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Nation & World

California Chrome co-owner apologizes for outburst

California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn calls from the grandstand at Belmont Park after his horse finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes horse race, Saturday, June 7, 2014, in Elmont, N.Y.
California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn calls from the grandstand at Belmont Park after his horse finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes horse race, Saturday, June 7, 2014, in Elmont, N.Y.

NEW YORK — California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn apologized Monday for his bitter remarks after his horse failed to win the Triple Crown.

Coburn said on ABC's "Good Morning America" he was "very ashamed of myself. Very ashamed. I need to apologize to a lot of people, including my wife, Carolyn."

She tried to intervene as Saturday's interview got out of control, explaining that her husband was "very emotional and I was trying to calm him down."

Coburn also apologized to the connections of winning horse Tonalist, saying: "I did not mean to take anything away from them."

On Saturday, he had said that Tonalist took "the coward's way out" by skipping the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Sunday, he doubled down by pointing out that "it wouldn't be fair if I played basketball with a child in a wheelchair because I got an unfair advantage."

By Monday though, he tried to make amends. Coburn's lower lip quivered at times during the interview in which he apologized to co-owner Perry Martin and trainer Art Sherman, among others.

"I need to apologize to the world and America, our fans that have written us, given us so much support. I apologize, I sincerely apologize," Coburn said. "This is America's horse. I wanted this so much, for this horse to win the Triple Crown for the people of America."

If the Belmont had only been open to horses than ran in the Derby and Preakness, there would have been just three horses in Saturday's race, making it unlikely the third-largest crowd of 102,199 would have shown up or that a record $19,105,877 would have been wagered on-track.

California Chrome, General a Rod and Ride On Curlin were the only horses to run in all three. General a Rod finished seventh in the Belmont and Ride On Curlin did not finish.

California Chrome beat them both, but finished tied for fourth, possibly as a result of a cut foot that he apparently sustained after bumping another horse leaving the starting gate.

"He'll be able to race again," Coburn said.

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