Monday, June 9, 2014

Coburn bites off more than he can chew

From where I sit it looks like there is some major controversy over the Belmont Stakes...


I can fully appreciate how Steve Coburn feels. It's frustrating to say the least. I have never seen a Triple Crown winner. I wasn't born when Affirmed won in 1978. Every year we all go in hoping to see history, but once again we are greeted with disappointment. For the majority of sports fans the only time they pay attention to horse racing is the Triple Crown. There have been plenty of close calls in the years since Affirmed. But this one seems particularly galling. It was the glorious underdog, with the blue collar owners taking on the establishment. In other words it had the making of a perfect Hollywood script. And since we all grew up on the ideal of a perfect ending, this felt like it should be preordained. Sorry gang, but reality and the rules got in the way. To begin with there's the basic principle of sport: For every winner there is a loser. I'm sure the Miracle on Ice played out much differently in the USSR. Bill Buckner, Steve Bartman and Ralph Branca all have their names etched in history for their part in losing. That's the reality of life. California Chrome will be remembered as a great horse, who came up one race short. The other issue is the use of fresh horses. And that just comes back to the whole idea of playing by the rules. Any eligible horse can be entered in any or all of the races. It's that simple. Coburn can stand screaming in self-righteous indignation until he's blue in the face. But he's still the newcomer taking on a couple centuries of horse racing. Nevermind the lack of a Triple Crown winner since 1978, there hasn't been an English Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky in 1970 and he's the only post World War 2 winner. The point is that it's hard to do. And that's what keeps people tuning in. The chance, however remote it might be, that some day we will see a horse beat all comers and write his name in hsitory.

At least that's how I see it, and I sit in the cheap seats.

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