California Chrome lost his Triple Crown bid to Tonalist in the 2014 Belmont Stakes on Saturday, finishing in a tie for fourth place with Wicked Strong. He was the 13th horse to lose the Belmont after winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978.
But it’s another statistic that made California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn angry.
Tonalist is the 15th horse to win the Belmont Stakes without racing in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness since the last Triple Crown, something Coburn doesn’t think should be allowed.
“I look at it this way: If you can’t make enough points to get into the Kentucky Derby, you can’t run in the other two races…It’s all or nothing,” Coburn told NBC after the race.
“This is a coward’s way out, in my opinion. This is a coward’s way out.”
While many saw Coburn’s comments as sour grapes, it’s hard to say they don’t have at least some validity. Tonalist won the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park — the same track as the Stakes — on May 10 and hadn’t raced since. California Chrome, obviously, raced in the Derby on May 3 and the Preakness on May 17.
Check out the rest of Coburn’s comments in the video below.