Strip OK for California Chrome

California Chrome has gotten approval to wear a nasal strip during the Belmont Stakes, keeping alive the horse's chance to become just the sport's 12th Triple Crown winner.

Sources within the California Chrome camp told ESPN's Jeannine Edwards on Monday that New York Racing Association steward Steve Lewandowski said the horse would be allowed to wear the strip during the 1-mile race on June 7. It's the longest and most grueling of the three Triple Crown races.

Trainer Art Sherman had suggested that California Chrome might not race at the Belmont without the strip, which we wore during victories in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes.

On Sunday, New York Racing Association officials said that assistant trainer Alan Sherman would have to make a formal request for permission to use the strip.

Among the gaming commission's rules governing Belmont Park is one that states: Only equipment specifically approved by the stewards shall be worn or carried by a jockey or a horse in a race.The rulebook for Belmont Park that establishes race conditions does not specifically mention nasal strips.

California Chrome as worn a nasal stripduring his current six-race winning streak after co-owner Perry Martin wanted to try it. Sherman is based in California and said he wasn't aware that using one in New York might be a problem.

Some horses, like humans, wear nasal strips to assist breathing. The colt wears the strip only during races, not training.

"I think it opens up his air passage and gives him that little extra oomph that he needs, especially going a mile and a half," Sherman said. "Anytime you can have a good air passage, that means a lot for these thoroughbreds."

A horse hasn't won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Since then, 12 horses have won the first two legs and failed to complete the sweep in the Belmont.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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