California Chrome’s co-owner Steve Coburn is not yet done fuming about Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist and the rules of horse racing.
Coburn was irate after Tonalist, who didn’t race in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness, came away with the victory and ended California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid. Second-place finisher Commissioner also skipped the previous races, leading Coburn to go on a rant about how unfair it is for horses to compete in the Belmont Stakes without running in the other Triple Crown races.
Coburn called the victory “the coward’s way out,” and on Sunday, he continued to vent.
“You might compare this to a triathlon,’ Coburn said in a trackside interview on “Good Morning America” at Belmont Park. “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.”
California Chrome, who finished fourth, was running in his third Triple Crown race in five weeks while Tonalist’s previous race came on May 10. Only three horses in the 11-horse field, including California Chrome, ran in all three, but that didn’t stop Coburn from making a questionable analogy about the fairness of it all.
“These people nominate their horses for the Triple Crown and then they hold out two (races) and then come back and run one,” Coburn told ESPN. “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. There were three horses in this race that ran in the first two — California Chrome, Ride on Curlin and General a Rod — none of the other horses did. You figure it out. You ask yourself, ‘Would it be fair if I played basketball with a child in a wheel chair?”