Winning with Honor and Losing with Dignity

Wanted: Good Ambassadors for Thoroughbred Racing

 By Art Parker

It is always a great day for thoroughbred racing when a horse attempts to win the Triple Crown by capturing the Belmont Stakes. It is a great day regardless of the outcome because it brings positive attention to the sport. It is a time when racing fans, especially the new fan we all hope to keep as track patrons, become caught up in the story surrounding the prospective Triple Crown winner.

But that great day became a day of embarrassment last Saturday after the Belmont Stakes concluded. And it was an embarrassment not because California Chrome failed to win the Belmont Stakes. The day was an embarrassment because of one of his owners, Steve Coburn, left the impression that the Sport of Kings was a sport of bellyachers and cry babies. When Coburn finished showing his posterior it was abundantly clear to millions watching television that his Derby and Preakness winner has much more class than he does.

Steve Coburn post Belmont Stakes rant

The ultimate sore loser, Steve Coburn

Coburn angrily said this was “the coward’s way out,” a reference to those that did not run in both the Derby and the Preakness. He also suggested that if a horse can’t get points to run in the Derby then the horse should be disallowed from running in the Belmont. (If you search the Internet with minimum effort you will be able to see the interview, and make your own decision about the impression it leaves with the public).

Coburn also said, “I’m sixty one years old and I will never see another Triple Crown winner in my lifetime because of the way they do this.” Well Mr. Coburn, I’m fifty nine and I may never see another Triple Crown winner either, and I don’t want to see one unless a horse truly earns it.

If things were done Coburn’s way there may only be a couple of horses show up for the Belmont Stakes and then the Triple Crown wouldn’t be special, and Coburn would not be concerned about any of this. Maybe this year’s Belmont conditions should have been written to say that only “tired three year olds are eligible for entry.” Since Coburn doesn’t like the way the Churchill, Pimlico and Belmont do things then he should build his own track and hire a racing secretary that will write races the way he (Coburn) thinks they should be written.

I wonder why Coburn didn’t bring forth his complaints about the Triple Crown before the Belmont Stakes. I guess there is nothing to whine about when you’re winning.

It’s too bad that we didn’t hear Coburn congratulate the winner and state how fortunate he (Coburn) is to have the opportunity; the opportunity to have a really good horse that brought a great thrill to his life and fatten his wallet at the same time. It’s too bad Coburn couldn’t say something good about thoroughbred racing.

And, it’s too bad that he failed to win with honor, and lose with dignity. The owner who does that is the owner Thoroughbred racing deserves.