Fairmount Park will benefit from California Chrome running in Belmont Stakes

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COLLINSVILLE, IL (KPLR) - A controversy over a horse’s nasal strip nearly cost a Collinsville race track, and hundreds like it, a lot of money.  The flap has been put to rest, and Preakness Stakes winner, California Chrome, will make is bid for the elusive triple crown of horse racing in the Belmont Stakes next month.

California Chrome won the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby wearing a nasal strip that helps air flow into his nose.

“Basically it’s like they sell the breathe rights as sleep aids and for snoring.  It helps hold the nasal passages open,” trainer Scotty Becker said at Fairmount Park in Collinsville Monday morning.

California Chrome’s triple crown aspirations were nearly put on hold when the New York Racing Commission said it wasn’t sure they’d let him run with the strip.  His connections, in turn, discussed the possibility of pulling the horse from the race if it was not allowed.  The commission decided Monday morning the horse in fact could run, and Becker says it was the right call, that the strips don’t provide any advantage.

“It’s not like I could put one on a three-year-old of ours and he could go to the triple crown and win.  I mean, some horses breathe differently.  Maybe it would help some and wouldn’t help others.  We use them on maybe 60 to 70% of our horses.”

For tracks like Fairmount Park this was major news.  A race day with a horse going for the Triple Crown could more than double attendance and betting for the struggling track on Belmont Stakes day.  It will likely be one of their top three days of the entire year.

“Fortunately they came up with the right decision because this is momentous,” Fairmount Park Spokesman Jon Sloane said.  “There hasn’t been a triple crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.  We certainly would not won the public and the sport to be denied the chance to have  a triple crown winner based on a technicality.”

The Belmont Stakes will be run June 7th.

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