California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn went Sore Loser Supreme after Belmont

A sport that could have used a much-needed boost from Triple Crown headlines instead made news of a different sort. Boorish behavior isn’t limited to the sports that use a ball.
by Berry Tramel Published: June 8, 2014
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photo - California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn, center, reaches for posters to before the Belmont Stakes horse race, Saturday, June 7, 2014, in Elmont, New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn, center, reaches for posters to before the Belmont Stakes horse race, Saturday, June 7, 2014, in Elmont, New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn looks like Wilford Brimley. Turns out, acts like him, too.

Most any bio of Brimley describes the actor as often portraying a “gruff or stodgy old man.” Yep, that’s Coburn, who has moved to the top of America’s sour grapes list.

After California Chrome failed Saturday to win the Belmont Stakes, and thus the Triple Crown, Coburn went Sore Loser Supreme, ranting about the unfairness of it all, how horses could run the Belmont without also running the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness.

Even a night’s sleep didn’t change Coburn’s tune; he babbled on Sunday morning, even suggesting that Cali Chrome running against fresher horses was no more just than Coburn playing basketball against a kid in a wheelchair.

And thus a sport that could have used a much-needed boost from Triple Crown headlines instead made news of a different sort. Boorish behavior isn’t limited to the sports that use a ball.

Coburn, who has been in the racing business going all the way back to 2008, somehow feels a sense of entitlement. He seems to think that the Triple Crown is won in the Preakness and that the Belmont should be mere coronation.

“It says Triple Crown,” Coburn said. “You nominate your horse for the Triple Crown. That means three. Even the Triple Crown trophy has three points on it. So when you earn enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby, those 20 horses that start in the Kentucky Derby should be the only 20 allowed to run in the Preakness and the Belmont for the Triple Crown.”

Coburn appears to be a conspiracy theorist. He called the owners of the Belmont horses who didn’t run in the Derby “cheaters” and “cowards.” Tonalist, who didn’t run in the Derby or the Preakness, won the Belmont; California Chrome tied for fourth.

“These people nominate their horses for the Triple Crown and then they hold out two (races) and then come back and run one,” Coburn told ESPN. “That would be like me at 6-2 playing basketball with a kid in a wheelchair.”

At least Donald Sterling had an excuse. He’s old and his mind’s gone. Coburn is 61 and appears to be in charge of his faculties, if not his logic.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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