06/09/2014 9:16AM

Coburn apologizes for remarks following Belmont

Justin N. Lane
Steve Coburn, co-owner of California Chrome, hands out autographed memorabilia before the races on Belmont Stakes Day.

Steve Coburn, a co-owner of California Chrome, offered a sincere, emotional apology Monday for unsportsmanlike and insensitive statements he had made in the aftermath of California Chrome’s defeat in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday.

Appearing on the ABC program “Good Morning America” in New York with co-host Robin Roberts, Coburn said, “I need to apologize to the world. I sincerely apologize.”

Coburn, accompanied by his wife, Carolyn, was in the “GMA” studio. He and his wife were on a set with Roberts interviewing them. Coburn, his voice quivering, said his outbursts were from “just the emotion of the whole journey.”

“It’s a learning process for us,” said Coburn, who has been thrust into sudden celebrity because of California Chrome. “I’m gonna do better.

“I needed to do this,” he said to Roberts. “I needed to do it because I was wrong.”

Coburn had come off publicly as a fortunate, grateful man through the first two legs of the Triple Crown but came off as petty and ungrateful immediately following the Belmont, calling the connections of the victorious Tonalist “cowards” and “cheaters” for bypassing the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

Given a night to sleep it off, Coburn doubled down on the invective Sunday morning in a televised rant that tastelessly invoked children in wheelchairs. While being interviewed for more than five minutes at Belmont Park by “Good Morning America,” Coburn said he believed skipping the first two legs of the Triple Crown and then running in the final leg is not fair.

His analogy was, “It wouldn’t be fair if I played basketball with a child in a wheelchair.”

Coburn’s remarks were based on his belief that only horses who run in the Kentucky Derby should be able to compete in the subsequent Preakness and Belmont. California Chrome won the Derby and Preakness in May and would have become the 12th Triple Crown winner if he could have added the Belmont.

Coburn after the Derby had said he didn’t believe horses should be able to sit out the Derby and then jump in at later stages of the Triple Crown. But not until California Chrome lost Saturday, finishing in a dead heat for fourth, did he unload in full-throated rage.

On NBC’s telecast of the Belmont, Coburn immediately after the race said, “It’s not fair to these horses that have been in the game since Day 1.

“It’s all or nothing because this is not fair to these horses that have been running their guts out for these people and for the people who believe in them,” he said. “This is the coward’s way out, in my opinion.”

On Sunday, Coburn told “Good Morning America” that he “may have gone off half-cocked yesterday, but I don’t care.” He added that he didn’t care if people called him a sore loser, then gave out his personal cell phone number and said anyone could call him for a debate.

Perry Martin, the other owner of California Chrome, has never said anything of the sort regarding the Triple Crown race eligibility, nor has jockey Victor Espinoza, nor trainer Art Sherman.

In the belief that Coburn planned to apologize Sunday, Sherman early Sunday morning tried to temper the growing outcry against Coburn. The Sunday morning edition of the New York Post had Coburn pictured on the cover under the headline “Triple Clown.”

Sherman said that in the “heat of the moment,” Coburn “might have gotten a little vocal, might not think about what he’s saying.”

“He’ll make a good apology, I would think,” Sherman said.

Less than an hour later, Coburn went on “Good Morning America.”

Christophe Clement, the trainer of Tonalist, and Robert “Shel” Evans, Tonalist’s owner, both declined to comment on Coburn’s post-race outburst.

