Nasal strips? You know the old saying, “If your feet smell and your nose runs, you were built upside down”? Well . . .
California Chrome, a 3-year-old race horse has four feet that work so well he is poised to win the Triple Crown. His nose, um, not so much. He’ll be a contender for the Triple Crown if he is allowed to wear a nasal strip–a colossal nasal strip–to keep his air passages open. It’s kind of important for a race horse to breathe. They are like humans in that respect.
Here’s the problem as I see it: California Chrome was born and raised in California. The Belmont Stakes on June 7, the race that CC needs to win for the Triple Crown, is in New York. There is a vast difference between New York, home to big city formality and snootiness, and California, home to laid back vegans and beach bums.
The kicker? Wearing the nasal strips is legal in all other states where there is horse racing. Who will make the determination about this California colt? New York State Gaming Commission racing stewards. Notice it’s not “officials” or “board members.” It’s “stewards”–don’t forget to put your nose in the air.
California Chrome won the Kentucky Derby, followed by a win in the Preakness Stakes. I’ll Have Another–where do they get race horse names, anyway– was the last to win both of these prestigious races in 2012, according to an article in USA Today.
Also from USA Today:
The New York State Gaming Commission issued a statement Sunday saying, “The decision on whether to permit them or not will be fully evaluated and determined by the stewards.” It cited its Rule 4033.8, which states, “Only equipment specifically approved by the stewards shall be worn or carried by a jockey or a horse in a race.”
On the other
Kentucky’s senior state steward, Barbara Borden, said the state considers nasal strips unregulated equipment, such as bandages on horses’ legs during races. She told The (Louisville) Courier-Journal that nasal strips originally required permission to be put on or taken off a horse, same as with blinkers, but that hasn’t been the policy for years.
Talking about the benefit of the strip, Sherman said, “It opens up his air passage. It gives him that extra little oomph … especially going a mile and a half.” In New York, harness racing horses are allowed to use them.
“All over the country they let you wear them. Why would New York not?” Sherman said. “A lot of horses all over California wear them all the time. You might see three or four horses in a race wearing them.”
They do it in California. That’s good enough for me. Strips for “a little extra oomph” and blinkers to prevent the interruption caused by distractions. He has to go a mile and a half at lightening speed, after all. In human terms, that’s like having the stamina to go the distance without jumping the gun, if you know what I mean. I say to the stewards, let the horsey wear his strip n blinkers.
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