It looks as if California Chrome's bid for a Triple Crown is back on track.
Assistant trainer Alan Sherman, son of Art, told USA Today Monday morning that he fully expects a favorable ruling from stewards regarding the horse's use of a nasal strip.
"We put in an official request [Sunday] to get the nasal strip, and it looks like we're going to be able to use it," the younger Sherman told the paper from Pimlico Monday morning. "It's looking that way, but we'll see when I get up there."
According to the New York Times, the decision could come as early as Monday. Stewards from both the New York Racing Association and Jockey Club must first vote on the measure.
Scott Palmer, the equine medical director for the New York State Gaming Commission, has written a letter to racing officials advocating for an end to the ban on nasal strips in their jurisdiction.
The strips are allowed most everywhere else.
"I recommend that the stewards at state-based thoroughbred racetracks discontinue their ban on equine nasal strips," Palmer said, via the Times. “Equine nasal strips do not enhance equine performance nor do they pose a risk to equine health or safety and as such do not need to be regulated.”
It was reported earlier Sunday that there was some concern in Chrome's camp that he may be disallowed the strips, which he had worn for each of the past six races -- all wins. Art Sherman indicated that the owners may not want him entered if the strips weren't allowed.
"I don't know why they'd keep you from wearing it," Art Sherman said Sunday. "But we'll cross that bridge when we get there."
The most worrying aspect of the situation is that another Triple Crown hopeful, I'll Have Another in 2012, was not allowed the strips for his Belmont appearance. It didn't matter in that case, though, since he scratched with a leg injury prior to the race.
I'll Have Another's trainer Doug O'Neill said he didn't dispute the ruling much after he was told the strips were banned.
"You pick your spots when you argue with the refs," O'Neill told the Daily Racing Form. "I didn't want there to be an asterisk if we won the Triple Crown. We did not put up a fight. I was not told to put in a request to the stewards or else I would have."
The Belmont Stakes, which at a mile-and-a-half is the longest of the Triple Crown races, will be run June 7.