California Chrome Owner: Tonalist Took 'Coward's Way Out'
Horses shouldn't be allowed to crash Belmont with fresh legs, says Steve Coburn
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2014 6:13 AM CDT
Updated Jun 8, 2014 8:38 AM CDT
Tonalist with Joel Rosario aboard crosses the finish line ahead of Commissioner, with Javier Castellano up, to win the Belmont Stakes, Saturday, June 7, 2014, in Elmont, NY.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

(Newser) – Let us just say that California Chrome's co-owner isn't taking his pony's lost Triple Crown bid lightly or gracefully. Immediately after his colt placed fourth in yesterday's Belmont Stakes, Steve Coburn blasted Tonalist as having taken "the coward's way out" to victory—that is, by virtue of not having run the Kentucky Derby or Preakness Stakes, the colt was running the grueling third leg in horse racing's Triple Crown on fresh legs. As long as horses are allowed to crash the party at the 11th hour, Coburn says, "I'll never see another Triple Crown winner." He added that California Chrome, on his third race in five weeks, just "didn't have it in him."

As USA Today notes, Coburn wasn't any calmer this morning, saying, "You might compare this to a triathlon. 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." The Triple Crown, currently in the midst of a 36-year dry spell, has now seen 13 horses win the Derby and the Preakness only to fall in the Belmont, reports the LA Times. The AP, meanwhile, runs down five reasons why California Chrome might have come up short—including a small gash on his hoof. It also notes that none of the four horses who beat or tied California Chrome had run the Preakness.

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Jun 9, 2014 10:20 AM CDT
Sorry folks, but I disagree with changing the rules. Why? Well, if California Chrome wants to be up there with the greats like Sir Barton, Citation, Secretariat & Seattle Slew he has to win in the same manner as they did. Can't change the rules now, because they went through the same thing but won because they were great horses. All of these were not just good horses, but GREAT horses. So many cry babies out there; let's go back to 1973 when Secrtariat won the KY Derby & did it under 2 minutes. At that time he was the only horse to have ever ran the Derby in under 2 minutes, or so it was reported. But,there was another horse that accomplished that incredible feat as well, but got no recognition. Who was the other horse? Sham; he finished 2nd behind Secretariat. Just imagine the whining we would hear about that if it happened today. At the end of the day California Chrome is a good horse, but not a GREAT horse.
Jun 9, 2014 3:27 AM CDT
Chrome's owners are absolutely correct. It's insane to allow cadres of freshly trained troops into a war against wounded, battle weary veterans.
Jun 8, 2014 9:35 PM CDT
Wonder what he would consider a decent rest period for a horse between races. Six months, a year? Old cavalry mounts had to be ready day after day.