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Triple Crown… California Chrome Owner Steve Coburn Stands By His Remarks

Steve-Coburn

Steve Coburn, co-owner of California Chrome, told FOXSports.com on Sunday that if he ever wins another Derby he won’t press on to the next two Triple Crown races unless some rules are changed.

Fox: California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn, less than a day after his horse failed to become the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years, is standing by his controversial postrace comments and says that, if the current rules setup is not changed, he will never again race a Kentucky Derby winner in the Preakness Stakes.

“Absolutely, sure. I would win the Kentucky Derby and go home,” Coburn told FOXSports.com by phone Sunday when asked whether he would be hesitant in the future to race a Derby winner in the Preakness, given his now widely publicized stance that only horses that run in those races should be allowed in the Belmont.

Coburn’s rant, broadcast live by NBC to a national audience, was borne of the fact that Belmont winner Tonalist had not raced in either the Derby or the Preakness. “If it had been one of the owners of Ride on Curlin or General a Rod,” Coburn told FOXSports.com, “I’d have been the first to congratulate them, because they’re playing the game. They’re going all the way.”

Video:  Steve Coburn Rant After Losing Belmont | LIVE 6-7-14

As of now, Coburn does not have any plans to fight the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, horse racing’s official body, the Maryland Jockey Club, or the New York Racing Association to change the rule setup, which allows any horse that qualifies for one Triple Crown race to compete in any of them. For now, he’s planning on that fight, in whatever form it may take, coming from the supporters who have texted and called him since he made his comments.

“I’ve gotten hundreds of text messages in my favor,” he said. Coburn also conceding that not everyone supported his stance, saying: “A bunch of them called me an a**hole.”

However, Coburn said he does not ever expect to actually see the rules changed: “Probably not. Probably not.”

Coburn also apologized for comments he made Sunday to Good Morning America that any unfairness in the current setup was akin to “me, at 6-2 … playing basketball with a kid in a wheelchair.”

“I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings about children in wheelchairs because that’s not who I am. ”

California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn, apologizing to comments he made Sunday on "Good Morning America"

“I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings about children in wheelchairs,” he told FOXSports.com, “because that’s not who I am.”

Upon further reflection, Coburn said a more appropriate comparison would be like “Victor Espinoza, our jockey, playing basketball against Wilt Chamberlain. You know who’s going to get more dunks.”

Going into the Kentucky Derby, Coburn admitted that he and his team, which hail from Northern California, didn’t have much of a roadmap beyond the Kentucky Derby, even though his horse was the morning-line favorite.

“We had a plan mapped out for the Kentucky Derby, and that was as far as the plan went,” Coburn said. “So we had to sit down and say, ‘Well, we’re here in Kentucky, Maryland (home of The Preakness) is just right up the road. Let’s see what we have.’

“If California Chrome had not won the Kentucky Derby, we would have gone home.”

Steve Coburn’s Proposal Aside, Belmont Field Is Traditionally Small

NY Times: California Chrome headed back to California after Saturday’s Belmont Stakes, in which he failed to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, but the debate about the format of the three-race series continued.

After the race, the colt’s co-owner told NBC that the system was unfair.

“I’ll never see, and I’m 61 years old, another Triple Crown winner in my lifetime because of the way they do this,” the co-owner Steve Coburn said. “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.”

He continued: “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.”

The president of the Maryland Jockey Club, Tom Chuckas, has proposed holding the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday of May, the Preakness on the first Saturday in June, and the Belmont on the first Saturday in July.

 

An estimated crowd of 100,000 attended Belmont Park on Saturday to watch California Chrome run for the Triple Crown.  Credit Matt Slocum/Associated Press

If Coburn’s proposal had been in force, the 2014 Belmont would have been a small field because only four Derby entrants — Ride On Curlin, Medal Count, Commanding Curve and General A Rod — came back against Chrome. Yet, in looking back at the various paths of the previous 11 Triple Crown winners, a small Belmont field is more the rule than the exception, although it has been by choice and not by rule.

The 11 have competed in Belmont fields ranging in size from three (Sir Barton in 1919 and Count Fleet in 1943) to eight (Citation in 1948 and Seattle Slew in 1977). Slew and Secretariat (1973) encountered the largest number of challengers from the Derby — three. War Admiral (1937) faced two Derby rivals; Whirlaway (1941), Assault (1946) and Citation (1948) one; and Sir Barton, Count Fleet, Gallant Fox (1930) and Omaha (1935) none.

