Two days after New York State authorized changes to their rules allowing Thoroughbreds to wear nasal breathing strips during races, a horse named See the Music died wearing one.
California Chrome made the nasal breathing strips famous after winning both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes while wearing one. Up until last week, the New York State was the only State that did not allow Thoroughbred horses to wear nasal strips. Harness horses were still allowed to race with one.
When California Chrome’s connections said the State’s ban on the strips might cause him not to try to win the Triple Crown at the June 7 Belmont Stakes, a joint decision was made among the New York Racing Association, the New York State Gaming Commission and the Jockey Club permitting Thoroughbreds to wear breathing strips during a race.
Scott E. Palmer, Medical Director for the Gaming Commission when the ban on strips was removed last week stated: “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”.
See the Music was a three-year-old filly running in her third race Wednesday (May 21, 2014) since breaking her maiden on March 28, and was a 12/1 favorite in the seventh race at Belmont Park.
Jockey Larry Meijas was on board as the filly showed early speed before fading. Meijas eased up on See the Music and the horse collapsed at the 3/16 marker and died on the track of what New York State Gaming listed as an “apparent heart attack”. See the Music was trained by John Servis.
Gaming Commission spokesperson Lee Park released this statement: “We are awaiting necropsy results. There is no reason to believe that wearing a nasal strip would contribute to a sudden death of a horse.”
The horse’s body is at Cornell University.
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— See also On Nasal Strips and Tongue Ties in Racehorses at PerformanceGenetics.com »