The moaning and whining by the owner of California Chrome, Steve Coburn, was downright embarrassing after his horse failed to win the Belmont Stakes. Coburn complained on National TV : “I’ll never see, and I’m 61 years old, another Triple Crown winner in my lifetime because of the way they do this, It’s not fair to these horses that have been in the game since day one. If you don’t make enough points to get into the Kentucky Derby, you can’t run in the other two races.”. And he didn’t stop there: “It’s all or nothing because this is not fair to these horses that have been running their guts out for these people and for the people who believe in them. This is a coward’s way out, in my opinion.”
So we change a format that has been in place for decades because of one unhappy guy? I don’t recall the owners of Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Big Brown, Funny Cide, or Smarty Jones ever griping about “fresh horses” ruining their bid for history. Coburn sullied what was supposed to be a great day for racing. He then – cowardly – hid from writers the morning after.
The Triple Crown does not need ANY tinkering , It’s reserved for the “Greats”, not the good ponies. Besides there is no real commissioner in horse racing to force change . Bad timing for Coburn who may have burned too many bridges to ever be heard from again. His “Sour Grapes ” moment came after a loss, why not say it prior to the race ?
And according to CBS , Secretariat and Affirmed both captured the Triple Crown by defeating new horses at Belmont. So the task is not unprecedented, just Coburn’s silly rant.
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