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.”
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.