The three Stewards at Belmont Park today unanimously agreed to allow the use of equine nasal strips for all horses running at racetracks of The New York Racing Association, Inc (NYRA), effective immediately.
California Chrome will be permitted to use nasal strips when he competes at the 146th Belmont Stakes on June 7, 2014.
Yesterday afternoon, California Chrome trainer Art Sherman contacted the Stewards (one representing the New York State Gaming Commission, one representing NYRA and another representing The Jockey Club) requesting permission to use nasal strips on the horse. 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 determined to allow the unregulated use of the nasal strips.
In accordance with the N.Y.S. Gaming Commission Rule 4033.8, "Only equipment specifically approved by the stewards shall be worn or carried by a jockey or a horse in a race."