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.
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!