Horse Racing…There Can Be Only One!…and It Better Be My Horse.

Last week, I chastised Chris Cuomo for displaying poor sportsmanship. This week, we have Steve Coburn to thank for utterly ruining an otherwise satisfactory Saturday afternoon spent enjoying American sports.

Coburn, co-owner of California Chrome, chastised the other horse owners in the Belmont Stakes after the race. In case you haven’t heard, California Chrome had a chance of winning the vaunted Triple Crown of horse racing, since the horse had already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. Since most of the horses in the Belmont Stakes had not run in the previous two races, Coburn felt entitled to call the other owners “cowards.” The next day, he continued to plead his case on national TV by comparing California Chrome’s plight with a scenario of Coburn playing basketball against a child in a wheelchair.

I’m sure new entries in the Belmont are nothing new regarding horse racing. I’m pretty sure there have been fresh horses in the Belmont Stakes before and since 1978, when we last had a Triple Crown winner. I’d research it, but it’s pretty obvious Coburn hasn’t looked into it so I’m not going to bother. Coburn was sore about losing, so he’s attacking the rules. It’s unbecoming of a man that has made upwards of $3 million this year on his cheaply-purchased wonder-horse. Let’s change the rules so that it accommodates your horse, Mr. Coburn. I don’t think that’s very sportsmanlike. Just because we want an athlete to win doesn’t mean we should hand the competitor the victory. The athlete still has to prove it on the field of competition…ideally, against the best field available!

I was having a splendid time anticipating the race (and falling off the wagon with a delicious bottle of Tabor Hill Viognier). Horse racing is all about the build-up, and this weekend’s Belmont Stakes was unbelievably fun to anticipate…and the race was a good one! California Chrome gave it his best shot, and it was somewhat close at the end. I was hooting and hollering during the race. I hung my head after the conclusion because the Triple Crown would not be granted this year. However, I was grateful for the experience, and I reaffirmed my satisfaction by stating aloud how I couldn’t wait for next season. Because of this Belmont Stakes, I fell in love with horse racing yet again, and I felt it was time well spent.

Before the Belmont Stakes, Coburn seemed to be a fairly amiable man, and America was pulling for him. I was pulling for him, for sure. At least half of America was feeling bad for him after California Chrome took fourth place…until Coburn opened his mouth and shared his sour grapes with us. Thanks for ruining my reaffirmed love of horse racing, Mr. Coburn. Your self-involved display single-handedly ruined the entire sports experience. Show a little class, and prove yourself as a good man who understands sports competitions are not always about the victory…it might be more about showing you are worthy of being crowned a champion. I hate to say it, but I’m now rather glad that Coburn is not allowed to strut about like he’s the alpha-male, cock-of-the-walk horse-owner extraordinaire. How’s that for sour grapes, Mr. Steve Coburn?

{After publication of this blog, Steve Coburn has publically apologized. I’ve addressed this in the comments section.

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One comment

  1. After publishing this article, I watched Steve Coburn’s apology for his words after the Belmont Stakes http://espn.go.com/horse-racing/triplecrown2014/story/_/id/11055231/california-chrome-owner-steve-coburn-continues-rant-vs-triple-crown-system It was genuine and heart-felt, and it restored my faith and belief in the man. He understands what he said was wrong, and I’m willing to believe him. I apologize for my harsh words to Mr. Steve Coburn, and I withdraw my assertion that Steve Coburn is a poor sport. Thank you for your contrition, Mr. Coburn. It is worthy of a sportsman and potential champion.

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