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Nasal strip issue could clog California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome, pictured wearing a nasal strip during the Derby, might abandon his Triple Crown bid if New York officials do not allow the colt to wear the nasal strip in the Belmont Stakes. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum/File)

Matt Slocum/Associated Press/File

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome, pictured wearing a nasal strip during the Derby, might abandon his Triple Crown bid if New York officials do not allow the colt to wear the nasal strip in the Belmont Stakes.

BALTIMORE — California Chrome might abandon his Triple Crown bid if New York officials do not allow the colt to wear a nasal strip in the Belmont Stakes.

Trainer Art Sherman made no threats about the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner passing on a chance to become horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner, but he suggested it was a possibility.

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‘‘I’d have to leave it up to the owners,’’ he said Sunday. ‘‘I know they’ll be upset.’’

Neither the New York State Gaming Commission nor the New York Racing Association stewards have received a request to use nasal strips in the Belmont on June 7.

‘‘If a request to use nasal strips is made, the decision on whether to permit them or not will be fully evaluated and determined by the stewards,’’ Gaming Commission spokesman Lee Park said Sunday.

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.

California Chrome has worn a nasal strip during 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. He said he would talk to New York racing officials and the horse’s owners.

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

At 1½ miles, the Belmont is the longest and most grueling of the Triple Crown races.

Two years ago, I’ll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness while wearing a nasal strip. New York officials said the horse couldn’t wear one in the Belmont. The issue became moot when I’ll Have Another was scratched because of a leg injury.

Sherman said California Chrome came out of Saturday’s Preakness in good shape, emptying his feed tub after the race.

California Chrome defeated Ride On Curlin by 1½ lengths in the Preakness, covering 1 3/16 miles in 1 minute 54.84 seconds on a sunny and cool day at Pimlico.

At the end, Ride On Curlin, who started out next-to-last in the 10-horse field, ranged up and appeared ready to overtake California Chrome. But once again showing his class, California Chrome denied the threat.

California Chrome paid $3, $3, and $2.40. Ride On Curlin returned $5.60 and $3.80, while Social Inclusion was another 6½ lengths back and paid $3.40 as the 5-1 second choice.

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