

Nasal strips won’t keep California Chrome from possibly making history next month.

He’s worn them when he won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but until Monday, nasal strips were banned in New York State, where the final event in the Triple Crown is held.

New York tracks prohibit any equipment not specially approved by stewards and nasal strips were not on that list.

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California Chrome’s trainer said his owners had warned he might not race if he couldn’t wear the strips.

Belmont Park stewards cleared the horse to use the strip he wore while running the previous two races.

Dr. Larry Bramlage is a veterinarian on-call for the Triple Crown and said the nasal strips improve airflow through horse’s nostrils.  
He compares it to a strip a person might wear to help with nasal congestion but said it doesn’t help much.
“There’s some research that shows it does improve airflow a little but these have been invented for ten years and they’ve really not caught on and stood the test of time,” said Dr. Bramlage.  “You’ll see in the race some horses have figure eight nose bands, with their bridles and they’ll have different bits this is more like that than it is a medical device.”
“We’re trying to get more on the natural way of looking at things than solve it with a pill,” said Wendy Brodhead of Shylah Farm.  “They’re looking more for the well being of the horse again this can only benefit the horse.  Other disciplines have been using it for years.”
If the nasal strip will have any effect on the outcome of the race, Dr. Bramlage said he think it will only make a different if not wearing it made a horse uncomfortable.
Back in 2012, I’ll Have Another faced a similar issue.  He was a contender for the Triple Crown and had to get his nasal strip approved.  That issue was never resolved because of a career-ending leg injury that prevented him from running in the race.

California Chrome could be the first horse in 36 years to win the Triple Crown.