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Latest Kentucky Derby Items
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 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.
After California Chrome's trouble-free trips in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, the chestnut colt with four white feet will be running in the Belmont Stakes with a bull's-eye on his back.
Steve Coburn was back home sipping a beer with the locals at Sharkey's Casino where he placed a 200-1 bet in January on the unlikely possibility that his horse would win the Kentucky Derby even though few people had heard of it.
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.
California Chrome beat out an idiosyncratic racing rule - by a nose.
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.
California Chrome might abandon his Triple Crown bid if New York officials do not allow the colt to wear a nasal strip in the Belmont Stakes.