California Chrome’s co-owner Steve Coburn gave an emotional apology Monday after his two-day rant against the Belmont Stakes winner, Tonalist.
Steve Coburn, who co-owns California Chome, was still smarting. He was irked Belmont winner Tonalist didn’t run in either of the first two legs of the Triple Crown. After the race, he complained others took “the coward’s way out” by skipping the Derby and/or the Preakness. A day later, Coburn was unrepentant.
That finish meant Affirmed in 1978 remains the most recent Triple Crown winner. California Chrome is the 13th horse since then to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes but fall short in the Belmont.
California Chrome and 10 rivals will run the longest race of their lives on Belmont Park’s deep, sandy track with its sweeping turns. No other Triple Crown winner faced more than seven rivals.
California Chrome may wind up being the Triple Crown winner, but he was not the horse who should have been the next winner of horse racing’s highest trifecta. No, the horse who was right — and ripe — to be America’s next Triple Crown winner won at Churchill Downs and Pimlico, but came up just short at Belmont Park 10 years ago.
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner will break from the No. 2 post under Victor Espinoza on Saturday at Belmont Park. Eleven Belmont winners have come out of that post, the last being Tabasco Cat in 1994.
The 3-year-old colt is set to run in the Belmont Stakes on June 7. He owns a six-race winning streak. No horse has swept the Derby, Preakness and Belmont since Affirmed in 1978.
The strip worn by California Chrome during his six-race winning streak is thought to improve airflow through his nostrils. That will come in handy during the Belmont’s grueling 1½ miles on June 7.
Trainer Art Sherman made no threats about the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner passing on a chance to become horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner, but he suggested it was a possibility.
As a follow-up to his victory in the Kentucky Derby, trainer Art Sherman’s horse justified his stature as the overwhelming favorite by outrunning Ride On Curlin to the finish Saturday.
California Chrome galloped two miles in the rain Friday. A small blister in the colt’s throat that caused him to cough a day earlier was blown out of proportion, according to Alan Sherman, Art’s son and assistant trainer.
Social Inclusion won his first start by 7½ lengths. In his second race, he won by 10 lengths and broke a track record at Florida’s Gulfstream Park. Then he finished third in the Wood Memorial, aced out for second by a nose.