Special to USRacing
Ill Have Another is being forced by NYRA to make a change for the final race of the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. Ill Have Another will be trying to be the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to capture the Triple Crown by winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
In the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, Ill Have Another wore the Flair Equine Nasal Strip which is the equivalent of a Breathe Right nasal strip to help improve the breathing capacity of both amateur and professional athletes. He also wore the nasal strip during his Robert B. Lewis Stakes and Santa Anita Derby victories.
So why is it that now, when the Triple Crown is on the line that the stewards at Belmont Park are going to impose this rule which after all they do allow for harness racing and is approved by NYRA? This decision has been made despite it not being a New York State Racing and Wagering Board rule or even a Belmont Park house rule so why is this happening? It’s simple, the stewards have made this decision on their own and it would appear to be for no other reason than to do what they can to prevent a horse from winning the Triple Crown and benefitting the sport.
Dr. Ted Hill has seemingly become the patsy for this decision and has tried to defend their position which is both unsubstantiated and obtuse.
Essentially his argument is that the nasal strip might fall off before the race in the paddock or on the way to the gate or even because of rain. Dr Ted Hill also argues that it can’t be allowed because the New York horsemen haven’t asked for it enough. Really? This is his rebuttal? These are the grounds on which the greater good of the sport is being put in jeopardy? You gotta be kidding me with this!
“If it’s really going to help the horse that much, to be fair and consistent, we have to regulate it,” Hill said. “That’s always been the issue.”
“We’ve never had someone say, ‘What can we do here because we’d like to use this product?’ ” Hill said. “There’s really been no push for it.”
So basically it’s okay to inject a horse with a ton of drugs every day and before a race but in New York but how dare you consider putting a nasal strip on a horse… Remember, Ill Have Another has already worn the nasal strip in the first two legs of the Triple Crown and graded stakes races.
Dr. James R. Chiapetta, veterinarian and president of Flair LLC the manufacturer of the nasal strip product for horses contacted the Belmont Park Stewards earlier this week in an effort to have them change their minds but was unable to do so.
“The strips make no more difference in the outcome of a race than do horseshoes, tongue ties, figure eight bridles, or other equipment horsemen are permitted to use,” Chiapetta said in a statement released by Flair on Friday. “The strips, however, are designed to protect horses’ lungs so they can stay healthier.”
Horse racing is starting to get a few things right but this isn’t one of them! Any sport that allows the use of Lasix or Salix and bleeder medications to improve a horse’s performance and health during a race should not be the sport that bans a nasal strip.
NYRA basically just sent the message that if you come to race on our tracks, bring your needles, shoot up your horses, strap them with tongue ties, shadow rolls and bits but don’t you dare think about putting a piece of tape on your horses nose!