Horse racing-California Chrome owner continues attack on rules

Sun Jun 8, 2014 6:22pm EDT
 
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By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Steve Coburn, the outspoken co-owner of California Chrome, continued his bitter attack against the rules of the Triple Crown a day after his horse was beaten in the Belmont Stakes.

Winner of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, California Chrome had the chance to become just the 12th horse to complete the elusive treble but came up short when he dead-heated for fourth place in the Belmont on Saturday.

Like so many other horses that had failed at the final hurdle, California Chrome struggled to reproduce his best over the 1 1/2-mile (2,400 meters) distance of the Belmont.

Perhaps fatigued after competing in three races over five weeks, California Chrome also found the challenge of racing against fresher opposition too much.

His trainer and jockey both accepted the loss with grace, saying the horse had been beaten fair and square, but Coburn launched a scathing attack on the connections of the horses that beat him.

Immediately after Saturday's race, he called them "cowards" and "cheaters" because they did not run in all three races - which they are not required to do under the rules.

California Chrome injured his foot at the start, suffering a small cut behind his right hoof but Art Sherman, the colt's 77-year-old trainer, said it had no impact on his flat performance.

Sherman also told reporters on Sunday that he had no problems with the rules that had been in place for almost 150 years and expected Coburn to apologize for his comments.   Continued...

 
California Chrome co owner Steve Coburn (left) and trainer Art Sherman view the morning workout in preparation for the 2014 Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports