Everyone is pretty much aware that California Chrome lost a bid to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 by coming in fourth at the Belmont Stakes. However, one of Chrome’s owners has a little bit of sour grapes going on, or at least he did shortly after the race.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Steve Coburn didn’thesitate to point out that the winner of the race, Tonalist, did not compete in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness. Of course, he’s not wrong. In fact you have to go to third place and Medal Count to find a horse that raced in any of the previous two legs and he finished eighth at the Derby.
In all though, you have to give Coburn a little slack (really, just a little though), because he was probably a bit emotional after seeing a valiant effort from his horse come up short in the longest of the Triple Crown races. Still, it doesn’t befit the “Sport of Kings” to belittle the competition.
What it really does IMHO is emphasize just how difficult the Triple Crown is to win. According to AL.com, eleven horses have managed to complete the task and now thirteen have won the first two legs only to have legend status revoked by a loss at Belmont. Seriously though, just coming that close is a major accomplishment.
What I really loved was the media coverage of the event and the question “What does your horse have to do to win today?” Seriously, that was a question. It’s a race dude, he has to run faster than the other horses.
Sarcasm aside, Coburn should have talked about how proud he was of California Chrome for giving it such an effort instead of trying to tarnish the victory for someone else. This is a sport that most people care about maybe three times a year, and he didn’t do it any favors.
But you know what, I still like that horse, and I will remember the name for at least a few years—say it with me—California Chrome.