#3 Matterhorn stepped on California Chrome out of the gate.
If you don’t think this hurt think again. This poor horse was running on three legs instead of four.
But all of us in the horse racing business know that anything can happen in a race. On this occasion though it is more than sad because this injury alone could have cost California Chrome history.
Imagine a chunk getting taken out your heel down to the bone. Could you run a mile and a half? or a few yards for that matter. You know these horses are made out of flesh and blood like us.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the pain this horse withstood throughout the race was horrendous. I now pray it doesn’t turn out to be a quarter crack which can get quite serious.
And say what you will about owner Steve Coburn, NBC’s antics were infuriating.
You don’t rush in just seconds after the conclusion of a race to get a comment of any owner who has just lost a race much less one that was one leg away from winning the triple crown, especially a new owner that just entered racing.
This was a dream story, a couple of non millionaires who took a shot. Yes they very well knew how the triple crown worked before hand nevertheless Coburn at the heat of that particular moment spoke strictly out of pure heartbreaking emotion and I can’t begrudge him for it.
Yes he had a point that fresh horses who hadn’t run in the first two legs didn’t to have to endure the same, but again this has always been the triple crown history that all of the past winners have had to go through and face the same.
Usually the network having these three races would focus on the winning connections not immediately go to the loser, even if they had won the first two legs. To me this was like almost antagonizing Chrome’s owner.
Equally disturbing was the furthering of the matter by Bob Costas who I thought had a lot more class, by asking the winning owner right after the trophy presentation reciting Coburn’s words of it being the cowards way out and what he thought of that?
What in the world was he expecting as a response and what purpose did it serve on the live broadcast.
NBC should be ashamed of themselves. To me totally unprofessional and classless stooping to this level.
The Belmont has always been the ultimate test, a grueling mile and a half of the horse and strategy of the jockey. To go right to the lead in this distance you had better have some gas left in the tank and have a couple of extra kicks.
Victor Espinoza once out of the gate after what occurred made the decision to rate him and with no visible hole opening up it forced him to go 4 wide. In reality after seeing the picture of Chrome’s hoof, I wonder what he would have done on all four.
In my mind he is the champion that is. Whether it was this injury or simply the added distance, California Chrome placing 4th showed he has the heart.
You cannot take the KY Derby away from him nor the Preakness and we will always wonder if this injury hadn’t happened could he have indeed won the Belmont and made history. Sadly we will never know but again that is horse racing.
Now there is only one word on my mind. The Travers.
Not that he has anything more to prove to anyone, but if Chrome has healed completely with no complications what so ever, I’d like to see him & Tonalist run this race. If for anything to ease Steve Coburn’s mind.
Again only if Chrome is 1,000% because no race is worth anything happening to this worthy noble champion.
I applaud California Chrome!
To Be Continued….
Update: June 9, 2014
Steve Coburn, the co-owner of California Chrome today reined in his disappointment over losing the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown and said he was “very ashamed” and “was wrong” for his post-race rant.
“I need to apologize to the world and America,” Coburn said today on “Good Morning America.“ “I wanted it so much for this horse to win the Triple Crown for the people of America and I was very emotional, very emotional.”
“I sincerely apologize,” he said.
Also apologized to the 2014 Belmont Stakes champion, Tonalist, and his owners for saying they took “the coward’s way out” Saturday by not running both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness races, as California Chrome had done leading up to Belmont. Chrome finished a disappointing fourth in the Belmont, losing his bid for the Triple Crown.
“I need to apologize to the winners,” Coburn said. “They ran a beautiful race…I did not mean to take anything away from them.”
“He won the race fair and square,” he said of Tonalist.
The rags to riches story of Coburn and his partner, Perry Martin, in becoming Triple Crown contenders – they bred California Chrome for just $10,000 – captured America’s heart as the horse won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. The horse was the heavy favorite going into Saturday’s race and would have become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978.
Coburn’s wife, Carolyn, who could be seen slightly off-camera Saturday trying to quiet her husband as he said their horse “had a target on his back,” says she hopes her husband’s words do not mar the inspirational story of California Chrome.
“This last year, we’ve given so much joy, this horse and our journey and our story has given so much joy to so many people and I hope that 30 seconds isn’t going to destroy all of that,” Carolyn Coburn said today on “GMA.”
“I’m proud of you for coming up here and doing this and it was something that we needed to have done,” she said to her husband. “I hope people can see him the way he is because that isn’t the way he normally is. He’s a very compassionate man.”
The Coburns also confirmed that their horse was injured shortly after leaving the gate in Saturday’s race.
“He made contact with another horse and he got stepped on really bad on his right front foot and tore some of the foot away,” Coburn said. “It’s going to take probably 10 days to two weeks to heal him up.”
As Coburn’s horse returns to racing, Coburn as an owner vows he will return a changed man.
“It’s a learning process for us and I’m going to do better,” he said. “I promise you I’ll do better.”
When I put the …to be continued at the end of what I wrote it was because I knew after time of the disappointment with the love he has for this horse, he would come to grips.
And the reason why I thought NBC took such a cheap shot at a man who they knew was new to the racing game. You know people two year-old horses have to have their knees closed up then have to be broke before any training can start. In essence what he ended up stating: “It’s a learning process for us and I’m going to do better,” he said. “I promise you I’ll do better.”
And that’s just the way it is. I stated you don’t go right after any owner after any race in-which they’ve just lost let alone one this important, when the emotions are at their highest.
Kenny Rice & Bob Costas are seasoned reporters who knew better. They took advantage of a very vulnerable man at a very crucial moment. They usually go to the winning connections of a race, not run full speed ahead at the loser.
I never lost any respect for Steve Coburn, he spoke in the heat of the moment that was forced upon him when he should have gotten some alone time.
Hat’s off to Steve Coburn. You were alright in my book because I understood this.
When will NBC apologize?