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In Brief: Officials allow nasal strips for Belmont Stakes

Tue., May 20, 2014

Horce Racing: They are the equine equivalent of those flexible strips that people wear on their noses to prevent snoring.

With racehorses, the goal is to prevent bleeding in the lungs, ultimately allowing the animals to run faster. But do nasal strips work?

Racing officials agreed Monday to allow the strips on horses competing in the Belmont Stakes on June 7 – including California Chrome, who wore the strips while winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

Yet the announcement was accompanied by a statement from a state veterinarian that the strips “do not enhance equine performance.”

Others say they do help.

“The short answer is yes, a little bit,” said Rose Nolen-Walston, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Either way, the consensus seems to be that the strips are not harmful for animals. The strips help prevent a condition called exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, which refers to the bursting of capillaries in the lungs, Nolen-Walston said.

This bleeding occurs from the combination of elevated blood pressure during a race and the negative pressure that the lungs create when sucking in air, she said.

In other words, there is higher blood pressure pushing out from inside the vessels, along with the negative pressure pulling on the vessels from outside.

The strips work by holding the animal’s nostrils open, so that the horse’s lungs do not have to generate as much negative pressure to suck in air.

With the strips, in other words, the lungs do not have to work as hard, and the bleeding can be reduced by up to 50 percent, said Howard Erickson, an emeritus professor at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

France reaches world hockey quarterfinals

Hockey: France clinched a spot in the quarterfinals of the ice hockey world championship in Minsk, Belarus, with a 6-2 victory over Denmark, while Finland kept alive its hopes of advancing by beating Kazakhstan 4-3.

France, which stunned Canada in its first game of the tournament, reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 1995.

The result means the Czech Republic also advanced to the quarterfinals from Group A together with defending champion Sweden and Canada. The first four teams advance from both groups.

Belarus has 12 points in Group B, with Finland one point behind. Latvia has nine but can still advance if it beats Switzerland today. The United States already qualified for the playoffs from the group along with Russia.

Ovechkin to miss at least one game: Alex Ovechkin will miss at least one game at the ice hockey world championship after sustaining a right leg injury in a collision during Russia’s game against Germany on Sunday.

NBA initiates charge against Sterling

NBA: The NBA has initiated a charge against Donald Sterling, setting up a June 3 hearing after which owners could vote to terminate his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The charge asserts that Sterling has damaged the NBA and its teams, disparaged African-Americans and that his actions “significantly undermine the NBA’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.”

Owners to decide 2018 Super Bowl site

Football: NFL owners will vote today on the site of the 2018 Super Bowl, choosing between New Orleans, Indianapolis and Minneapolis.

Arizona, the San Francisco Bay Area and Houston are the sites of the next three.

Owners also will discuss potentially expanding the playoffs by two teams, one in each conference.

Notre Dame selling rolls of football turf: Notre Dame is selling rolls of grass from its football stadium to the public as it prepares to install an artificial surface before the next season.

The school announced it is selling 2-x-5-foot sections for $149.95, which includes two-day shipping and a certificate of authenticity.

Hight wins at NHRA Southern Nationals

Auto Racing: Robert Hight raced to his third Funny Car victory in a row and fourth this season at the rain-delayed NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Georgia.

Hight, the 2009 Funny Car world champion, defeated John Force Racing teammate Courtney Force in a thrilling final at Atlanta Dragway with a time of 4.049 seconds at 315.05 mph in his Ford Mustang.

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