With a bit of time to cool down and think, Steve Coburn, the owner of both California Chrome and the sports meltdown of the year, has apologized for his post-Belmont Stakes outburst.
In the immediate aftermath of the race in which California Chrome failed to capture the Triple Crown, Coburn said other owners took "the coward's way out" by not running all three of the Crown races.
On Sunday, he doubled down, comparing the supposed unfair advantage the other horses had to himself playing basketball against "a kid in a wheelchair."
Coburn said that only horses which qualify for the Derby should be allowed to run in all three races, and that each horse should be competing in all the races.
But Monday on Good Morning America, a calmer Coburn said he was "ashamed" of his behavior, and offered apologies all around.
"I need to apologize to a lot of people, including my wife," he said. "First of all, I need to apologize to the winner. They run a beautiful race. Their horse won the race. They deserve that. I did not mean to take anything away from them. So I want to apologize with everybody associated with Tonalist." Coburn also apologized to fans, trainers, supporters and pretty much everyone else.
It's worth noting that when the last two Triple Crown winners, Affirmed and Seattle Slew, completed the triple, only one other horse they beat at the Belmont Stakes raced in all three legs.
California Chrome's trainer, Art Sherman, both distanced himself from and explained Coburn's comments. “Horses aren’t cowards and the people aren’t cowards,” he said. “He was at the heat of the moment. Don’t forget he’s a fairly new owner. Sometimes your emotions get in front of you. He hasn’t been in the game long and hasn’t had any bad luck.”
California Chrome suffered a minor injury during the start of the Belmont Stakes, but is expected to recover and compete in the Breeders' Cup this fall.