Elmont, NY, United States (4E Sports) – California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn expressed his anger on the format that had their horse finishing behind the fresher Tonalist at the last leg of the Triple Crown in Belmont Stakes.
The first two legs of the Triple Crown, namely, the Kentucky Derby in May 3 and the Preakness in May 17, were won by California Chrome.
Tonalist had not participated in either of the first two legs.
Only two other horses in the 11-horse Belmont field also ran in all three. Ride On Curlin was last and General a Rod was seventh.
Coburn said after the race the others took the “coward’s way out” by waiting in the wings to beat California Chrome in the Belmont.
“It says Triple Crown. You nominate your horse for the Triple Crown. That means three,” said Coburn. ” Those 20 horses that start in the Kentucky Derby should be the only 20 allowed to run in the Preakness and the Belmont for the Triple Crown.”
California Chrome joins the list of a dozen other horses that have won the first two legs but failed to get the Triple Crown by losing in Belmont Park.
The last three horses to win the Triple Crown also ran the last leg against many horses who skipped the earleir legs.
These were Affirmed in 1978, Seattle Slew in 1977 and Secretariat in 1973.
Sherman, the 77-year-old trainer of California Chrome, didn’t agree on the “coward’s way out” remarks by Coburn.
“The horses aren’t cowards and the people aren’t cowards. … I think it was a little out (of context) myself. But, hey, he was at the heat of the moment. And don’t forget, he’s a fairly new owner. “
But Sherman said he’d prefer the Three Triple Crown races be spread out over more than five weeks. “Your horse needs time to recoup,” he said.