Preakness Winner California Chrome May Bail on Triple Crown Bid

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California Chrome
California Chrome breathing easy in Kentucky. Photo by Bill Brine.

UPDATE: California’s Chrome’s team has announced on the champion horse’s Facebook page that the nasal strips have been approved for the Belmont Stakes!  See the Facebook posting here.

This has got to be a bluff, right? Since the beginning of U.S. Thoroughbred racing’s current Triple Crown drought in 1979, 12 horses have won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes only to lose at Belmont or withdraw due to injury. But none of them just bailed out after Preakness over a nasal strip.

California Chrome has won six straight races since his trainer started putting a nasal strip on the horse, and co-owner Perry Martin is considering not racing him at the Belmont Stakes if New York stewards won’t allow the breathing aid.

In 2012, I’ll Have Another was forced to forgo the nasal strip for the Belmont, but we never got to see how it would have played out as that horse was injured the day before the race. New York racing and gaming officials said they haven’t made a decision on the matter because they haven’t yet received a request to use nasal strips at the final leg of the Triple Crown.

But does Martin’s brinksmanship mean California Chrome’s Preakness win was really all nasal strip?

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