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(CBS SF) California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn said he’s ashamed of his post-race rant that made headlines after his horse lost the bid for the Triple Crown at Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.
On Monday morning, Coburn went on ABC’s Good Morning America to apologize for criticizing Belmont winner Tonalist and Triple Crown rules that allow horses to compete in the final race without running other legs. Tonalist didn’t run in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness and allegedly had more rest than California Chrome, who was trying to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.
Out of the 11 horses at the starting gate, only 3, including California Chrome, ran every race.
“Very ashamed of myself,” Coburn told Good Morning America. “Very ashamed. I need to apologize to a lot of people. It’s just the emotion of the whole journey coming together at one time.”
Here’s the full apology:
In a post-race interview with NBC Saturday shortly after Chrome came up short, Coburn said, “Our horse had a target on its back, everybody else lays out one, or they won’t run ‘em in the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness, they’ll save ‘em for the Belmont. If you’ve got a horse that can run all three, if you’ve got enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby, those 20 horses are the only ones eligible … this is the coward’s way out,” he added, referencing to Tonalist missing the first two Triple Crown legs.
On Twitter and elsewhere online, Coburn’s comments were immediately blasted as sour grapes and poor sportsmanship.
A short time after the race, California Chrome was looked at by a vet. It appears he got a cut on his right front hoof right out of the starting gate, which may explain the race’s finish.