California Chrome Triple Crown Bid Thwarted By Tonalist, Owner Calls Win "Coward's Way Out"

  • Zach Berger

If you haven’t already heard, California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid was stopped short at the Belmont Stakes this evening at Long Island’s Belmont Park. Tonalist went on the win the race as California Chrome, attempting an outside move late in the race, just didn’t have the gas to pull off the victory in the home stretch, finishing in fifth place to the disappointment of a crowd topping 100,000 in attendance.

Here’s a look at the home stretch as Tonalist pulled ahead of Commissioner for the win:

The Triple Crown drought, at 36 years since Affirmed took the trifecta of horse races in 1978, will live on. But the interesting story that has arisen since the race came courtesy of California Chrome’s owner, Steve Coburn, who was understandably upset after all the hype and expectations came crashing down at Belmont.

Check out the bitter, wreck of a post-race interview from Coburn, featuring some raw emotion and plenty of anger:

“He didn’t have it in him, apparently,” Coburn said about California Chrome’s loss, before pivoting and beginning an assault on the Belmont field. “These other horses… they sit them out and try to upset the apple cart.

“It’s not fair to these horses that have been in the game since day one,” Coburn continued.

“This is a coward’s way out, in my opinion,” Coburn said, his voice rising while he repeatedly pointed at Tonalist in the winner’s circle. “This is a coward’s way out!”

Coburn said that only the 20 horses in the Kentucky Derby should be able to compete in the other two Triple Crown races. He then finished the exchange with a third, “This is the coward’s way out!”

While Coburn is right in thinking that Tonalist’s victory was certainly helped by his fresh legs in relation to some of the other horses in the race, that’s what makes the Triple Crown so difficult to win. A total of 12 horses have done it already, beating fresh horses along the way, so it’s kind of off base for Coburn to point the finger at Tonalist.

Even so, we have a great blowup interview to enjoy and analyze for the coming days.