New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) – Steve Coburn, co-owner of California Chrome, apologized Monday for comments he made following his horse’s loss in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.
California Chrome was trying to become the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but finished in a dead heat for fourth at the Belmont. Tonalist, a newcomer to the Triple Crown series, went on to capture the Belmont and Coburn was unhappy that his colt was beaten by a fresh horse.
Coburn said Saturday it was unfair to allow horses that did not run in any of the first two Triple Crown races to enter the Belmont, giving the fresher newcomers an advantage versus those that have already run through the grind of trying to complete the three-race series over a five-week stretch.
On Saturday, moments after the race in a televised interview on NBC, Coburn said Tonalist took “the coward’s way out” by entering the Belmont without having to run the Kentucky Derby or Preakness.
The bitter remarks left many in the racing industry upset and Coburn offered an apology during an appearance on “Good Morning America” on Monday.
“I need to apologize to the world and America,” said Coburn on the ABC morning program. “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.”
In addition, Coburn apologized to the connections of Tonalist.
“I need to apologize to the winners,” Coburn added. “They ran a beautiful race. Their horse won the race … I did not mean to take anything away from them.”
California Chrome became the 12th horse since Affirmed in 1978 to come up short in the Belmont Stakes after winning both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.