Art Brown More than 1 year ago
Colburn shows what a dumb sss partner as well as owner he is. I hope the horse gets beat every time he steps foot on a track again. What an idiot he made himself to be. A sore and even more stupid loser.
mike More than 1 year ago
So,you're such a great fan of racing you're wishing the horse will lose everytime he races after Coburn's rant? Who's the idiot?
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Chrome will have one prep before the BC Classic. It is likely that it will be a race where he faces about 4 heavily overmatched opponents, possibly even a Cal bred restricted race. I wonder if the other owners will scream about how unfair that is. I wonder if they'll call Coburn a G....D....cheater. I wonder if someone say's he's a coward. I wonder if that unfairness will extend to being well rested. I wonder if one will say it's like Wilt Chamberlain playing basketball against an infant in a stroller. Or is it more likely they'll wish him the best of luck in the BC Classic where he'll need it as it's also likely he'll have his nasal strip handed to him.
mike More than 1 year ago
Wow,that's rich! Obviously you won't let it go. He's the owner of CC not you or anyone else. To try and respond to your neg comments let me say most likely EVERYTHING will fall into place for Chrome/connections after he recovers. You're way over the top for behaving as if Coburn's rant is the only black eye in sports. What's your retort when stating PRIOR to his rant many didn't want him in racing. Many made fun of him,name calling before even the Derby. Obviously you don't appreciate horse/connections so be it cause you're opinion isn't the end all. Sorry to break it to you.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Wrong again mikerelva. This was the feel good story of the year in racing. This was one for the small good guys. No one was calling him names or making fun of him prior to his post race interview. No one didn't want him in racing. Including me. What took his horse years to achieve, he destroyed in 30 seconds in front of the world without so much as a kiss. You also believe no one wanted Chrome to win and that the world was full of Chrome haters. He was the most heavily favored over the field in the Derby in 13 years. He was odds on in the Preakness and Belmont. Almost everyone wanted him to win. And before you rant I'm a hater, I got stuck with a few souvenir two dollar win tickets. Although, I didn't get stuck with win, tri and super bets because the reality is this was a race he was unlikely to win.
mike More than 1 year ago
Really? So individuals like kell corn,Secretariat,Dray,Chris Urban,etc not counting others from other threads that made remarks are just a product of my imagination? Can't believe you think you're always on point,as if it's impossible for error.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Naming names on another site is rude to DRF on this site. They had some good points and you just can't stand anyone with an opinion of another horse without even saying anything bad about Chrome. You haven't changed, you just keep hitting yourself in the head with a brick. Stop that.
mike More than 1 year ago
You're lecturing on rudeness,wow! If some don't like Chrome/connections fine. My point is someone on here couple days ago referring to Chrome as a "thing",calling Coburn names,really? Some railing against the horse would love to have him,that's the irony. Since you're the police on here interesting you never remark on others calling some names that don't deserve. Anytime a point is made you sidestep it to enhance your views. The door swings both ways regardless.
Michelle Weir More than 1 year ago
Hi Mike. Steve is not the owner of Chrome. Steve is the minority partner and not a representative for the other partner. Thanks
Chris More than 1 year ago
I ended up texting him on Sunday after he gave up his phone number on television, and to his credit, he personally called me back yesterday to apologize for his behavior. The way he acted was ridiculous, but I do believe he has learned from his mistakes, and I for one am willing to forgive him. That took a lot of guts to call me back, cause Im just your average degenerate.
james hallal More than 1 year ago
apologies are not necessary. the man had every right to be emotional. i would rather root for a guy like coburn instead of all those blue bloods who were born with silver spoons in their mouths. the average horse player can relate to the so-called little guy.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
You said a mouth full, brother. Mr. Coburn worked hard all his life and is entitled to his opinion. I wish that when a triple crown is at stake they would only allow horses that raced in the other two races to go to the Belmont. This levels the playing field. I liken it to a person who jumps into the tail end of the Boston Marathon and wins which is what someone tried to do a couple of decades ago. Could Mr. Coburn have stated his point better? Sure but he still has a right to his opinion. Well, they have their blue blood owner (Mellon family) and all is well for the triple crown this time. Seems like people like to equate a working class man with boozing and ignorance. The fact is the man worked all his life and good for him, he had the ride of his life! If I were the owner/owners I would breed CC and not sell him. Now they can get a world class mare and have plenty of class foals. Glad you spoke up for Mr. Coburn. As for the triple crown? Just because we do something the same way for a hundred years does not make it right or fair.,
