Rust on the Chrome! All or Nothing?


horse racing

Triple Crown romantics everywhere are screaming about June 7th, 2014 and the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes.  Personally I am probably the loudest in the group next to Steve Coburn.

”That’s the coward’s way out,” he said. ”It’s not fair to these horses that have been in the game since day one. If you don’t make enough points to get into the Kentucky Derby, you can’t run in the other two races. It’s all or nothing.”


The last 12 attempts that had any chance of winning were defeated by horses that ran 1 or none of the first two legs.  What quality of a race is it if Tonalist wins the race without ever qualifying for the Derby?

Money.  Simply put there isn’t a horse owner or trainer that has a romantic notion of the Triple Crown but enjoy sticking their fresh horse in to capitalize on the inflated purse and bets placed by those who just wanted a ticket of a Triple Crown winner. This ruins it for all of us who have been waiting since Affirmed won in 1978.  Taking the romance out of the race so a fresh horse can saunter in and take from the average guy merely seals the label the “Sport of Kings”.  Because today the Kings (not the hockey team) ruled and won.

Now I am not a big west coast racing fan.  However, California Chrome came to all of us just like Big Brown, as America’s Horse.  Why?  Because of those average guys who spent less than anyone would on most used cars worth driving.  They knew nothing but were able to get a marquee Jockey to see the dream and ride.  California Chrome’s name is a slice of Americana and his owners had to endure the snobbery of the horse racing elite who couldn’t quite grasp the racing team name of Dumb Ass Partners.  DAP fooled them all.  As it goes in these situations the Kings held court and the rust began to show on both America’s horse and his owners.

Steve Coburn reacted harshly but with all the emotion and passion just like the coaches and managers who have lost the Super Bowl or World Series, there just wasn’t any camera footage of it.  In the Sport of Kings THIS was the shot heard around the world. Experts weren’t sure how to respond so they stuck with its always been that way and no one has questioned it. Until now.

They didn’t always drug test the horses or the jockeys either, and if that can be added to create fairness then why can’t a new expectation of qualifying to run in each leg of the Triple Crown be added?

Think about it the New York Racing Association also had the rule of the nasal strips were not permissible, but file a grievance with the Stuart and Breathe Rite receives free promotion and Savannah Guthrie learns that there wasn’t a horse named Nasal Strip in the race.  California Chrome as 11 other horses that came close also generated a whirl wind and a massive increase in attendance, bets, hotel stays, food and alcohol profits all to be denied by horses that didn’t run all three legs.

Nasal Strip


College football added the BCS, and a longer playoff season for the NFL then why shouldn’t the Horse Racing Association make changes too?  Every sport’s history has changes.  What could it hurt to start the debate?  Steve Coburn stood up for what you don’t see in most owners.  Real love and passion for DAP’s horse.  He was the PR guy and the average American who spoke without an air of superiority.  He just wasn’t king material and the purse because of his horse made the allure of money to great to pass up for owners who had a pretty good horse that just wasn’t strong enough in early May and wanted a return on their investment.

As long as the rules stay the same then the Dumb Ass Partners of the world will never see their horse succeed.  For all who have waited almost as long as my hometown of Cleveland has waited for championship the head lines will be the same “Waiting for Next Year”.

Polish off the rust on the rules make it shine and announce the Triple Crown is now all or nothing!  Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed brought the romance back for all of America, they were the chrome of the 70’s.  14 years into a new century and after today I am confident the Browns will win a Super Bowl before a Triple Crown winner is anointed.


Now how about game 2 of the NHL?  WHOA!


imagesXVTOOWIT                                                                                 California Chrome has something to say






3 thoughts on “Rust on the Chrome! All or Nothing?

  1. I’m of a differing opinion. As it turns out there are more horses that qualified for the Derby racing these past years than in era’s before. When Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978, he faced four horses in the Preakness that had not run in the Derby.

    Affirmed faced two horses in the Belmont that skipped the Preakness, one of which didn’t run in the Derby either.

    Since when did horse racing suddenly get kindergarten self-esteem syndrome? You know the one that says we have to give everyone a medal so they feel good. The corrosion of the value of merit.

    Isn’t one of the most special things about the Derby and the two following races the fact it is RARE? If it becomes common for owners like Coburn to win because “they are America’s horse”, why then is the Triple Crown so special. And why should they suddenly achieve the level of recognition that the Seattle Slew’s and Secretariat’s earned by lowering standards? Next we’ll be giving Nobel Peace Prizes to heads of state not based on accomplishment, but on popularity….oh… wait.

    Anyway, John Clay (Kentucky.com) had it right. If you change the rules – it’s no longer the Triple Crown: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/06/08/3282227/john-clay-change-the-rules-and.html#storylink=cpy

    • Hey My Favorite Green Birdie!

      Tonalist didn’t even qualify for the Derby. There are more horses than just 20 that run in qualifying Derby races. He ran just four races and didn’t win with exception of the Peter Pan. Tonalist was not mature enough or well enough to handle a packed field of 20.

      The rules change whether we are aware of it or not. Horses were always drug tested but later they added the jockeys. In the 80’s the interference rule was added. That boxing out move is illegal if any contact was made.
      It was an unofficial rule or the gentlemen’s agreement to not run a fresh horse in the Belmont. 73 only 4 horses ran. Smaller fields also ran in 77 and 78. However, Affirmed and Alydar were as much of a match race as Secretariat and Sham. The match races were a major drawn in themselves so owners not wanting to interfere held horses or ran horses in other stake races.

      Somewhere after the 70’s the gentlemen’s rule evaporated and fresh horses (15 since 79)have entered the Belmont. With this current loss 12 horses lost to a fresher horse.

      Each track and Racing association create their own rules. The Belmont has always differed from the Triple Crown because once upon a time the Belmont was the elitist race for the sport of Kings. While the bourbon drinking and beer chugging went with the Derby and The Preakness. Once being referred to as the every man’s race letting distillery workers use the infield of Churchill Downs as their gathering place.

      Change has happened over time. The Belmont used to run first then moved to the middle and finally at the end. The Triple Crown didn’t exist until the 1900’s and horses and jockeys were later being tested for performance enhancing drugs. Further the unofficial gentlemen’s rule was monitored because of a threat to conspire. Two owners cannot conspire to mark a race and split the winnings. That said a a racing team can strategically plan to set pace.

      Coburn’s biggest issue was Tonalist didn’t have hardly any points compared to all the horses. Check the 3 year old racing cards of Affirmed. Check all the other races from that point up and see how much racing the winners have done right up to the Belmont.

      The Triple Crown has made changes. Last point if Commissioner, Medal Count and Tonalist (I had General A Rod did run all three and would have won the Belmont anyway) had not run, it was still a dead heat between Wicked Strong and California Chrome and there is no know precedence if Chrome would have the Crown for not being the sole victor.

      Change happens and just because a rule might change it doesn’t change the length of Big Sandy and it is a hard race to flat out win. Why do you think it was move to the last race?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s