#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.