California Chrome did not win Saturday’s Belmont Stakes and horse racing has now gone since Affirmed in 1978 without a Triple Crown winner.
Tonalist won Saturday’s race as California Chrome finished in a dead heat for fourth with Wicked Strong.
Said California Chrome jockey Victor Espinoza: “I think it was tough for him. He feels good.”
California Chrome owner Steve Coburn was irate that fresh horses were pointed at his colt.
“This was the coward’s way out,” said Coburn about the horses who had not races in all three of the Triple Crown races.
Coburn did think that his horse had a chance to win the race.
“I thought he was gaining ground but he didn’t have anything apparently. He’s been in three big races. These other horses set one out and it’s not fair for the horses who are in it from Day 1.
“It’s all or nothing. It’s not fair to these horses that are running their guts out. This is a cowards’ way out. If you’ve got a horse that earns enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby, those horses should be the only ones who should run in all three races.”
Tonaist owner Robert Evans, interviewed by Bob Costas on NBC did not take the bait when asked about Coburn saying “I don’t think I have a comment on (Coburn’s comments).”
Art Sherman, trainer of California Chrome said he would be in favor of changing the Triple Crown format. It’s really tough for a horse to run in all three races, so I’d be for it. It takes a toll on a young horse.
Rosario understood the disappointment for California Chrome’s connections and the fans who were rooting for history.
“If I was going to get beat I would hope it was by California Chrome,” said the winning jockey.
Before Saturday’s race, only 5 of 36 favorites had won the Belmont.
The crowd was estimated at 120,000.
California Chrome, an odds on favorite, was the 13th horse since Affirmed to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
The others: Spectacular Bid, 1979, 3rd in the Belmont; Pleasant Colony, 1981, 3rd; Alysheba, 1987, 4th, Sunday Silence, 1989, 2nd; Silver Charm, 1997, 2nd; Real Quiet, 1998, 2nd; Charismatic, 1999, 3rd; War Emblem, 2002, 8th; Funny Cide, 2003 3rd; Smarty Jones, 2004, 2nd; Big Brown, 2008, DNF; I’ll Have Another, 2012, DNR.
The 11 Triple Crown winners: Sir Barton (1919); Gallant Fox (1930); Omaha (1935); War Admiral (1937); Whirlaway (1941); Count Fleet (1943); Assault (1946); Citation (1948); Secretariat (1973); Seattle Slew (1977) and Affirmed (1978)
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