California Chrome owner Steve Coburn still ranting a day later

By Evan Hilbert | CBSSports.com

tonalist california chrome belmont triple crown steve coburn
Steve Coburn hasn't cooled off any the morning after California Chrome lost the Belmont. (Getty Images)

We're now an evening removed from California Chrome's uninspiring run at the first Triple Crown in 36 years, which has given co-owner Steve Coburn several hours to cool off after watching his horse get dusted by Tonalist.

Steve Coburn has not cooled off.

Instead, he has continued railing against the system, saying that it's unfair that horses that fail to enter the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes be allowed to run in the Belmont.

"You might compare this to a triathlon," Coburn said Sunday morning on Good Morning America, according to USA Today.

"You know you've got to swim and you've got to bicycle and you've got to run. ... You don't make it to run if you're not going to do the other two.

"It says Triple Crown. You nominate your horse for the Triple Crown. That means three," said Coburn. "Even ... the Triple Crown trophy has three points on it. ... Those 20 horses that start in the Kentucky Derby should be the only 20 allowed to run in the Preakness and the Belmont for the Triple Crown."

Obviously Coburn is referring to Tonalist, who ran in the Belmont but not the Derby and Preakness. There were extenuating circumstances, however. First off, Tonalist was on the Derby trail before a lung infection kept him from the Grade I Wood Memorial, a Derby tune-up. Tonalist then ran and won the Grade II Peter Pan Stakes May 10, which made an attempt at the Preakness just a week later impossible.

Coburn later used an analogy comparing Tonalist's victory to an able-bodied adult playing basketball against children in wheelchairs. Or something.

"They hold out two [races] and then come back and run one," said Coburn according to the paper. "That would be like me at 6-2 ... playing basketball with a kid in a wheelchair. They haven't done anything with their horses in the Triple Crown ... You figure it out. You ask yourself, 'Would it be fair if I played basketball with a child in a wheelchair?' "

Aside from being generally offensive, the metaphor doesn't make much sense. In short, it seems Coburn, for some reason, felt entitled to the Triple Crown, something trainer Art Sherman chalked up to inexperience.

"The horses aren't cowards and the people aren't cowards. ... I think it was a little out [of context] myself," Sherman said Sunday in response to Coburn's post-race comments. "But, hey, he was at the heat of the moment. And don't forget, he's a fairly new owner. Sometimes the emotions get in front of you. ... He hasn't been in the game long and hasn't had any bad luck."

So it goes. In the end, Coburn saw Chrome as a super horse, and whether that was due to inexperience or his own bias, he was wrong. Tonalist competing in the Derby and Preakness wouldn't have changed that.

 
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