Mike Gentile More than 1 year ago
Both You And Patricia Are Idiots Who absolutely Know Nothing About Horse Racing Or CLASS
mike More than 1 year ago
You're the idiot! Alot of haters of someone who worked hard always and caught lightning in a bottle.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Why always the insults? Why not try to make a point., then at least you will seem more intelligent than you are. Oh wait, you agree with those above, I stand corrected.
mike More than 1 year ago
You never stand corrected,don't try to create the mirage please. Funny don't hear you complaining about Mike Gentile calling individuals names. Are you blind?
mike More than 1 year ago
You're on point man.
Jason More than 1 year ago
Too little to late. If he was really sorry Sunday was the chance to make good on his earlier comments. I dont believe he was sorry. I believe that he caved in to all the people around him who advised him to apologize so he wouldnt become a pariah in racing circles. He said several times that he didnt care. I think that comment sums up his position. I also disliked him invoking that all of the people were cheated and heartbroken by the process, that he was Americas horse. Every horse that wi.s the first two legs become Americas horse. Its become a cliche. If he really wanted to make a statement that would have seriously caused changes he should have withheld the horse from the Belmont. That would have been the ultimate statement regarxing the process. I truly believe he was negligent in running the horse according to his own logic. That. Horses are not able to run races in such a short time. And that his horse could not compete against all these fresh horses. Oh and by the way the peter pan is the prep race for the Belmont not the Preakness. Hopefully he will never have a quality horse again and we will never see him again. And for all the chromies who say wait for the Breeders Cup you are crazy. He has no shot against elders. They should retire the horse and let him go to stud. Chrome has outperformed his breeding and they should cash in while they can. After all they still have the mare and you never know. She might be able to throw out another quality horse. Full disclosure i had 100 BUCKS on commisioner and medal count. I hit the exacta but only for two dollars. I am not a wealthy person so i think i have a bigger gripe than him. I hope he never has a quality horse again. We dont need him in horse racing.
John Smith More than 1 year ago
Totally agree. u summed it up nicely...
mike More than 1 year ago
eye roll
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Again, no point. You used that two word statement at least then times. At least sound like you older than 12 who was just told he has to do his homework. And you do young man.
mike More than 1 year ago
You know what,I tried to post three comments prior to the eye roll and it wouldn't go.
Chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
So how is the Colt?
Mark D More than 1 year ago
Why no triple crown winners in 37 years... LASIX....LASIX...LASIX. It take a horse much much longer to bounce back after races when they run on Lasix. its that simple really.
JeAnna Ramirez More than 1 year ago
We will have a Triple Crown winner when the trainers and owners grow some cajones and say NO TO LASIX!!!!
Howard Marks More than 1 year ago
HRoberish More than 1 year ago
Coburn is right and he should stick to his guns. Unless things change you'll never see another Triple Crown winner. Anybody remember Rosie Ruiz? She was an average runner who beat GREAT runners in the Boston Marathon because she was MORE rested than the other participants (she entered the race in the "late" stages). That's unfair and so is the TC the way it stands. Time people woke up!!! Political correctness is a bunch of B.S.!
Dennis Ho More than 1 year ago
She was wearing nasal strip.
Dennis Ho More than 1 year ago
She was also bred to be a router.the other runners had middle distance pedigree.
Patricia Doyle More than 1 year ago
You betcha, I remember Rosie Ruiz who jumped into the Marathon toward the end. They need to fix the way a race for the triple crown is carded. IF it is a year when a triple crown is on the line, like this year, all entrants must have run in the Preakness and Derby. This levels the playing field. Poor Chrome was so tired that he hit his front foot, something a tired horse will do when trying to keep a gait. He performed magnificently, even 4th place was amazing. Just because we do something for a century does not make it fair or right.
TAZ More than 1 year ago
don't apologize you have every right to speak your mind after all this is still America right,I am so sick and tired of people having to be politically correct all the time you were mad and blowing off steam perfectly exceptionable in my world....
mike More than 1 year ago
