Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, June 9, 2014 at 10:05 AM
Angry Co-Owner Of California Chrome Makes Fool Of Himself By Calling Out Belmont Winner’s Owner
And Trainer Cowards…A Classless Act For The Ages
By Kelso Sturgeon
California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn, the smiling, laughing, jovial, glad-handing toast of the town after his colt won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness States, revealed himself as a classless clueless ignoramus after his horse lost the Belmont while trying to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. Instead of congratulating Belmont winner Tonalist, his owner Robert Evans and his trainer Christophe Clement, Coburn took the stage to insult the group, calling them cowards.
It’s another case of an owner not having as much class as his horse.
This guy may own a very talented Thoroughbred that because of his humble beginnings became the “people’s horse” after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown, along with $3,237,800, but he desperately needs a course of Horse Racing 101. His comments after the Belmont revealed he knows no more about the sport than the guy making a $2 wager in the fourth at some county fair in the out-back.
Coburn exploded on national TV right after California Chrome, the 4-5 favorite to win the Belmont lost, saying it is completely unfair that horses can pick and choose which Triple Crown races in which to compete. His opinion is that only horses starting in the Derby and Preakness should be permitted to run in the Belmont.
To him, those who feel and do otherwise are cowards.
If his guy could bottle stupidity and sell it he would be one of the richest individuals in the world.
Unfortunately, there are those—likewise ignorant of the real world of horse racing—who agreed with him, as was shown by the thousands of supporting comments in the social media world.
It was the hope of many, including myself, Coburn would come to his senses and issue an apologize during his five-minute appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America Sunday morning, but he did not back up a bit from his original comments that a horse must run in the Derby and Preakness to be eligible to run in the Belmont.
By the way, it must be noted than neither Evans nor Clement, responded to the “coward” remarks.
Cowards, all of them.
Now, let’s get down to the old-fashioned reality of horse racing, as in “101”.
Looking At 2-3-Horse Preakness, 1-Horse Belmont
First off, if the Belmont was restricted to horses that had run in the Derby and Preakness, there is the possibility neither race would be run because of a lack of eligible horses. At best you would be looking at a 2-3-horse Preakness and a 1-2-horse Belmont. The wear and tear on horses that were hung on the fence during the early spring to get ready for the Kentucky Derby is real and undeniable.
One can train a 3-year-old to win the Derby, have that horse at his peak on the first Saturday in May and maybe even win the big one. But, remember, that race followed a hard several months of training and when the race is over there is no way the grueling 1 ¼ miles did not take a toll. There will be less gas left in the tank for the Preakness—maybe even enough to win it. After that race two weeks later, the tank will be even emptier, with the Belmont three weeks away.
How much can one expect a horse to do? The bottom line is simple and that is why the United States has had but 11 Triple Crown. It takes true greatness and a lot of luck to win all three races and that is why our list of Triple Crown winners carries the names such champions as Count Fleet, Whirlaway, Citation, Secretariat and Seattle Slew, just to name five.
It might interest you to know that since the English Triple Crown was first run in 1853, there have been but 15 winners, with the last coming in 1970 when the great Nijinsky pulled it off. The Irish Triple Crown began in 1921 and has produced two winners.
This is no game for boys in short pants and what Coburn suggests is quite possibly the most stupid suggestion in the history of the sport.
Race Horses Are Not Machines
Somewhere along the way Coburn obviously came to believe California Chrome was not flesh and blood but a machine that could be tuned-up, fueled-up and then blow the doors off the starting gate on his way to the winner’s circle whenever he wanted to run him.
It has never worked that way and never will.
My observation after the Kentucky Derby was that California Chrome had won rather easily and would be just fine for the Preakness two weeks hence. After the Preakness, it was my opinion he was all-out to win and could not be at his best three weeks later in the Belmont.
This did not mean he could not win the latter but that he would have to a great one to do it and the jury was still out on that factor.
California Chrome is a truly outstanding Thoroughbred and none of what I am saying is a knock on him. He will get some rest and come back another day to win again. As noted earlier he has a million times the class of this co-owner.
It is a mistake to think everything is automatic with race horses. The horse and not the trainer determines when it will make each of its starts. Clement said Tonalist had been brought along slowly—starting just five times before the Belmont—because he was slow to mature as are many horses.
It’s the horse, Mr. Coburn. THE HORSE!
The horse will tell you when it is ready to run, and when it is ready to move up or down the ladder of competition. Smart trainers know that and train while waiting for a horse to signal them it’s time. Tonalist sent that signal in the weeks leading up to the Grade II Peter Pan and Clement sent him out to win that one in his first start since he was second in a classified allowance race at Gulfstream Park three months earlier.
Tonalist had matured and had won easily. That he was the 6-5 favorite in the Peter Pan and a mere 9-1 against far more seasoned horses in the Belmont speaks volumes as to the confidence the very conservative Clement had in him. Clement never runs when he believes any of his stakes horses are over-matched.
Both Tonalist and California Chrome should win many more races and at the end of the season the sport will know which is the better horse. I might also suggest Coburn ask Clement for Tonalist’s tentative racing schedule and send out California Chrome to contest the issue in all those races—head to head, by god.
It should make no difference when or where they meet. After all, Coburn’s horse is a machine and is always ready to run.
Meantime, Coburn’s desire to have only the horses that have started in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness eligible for the Belmont should win an Eclipse Award for stupidity.
Yes, ignorance remains bliss.
Here's tonight's betting menu:
The Los Angeles Dodgers (33-31) are at the Cincinnati Reds (29-32) for tonight’s nationally televised ESPN game and I am releasing this contest as a 15-unit play, confident I have the edges to get the cash. On the mound for the Dodgers will be right-hander Dan Haren while the Reds send out lefty Tony Cingrani—and both appear ready to pitch in outstanding fashion. Win a 15-unit play on this game, plus get a second 10-unit play, for just $12.
My Chairman’s Club keeps lighting it up with winning underdogs and I am going for another one tonight. The team I am releasing has a 75% chance to win, despite being the ‘dog, and that sets the stage for another knockout win. Get all the cash with this 25-unit underdog for just $20.