After a weekend of calling fellow horse owners “cowards” and “cheaters” for running fresh entrants in the Belmont Stakes, California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn said Monday that he needed to apologize “to the world,” including the connections of winner Tonalist.
Appearing on “Good Morning America” with his wife, Carolyn, Coburn told host Robin Roberts that “I’m very ashamed of myself.”
California Chrome was trying to become the 12th Triple Crown winner in Saturday’s Belmont, but he finished tied for fourth. Tonalist, a horse who skipped the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes because he spiked a fever before the Derby, won a close race over Commissioner, another horse who didn’t run in the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
Tonalist was the ninth straight Belmont winner not to have run in the Preakness.
Immediately after the Belmont, Coburn called it “coward’s way out” to run fresh horses in the third leg of the Triple Crown. He even used the word “cheaters” in later interviews. He didn’t back off on his comments Sunday.
But Monday morning he sounded contrite and appeared close to tears, saying “I sincerely apologize” and “I’m going to do better.”