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Equine Nasal Strips Approved In NY – Chase For The Triple Crown Is Back On

FILE: California Chrome Cleared To Wear Nasal Strip In Belmont Stakes
California Chrome during the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 17, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Matthew Stockman, Getty Images Sport)

One day after the world said, ‘What?’ when it learned that the chase for the first Triple Crown in 35 years could be halted by equine nasal strips, New York State racing officials took action on Monday to…clear the air, if you will.

The three stewards at Belmont Park have agreed to allow the strips, according to a joint statement from the New York Racing Association, the NYS Gaming Commission and the Jockey Club – which was posted Monday afternoon on the NYRA website.

Not only are the strips approved for all horses in the Belmont Stakes on June 7, this will be a permanent change allowing them at all racetracks across the state, according to the joint statement:

The Stewards immediately sought expert analysis from New York State Gaming Commission Equine Medical Director Scott E. Palmer, VDM, on the use.

Dr. Palmer wrote:
“I recommend that the stewards at State-based Thoroughbred racetracks discontinue their ban on equine nasal strips.  Equine nasal strips do not enhance equine performance nor do they pose a risk to equine health or safety and as such do not need to be regulated.  
While there is research to indicate that equine nasal strips decrease airway resistance in horses and may decrease the amount of bleeding associated with EIPH to some degree, I am unfamiliar with any research indicating that equine nasal strips enable a horse to run faster with nasal strips than without them.  In other words, there is no evidence they have a performance enhancing effect.  Equine nasal strips do not pose a welfare or safety risk to the horse.  They are applied to the top of the nose and anyone can see their use prior to a race.  If improperly applied, equine nasal strips cannot interfere with performance.  In my opinion equine nasal strips fall into the same category as tongue-ties.”
The Stewards considered Dr. Palmer’s advice and thus determined to allow the unregulated use of the nasal strips.
It was thought by some that if the nasal strips weren’t approved, the owners of California Chrome would opt not to run.
So, the pursuit of history is back on!

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