California Chrome did it. The flashy Cal bred chased his Kentucky Derby win with a stylish romp in the Preakness setting up the one thing horse racing needs most of all; a Triple Crown winner. Something the sport hasn’t seen since 1978.
But no one empties the clip into his own foot quite like horse racing, and no sooner did Chrome win, there was talk that regulators in New York may not allow him to wear the nasal strip he’s worn during his last six wins. And then immediately there was speculation that Chrome’s connections wouldn’t run him in the Belmont Stakes without the strip.
Awesome, potentially the biggest story in horse racing in decades, going up in flames over an equine breathe right. Only horse racing could wreck something this great.
However, we may have dodged the bullet. The New York Times reports New York regulators are expected to allow the strip.
Good thing too: that strip isn’t a performance enhancer: it’s not medication and it doesn’t pose any threat to the animal; and there are plenty of states that allow it.
Which brings us to the next obvious point: the sport needs a universal set of rules which apply to everyone, everywhere. But at least for now, it would appear the sport dodged a bullet rather than firing another one into its foot.
I can’t guarantee Chrome finishes off this Triple Crown, but not allowing him to even try over a nasal strip may have been a kill shot for a struggling sport.