California Chrome Injured Out Of The Gate At Belmont And There Went History.

#3 Matterhorn stepped on California Chrome out of the gate.

California Chrome Belmont Start

California Chrome Belmont Injury

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!


We Still Love You California Chrome


California Chrome_Belmont 2014


To Be Continued….

Update: June 9, 2014

Co-Owner of California Chrome Steve Coburn Apologizes. ‘Ashamed’ of Angry Rant After Belmont Loss.

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?



Filed under News, Sports

36 responses to “California Chrome Injured Out Of The Gate At Belmont And There Went History.

  1. Excellent write-up. Excellent points nobody has made thus far. I only wonder if the injury wasn’t planned.

    • I always feel the same way, wondering if it was planned to prevent a triple win — but I also know that the probability of that particular hoof landing at that particular angle creating that particular injury is infinitesimal. I mean, creating leg chaos out of the gate could have cost either one of those horses, you know?

      • I was soooo pulling for California Chrome. I feel terrible for the horse, the owners, jockey and trainers. I truly hope that it was not done on purpose. May God wrap His Healing and comforting arms around California Chrome!! Big HUGS to everyone pulling for him. Next year!

    • I totallly agree harris.. and love the article… best yet ~~

  2. Pingback: Susan D. Harris | California Chrome basically ran a race on 3 legs

  3. Thanks Susan.

    No, they break bad and these things happen a lot. I can’t imagine Todd Pletcher the trainer of Matterhorn telling Jockey Joe Bravo or Joe doing this purposely. I watched the head on, the horses pretty much come out of the gate their way, then the Jockey can take control. In reality it looked like Chrome may have came over a bit on Matterhorn, It’s just too bad it had to happen in this race. A Jockey can bump a horse during the race purposely (then face the stewards) but sure as hell can’t make it step on one out of the gate.

    No rider wants to be unseated possibly getting themselves or the horse dead and none want to be brought up in front of the stewards and get fines, days or possibly loose their livelihood. That’s why there are stewards and the replays don’t miss much.

    • Absolutely agree. In photo, what I saw was Joe Bravo pulling hard on his right rein to get Matterhorn to move right Coming out of the gate, there’s only so much a jockey can do to control a 1500 lb. horse (and through the race, for that matter!)

      I’ve said it many times, but the injury reminded me of Charismatic in 1999, in his bid to win The Triple Crown. He fractured his left front leg (as I recall) and still finished third in The Belmont Stakes. Chari’s life was saved by his jockey, the late Chris Antley, who jumped down and held the horse’s leg up, so that Chari wouldn’t further inujre it, and at least have his life saved. His life WAS saved; he’s now standing at stud in Japan.

      Incidentally, both our injured heroes were gorgeous chestnuts with lovely blazes. (I just mention that ’cause that’s my type!)

  4. Excellent commentary. Insight into Chrome’s injury, and most excellent commentary at classless NBC.

  5. I wondered this myself
    “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.”

  6. SO MUCH respect for this beautiful horse and his human companions….

  7. not a Bob Costas fan lately and definitely tho it was tacky for NBC to make the post race about Chrome. but then the media made the 2014 NFL draft about Johnny Manziel with a little bit of Michael Sams thrown in. the media writes their story before the event.

  8. This horse has made many, many people proud no matter what happened in Saturdays race. He is a true champion. Best of luck to all associated with this horse. He will Shine for a very long time to come. Congrats to all and hope his recovery goes well.

  9. Erica Buckley

    The NBC dust up reminds me of the Olympics when NBC reporter Christin Cooper made skier Bode Miller break down, pressing him with questions about his dead brother.

  10. Thanks to all for the kind comments, I only wish I could get paid for writing, need the money. Retired and now broke down T.B. groom but I loved every second I worked with these magnificent horses.

  11. Well, being a hard man I was hoping that Chrome would be beaten. I love my Secretariat and didn’t think that Chrome belonged in the same category with Secretariat. Turns out the winning horse was nearly 6 seconds off Secretariat’s record 2:24 and Chrome ran another second behind him.

  12. Yikes Ralph Morgan…….I wonder what part of your anatomy you were thinking with when you wrote you piece…….sure wasn’t the brain. I wouldn’t call you a “hard man”……….there are other adjective/noun combinations I might choose.

  13. Chrome is an awesome horse! I wish him the very best and I hope he has an easy recovery. I truly believe he would have won the Belmont if this injury had not occurred. He has heart and is not a quitter. I hope we see him again in a future race. I believe he has great owners and trainers. Everyone from the groom to the jockey have cared so well for this horse. God Bless you Chrome and DAP group!

  14. SORRY!! As sad as it was we want to Thank You for letting us share the sport and these beautiful animals. Our daughter in Potter Co. PA. supervises 4-H students. Letting the kids learn, love and show these animals. Teaching, going to Fairs, Work, Love and Respect Competition is all being experienced.

    You shared a wonderful horse and make us so proud even in a sad situation.

    Their Site On Facebook is Stone Ridge..You may give them some pointers. God Bless GHR XOXOXOXOXO

  15. Chrome is every bit the champion we thought he was and that injury proves it. You can certainly see that the other horse came onto Chrome out of the gate,but it appears that his jockey was trying to straighten him out. I also say “shame on NBC “. Nothing about their coverage surprises me anymore. I applaud everyone associated with California Chrome!.

  16. I highly doubt CC felt the injury during the race as his adrenaline was in overdrive. If you watch the footage after the race of his cool down walk and walk into the paddocks he does not appear off in the front. He probably didnt feel it until he cooled down (please do not take this comment as supporting abuse in the racing industry it is merely an educated equestrian point of view). As far as Bob Costas’s question to the winner…. Why shouldn’t he have asked about the “cowards” way out comment? He was simply following up on another owners comment, CC’s owner had his say about the win/loss why shouldn’t the winner/owner have the same? Bob Costas was simply asking his response toi the statement.

    • When you’ve worked with horses for years then tell me what you know.

      Let me take a hatchet and chop a piece of your heel down to the bone, then you tell me because you were pumped with adrenaline you couldn’t feel it. I shake my head at the comment but one thing I refuse to do is argue with somebody who doesn’t comprehend that animals “Feel” the same things as humans.

      Pain, Fear, .Depression, Joy, Happiness and Love.

      As far as the rest of the comment, obviously you also didn’t comprehend any of the article I wrote. But I’ll repeat it again. Nobody goes straight to any owner just seconds at the conclusion of ANY race when the emotions are at their highest, let alone a race they just lost. I knew owners and trainers that would have grabbed that microphone and physically jammed it down the reporters throat.

      Yes us trackers are a lively bunch and we do everything with passion.

      Costas is a seasoned reporter and he took a very cheap shot at the words of a very new to the game owner not even broke in yet.

      Stick with the jewelry Dana. They aren’t living to feel anything.

      • You go !!!!! well said…. And I agree Chrome felt the pain but the adreneline kept him running despite it. However it was a handicap combined with a tired horse=loss… one without the other and he would have won IMO..

  17. Wow, the picture with the heart is a total tearjerker!! Totally great post! Thank you, Longshot!

  18. Wonderfully written, a passionate homage to the horses and much compassion for Chrome’s owners. Bravo sir, Bravo.

  19. Very good write up and spot on IMHO. As I do own horses and am new to horse race, but not horses, as I have been around them since I was born. Yes they do have feelings, and emotions and you can clearly see them if you pay attention. Horses have likes and dislike, if they do not like the people around them they will not give their all for those people.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s