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Steve Coburn's Comments Not New, But the Setting Sure Was

By now you've all heard California Chrome's owner on the TV, or the net, or read it in print.

With words like "cheaters" and "cowards" used, his comments did not go over well with many. Even Coburn's wife, a seemingly lovely woman, was forced to give "that look" to her life partner (thanks Racing Dudes).

I see the cowboy-hatted owner has been on the radio this morning and is not walking back his comments, either.

The Richard Shermanesque rant was, like old Rich, in the heat of the moment. But this time the rant was not from a guy schooled at Stanford, who has taken PR classes and who has millions in endorsements riding on his behavior. It was from a good old boy who shows up to work at a factory at 6AM each day. One of those people who, well, we might just expect a whole lotta cussing to go on after a disappointing loss.

And, of course, these comments:
  • “They need to change this sport to where those 20 horses that start in the Kentucky Derby are the only 20 eligible to run in all three races,” Coburn said. “If you bow out in the Preakness, you don’t come back for the Belmont. I honestly believe that if the Triple Crown is not won this year by California Chrome, I will never see it in my lifetime because there are people out there trying to upset the apple cart.” 
.....were not from yesterday, they were from May 18th, after the Preakness. 

So, they're nothing really that new. Yesterday you got the raw version, unfiltered by focus groups or handlers (or his wife).

In a sport where we shake a man or woman's hand after a loss or a win and have done so for generations, the comments aren't up my alley. I believe in winning and losing with class. But as a fan of this sport I understand them perfectly.

No, the Triple Crown does not have to be changed, in my view, but the comments underscore the passion and monumental nature of this task in modern Thoroughbred racing. It's that passion we all feel, whether we buy yearlings, bet the sport, or watch it as a fan.  Some express that passion through a shrug of the shoulders, by blaming a jockey or a trainer, by throwing a racing form at a TV screen, by seeking out others in a social media therapy session. For California Chrome's owner, a fiery cowboy hell bent on winning the Triple Crown,  it was turned up a notch. Considering he has slept, eaten and breathed the Triple Crown trail for months to see it come down to a thud in two minutes and thirty seconds, it should not really be too surprising, I guess.


Comments

Ron said…
This guy is dispicable. A great guy when winning a whinny classless brat when losing. His horse didn't run a winning race regardless who else was in the field.
C said…
The people shouting loudest about Coburn's lack of class are talking solely about themselves. A great and unique thing about Coburn is that he won't retract what he said; that's so unlike every single coward and softy that makes up most of America.
Ron said…
It's cowardly to make ignorant statements, compare your horse to a wheel chair bound child, call someone else a cheater who didn't cheat, have a chance to realize your mistake and be too stubborn to admit it.
Anonymous said…
It's ok when wicked strong, samraat, commanding curve didn't run in the preakness making Chromes job a lot easier. But when he gets beat it's everybody else's fault!