Two years ago, O'Neill trained I'll Have Another to victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness with the colt wearing a nasal strip. New York officials told O'Neill that his horse couldn't wear one in the Belmont. The issue became moot when I'll Have Another was scratched the day before the race because of a leg injury.
A horse hasn't won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Since then, 12 horses have won the first two legs and failed to complete the sweep in the Belmont.
"I can't imagine them being that ignorant that they would do that again," O'Neill said. "New York has gotten a lot better with common sense. It seems like a more rational place now."
The NYRA has put in place several new officials since 2012, including Panza, the former racing secretary at defunct Betfair Hollywood Park in California who now oversees racing operations at Belmont Park, Saratoga and Aqueduct.
The rulebook for Belmont Park that establishes race conditions does not specifically mention nasal strips.
Sherman said California Chrome came out of Saturday's Preakness in good shape, emptying his feed tub after the race.
The colt playfully nibbled on his leather shank outside the barn as his two front legs were washed off Sunday. A worker removed a poultice from each lower front leg, which had been applied under bandages as a precaution to protect the colt's tendons.
The nasal strip could prove insignificant, as did California Chrome's cough that had no impact on his Preakness run. The colt has a small blister in his throat that caused him to cough last week, triggering rumors that he wouldn't run at Pimlico.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.