LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Probably no one was more disappointed with California Chome's 4th place finish in the Belmont than his co-owner Steve Coburn. His rant after the race gained almost as much attention as the race itself. Monday he apologized but was it the sportsmanship we'd all been wanting to see from Coburn or too little too late?
In the heat of the loss, he left little to doubt: Coburn was angry.
"It's not fair to these horses that have been in the game since Day One," he said on NBC's telecast, calling the owners of winner Tonalist "cowards."
A day later, even with time to cool off, Coburn was still shouting to anyone who would listen that the way the Triple Crown is run is just unfair.
"We'll run in Kentucky and then the hell with the rest of them," he said on Sunday's TODAY Show.
The reaction from the sports world was swift and summed up by WAVE 3 Sports contributor Billy Reed.
"One of the first things you should do if you're going to be in sports is to learn how to be a good loser," Reed said. "To make those kinds of unfounded, ill-informed, vicious accusations just really did shock me."
Monday, it seemed Coburn had some time to think about what he said, saying on Good Morning America, "First of all, I need to apologize to the winners. They ran a beautiful race. Their horse won the race. They deserve that." He then added, "I want to apologize to all the horse racing in the world. "
Reed says he needs to go further than that.
"I certainly hope he apologized personally to Mr. Evans, the owner of Tonalist, because that was the man who he insulted unfairly and the man whose moment he stole, basically," he said.
In his apology Coburn was emotional, saying he wanted the Triple Crown win for America. Reed also hopes he was sincere.
"You wonder was it heartfelt or did he just have so much pressure from his wife and other people. We don't know that," he said.
"I believe in forgiveness and second chances but I think it's going to take a long time before people in the racing industry would ever forgive him."
Coburn may have a little more apologizing to do. Chrome's connections are scheduled to be back at Churchill Downs this Saturday to accept the Derby trophy. After the Preakness, he said Churchill could learn a thing or two from the people of Maryland about hospitality. Reed says ultimately Coburn was incorrect about those statements as well, so he says -- coupling that with the Belmont remarks -- you have to wonder if maybe that's just how he is.
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