Following California Chrome’s fourth place finish in the Belmont Stakes, co-owner Steve Coburn blasted his fellow owners and the sport of horse racing.
During a post-race interview with NBC, Coburn agreed that California Chrome had a target on his back and accused owners of purposely denying his horse rather than trying for a successful run at Belmont.
He was specifically angered by the number of fresh horses in the field. The winner Tonalist entered the Belmont after only four career starts, and hadn’t participated in the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness.
“You know what he’s been in three, this is his third really big race,” Coburn said. “These other horses they always send’em out. They send’em out and try to upset the up card.
“I’m 61 years old and I’ll never see a Triple Crown-winner because of the way they do this. It’s not fair to these horses that have been in the game since Day One. 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,” he said.
“It’s all or nothing. It’s all or nothing. Because this is not fair to these horses that have been running their guts out for these people and for the people that believe in them.
“This is the coward’s way out. Those 20 horses that start in Kentucky are the only ones eligible to run in all three races. This is the coward’s way out.”
Afterwards Coburn’s wife, Carolyn, attempted to stop her husband from making any further comments.
Coburn’s outrage is highly uncommon in the world of horse racing, and he and the Martins have felt slighted by the racing community before. When California Chrome was entered in the Derby, the name on his saddle pad was misspelled as “Califorina,” which the Coburns and Denise and Perry Martin took to heart.
So far the reaction on Twitter has either agreed with Coburn or called him a sore loser.
Steve Coburn saying Tonalist "took the coward's way out" by skipping Derby and Preakness. Sounds like sour grapes, but he is right.
â€” Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) June 7, 2014
"I don't have a reaction to that." Yea, there's no need to have a reaction to that. Agree or disagree with the rules, it is what it is...
â€” Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) June 7, 2014
I know nothing about horse racing, but I tend to agree with Steve Coburn, & I absolutely love his passion. I pray he doesn't apologize.
â€” Little Joe Pittman (@LittleJoeRadio) June 7, 2014
I agree with Steve Coburn, "cowards way".... Still LOVE me some California Chrome..
â€” Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) June 7, 2014
Coburn’s full interview after the race is below.