Reporting Liz Collin
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the quest to be the 12th Triple Crown winner, star race horse I’ll Have Another has been wearing a nasal strip.
It helps ease his breathing, just as it does for humans.
But officials from Saturday’s race, the Belmont Stakes, won’t allow it.
The strips are allowed in races in New York, but not in thoroughbred competitions in the state. Belmont Stakes stewards have said if they’re going to help the horse that much, the strips can’t be allowed in a matter of fairness.
A Twin Cities-based company, Flair, makes the equine nasal strips and sells thousands of them around the world. But this is the first time it has ever had a star horse wear them with so much on the line.
Jim Chiapetta is a veterinarian and the owner of Flair. He says part of a horse’s nose isn’t supported by bone, so when they run, hard tissue is sucked in and narrows down the airway, making it harder to breathe.
“I was disappointed that they won’t allow the strips,” Chiapetta said. “Now he’s coming into the biggest race of his life and somebody has said, ‘We’re going to make you change what you do.’”
Stewards at the Belmont have told Chiapetta they will look into this issue after the race.
“My money will definitely still be on I’ll Have Another, with or without the nasal strip,” Chiapetta said. “This is a great horse.”