Thanks,Taz. Am so sick of these flakes acting as if they never said/did anything wrong and rain down on Coburn. Good comment!
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Are you so in need of positive reinforcement, that you thank everybody who agrees with you?
mike More than 1 year ago
Here's what I think, your arrogance knows no bounds and your fragile ego has problems dealing with the fact not everyone agrees with you 24/7. Seriously doubt I'm the only one ever. Being in non stop control is something you relish.
mike More than 1 year ago
How am I doing so far?
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Not good, you've been kicked off two times under two different names for your relentless name calling and shout down tactics.
mike More than 1 year ago
Didn't expect you to admit anything. You're a control freak,the kid in class that raises their hand the most and shouts the loudest to be heard. As for kicked off BH,so what? Guess you're memory isn't functioning well, couple weeks back didn't you give several,including Go For Wand,Myrtlewood a difficult time for no reason? Right. lol Pot calling kettle! Also our last "discussion" on BH,BOTH our comments were deleted,not only mine.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Relva, when someone says, "one less competitor, vanned off" about a horse injured who then can't race against Chrome, they deserve a stern response. People like you who were blinded by the shiny chrome of their mostest favorite horsey in the whole wide world then talks like that is not a racing fan. But you know this. The one response I had removed was in response to your out of the blue, and out of context verbal attack without reason. It gets removed when your name calling shout down insanity got removed. You have a short memory. A selective memory, and hate that your bully tactics are not tolerated. When picking a fight in a battle of wits, you keep joining the fray unarmed. Will be fun watching you self destruct like Coburn.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Blowing off steam is not hours later calling them G....D...cheaters. It's not after sleeping on it and the next morning continuing the same idiotic rant. It had absolutely nothing to do with blowing off steam.
mike More than 1 year ago
It's over,that simple! If no one wants to find it within themselves to forgive him that's not his problem to worry about.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
It is his problem to worry about, that rant cost him millions.
mike More than 1 year ago
Don't think he's worried and you shouldn't be since it's not your horse.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
He is worried or was which is the only reason he apologized long after he could have and should have. Why would I be worried, you say very odd things even for a kid.
mike More than 1 year ago
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Again, no point, just more 12 year old bratty statements.
mike More than 1 year ago
Talk about narcissistic. Think Paula Higgins called you out a couple times,that's the contrast she actually has great knowledge regarding racing.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
More out of context ramblings lacking relevance in anything. I notice you didn't say what for which would make you look as bad as the poor argument.
mike More than 1 year ago
Was probably for your blasting Go For Wand,which was unnecessary. You've thrown plenty of darts against some that didn't deserve it,yet you lecture me on my behavior. Too bad you fail to see the forest for the trees. Your purpose is dominating and winning every debate,that's called heavy handed. Think you have your share of detractors on BH,don't fool yourself.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
LOL, you said probably which means you don't even know, you just throw insults and out of context dribble. Anyone who says what she said deserved it. Wishing for horses to get injured so Chrome has an easier time in the Belmont. Wow how distasteful.
mike More than 1 year ago
That's not true,Go For Wand didn't wish any harm on a horse.
Dee R. Eff More than 1 year ago
Go for Wand whom you continue to want to defend and name, said and I'll say it for last stinking time. "one less competitor....vanned off track", she, Go for Wand said one less horse to contend with. Oh goody for Chrome. Intense Holiday was euthanized today. You still want to defend her and her foul words? Never talk to me about this again and I will never defend myself about calling her out for it. The horse is now dead. Have a party you idiots.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dee,had no clue IH was dead. Last I checked BH few hrs ago didn't see anything. You lecture about name calling then it's ok for you only to call people idiots. Last time am saying didn't know about IH. Am sorry for that.
Tom Paige More than 1 year ago
Good. That put some of the shine back on what his team accomplished. God knows I've shot first and aimed later a few times myself. I think he got to a point where he didn't know where the horse ended and he began. What he did was classless, but he made an effort to recover. Too bad no one in Washington knows how to do that.