 

In becoming the first and only undefeated Triple Crown champion, Seattle Slew is also the first and only to have two foes shadow him in all three races. Slew’s most durable rival was Run Dusty Run, who was second in the Derby, third in the Preakness and second in the Belmont. Run Dusty Run and Sir Sir, 12th in the Derby, took on Seattle Slew in the Preakness. Run Dusty Run and Sir Sir were joined by a third Derby horse in the Belmont, where Slew was a four-length winner. (Slew’s winning streak ended at nine in his next race after the Belmont. He ran fourth in the Swaps Stakes on July 3 at Hollywood Park, losing by 16 lengths to J. O. Tobin, the fourth-place finisher in the Preakness.)

Even though three Derby colts came back to race against Secretariat in the Belmont, only one, Sham, had competed in the Preakness. The other two, Twice a Prince and My Gallant, had passed in order to rest up for the Belmont. In the Belmont, Twice a Prince finished second, My Gallant third and Sham was last in the field of five. Secretariat’s 31-length victory was not only the largest ever for the Belmont, but his time of 2:24 set a new stakes record for the one-and-a-half mile race, a mark that still stands today.

Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Continue reading the main story Slide Show

The 1978 Belmont drew only five starters but featured the greatest Triple Crown rivalry ever between Harbor View Farm’s Affirmed and Calumet Farm’s Alydar. Affirmed was best in the 11-horse Derby field by one-and-a-half lengths over Alydar, with Believe It running third. The seven-horse Preakness was a replay of the Derby, with the three crossing the finish line in the same order, only this time, Alydar was just a neck behind. Believe It opted out of the Belmont, but not Alydar, who battled Affirmed pound for pound and stride for stride in one of the most thrilling stretch drives ever, only to fail by a head at the finish.

War Admiral and Assault both also had one rival in for the long haul. War Admiral’s nemesis was Pompoon, second in the Derby by one-and-three-quarters lengths, second in the Preakness by a head, then sixth in the Belmont. Assault’s shadow was Lord Boswell: fourth in the Derby, second by a neck in the Preakness and fifth in the Belmont.

In all, 34 horses have been eligible to win the Triple Crown coming into the Belmont. Eleven succeeded, but 23 fell short, including three that did not start and one that did not finish. Of the 19 that did, eight lost to newcomers who did not run in either the Derby or Preakness; seven to horses that competed in both races; three to challengers who ran in the Derby but skipped the Preakness; and one to a foe that ran in the Preakness but not the Derby.

Limiting the Belmont field to only those who had competed in both preceding races would likely result in more Triple Crown winners, but it would come with a cost, including diminished stature for the series and a need for an asterisk to explain how the newest Triple Crown champions took a lesser road to victory than their predecessors.

If Chrome had run first Saturday under the current format, it would have shown that he was the best of the best from the 3-year-old class, having conquered foes old and new, fresh and refreshed.

Steve Coburn’s timing might have been bad, but he probably thought he’s never have that large of an audience to pose his objections. Many agree with what Coburn said, at least in theory, and it may be worth considering!!

Related: 

There Will Never Be Another Secretariat: Thank you, Miss Penny 

Horse Nasal Strips… California Chrome gets OK for use in Belmont Leg of Triple Crown 

Palace Malice Wins Third Leg of Triple Crown  (2013)

Run for the Roses (2013)

Two Horses Die at Grand Nationals… Aintree England (2013)

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June 9, 2014 - Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Unusual Stories

2 Comments »

  1. […] Triple Crown… California Chrome Owner Steve Coburn Stands By His Remarks  […]

    Pingback by The Wrap at Ask Marion 6.01.14 Thru 6.08.14 | askmarion | June 9, 2014 | Reply

  2. […] Triple Crown… California Chrome Owner Steve Coburn Stands By His Remarks  –  There Will Never Be Another Secretariat: Thank you, Miss Penny […]

    Pingback by The Wrap at Ask Marion 6.08.14 Thru 6.15.14 | askmarion | June 16, 2014 | Reply


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