18. Steve Coburn Sounds Off at the Belmont Stakes
The eyes of the sports world were trained on California Chrome, a thoroughbred looking for horse racing’s first Triple Crown in 36 years at Belmont in June. After winning the first two legs at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, California Chrome was defeated by a fresh-legged Tonalist, which didn’t participate in the earlier races. Co-owner Steve Coburn offered a volcanic postgame interview and slammed the rules that allow rested horses to compete against more fatigued racers in Triple Crown events. Coburn called the current format “the coward’s way out” on NBC, explaining that previous Triple Crown winners Affirmed and Seattle Slew didn’t have to face fresh fields like today’s horses do. Two days later, he issued a tear-filled apology for his actions.
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