It’s a rare opportunity to be invited to the “inner-sanctum.” As a kid you were relegated to find a chair at the kiddie table during Thanksgiving. How many times at work did you watch as were others were invited to the “big meeting” where the issues of the world would be addressed? Yes, it’s fair to say we all have watched and waited for our big chance. Oh, the changes we would make, and our ideas that would flow like a fine Cabernet. Yep, just let us in and we’ll show you what we’re made of. About five minutes after the 146th running of the Belmont stakes. We were treated to a rare glimpse of poor sportsmanship, not thinking, and just being an ass.
This year brought to light drug allegations, mis-treatment of Thoroughbreds, and a questionable crop of three-year-olds running into the pages of history. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, along comes Steve Coburn, one of the co-owners of California Chrome. They brought a modest priced Cal-bred on a winning streak to make a run at the Triple Crown. It had the sound of a fairy tale for the “good old boys” know as DAP Stables, as they took their rags to riches story of “Dumb Ass Partners” to the hilt and captured America’s heart. But making a run at the Mount Everest of racing is tougher than a nickel steak, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. I have read that to truly understand a man, don’t watch while he’s winning. Just watch his reaction and how he carries himself when the chips don’t fall in his direction. Then and only then will we have a better understanding of the person.
There’s a reason they call it “The Sport of Kings.” Winning is easy as you smile and shake hands, and sport that look of gratitude as it shines from your cheeks. But losing is hard. It’s like bluffing in a big poker game as you try not to let others see what you’re holding. Sometimes it creeps out, and we get to see the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde side that you try to hide so well. This weekend was just that and the sport takes another jab to the mid-section. Here is a little glimpse of the Jekyll and Hyde personality we have watched over the last month:
It’s easy to get caught up chasing dreams, and the fall can be worse than the wake-up call you’ll ever receive. I started off with some tough thoughts, and watching the whole picture unfold has helped to me find forgiveness for a sad time in racing. We need to take this to heart and learn from the experience. I don’t want to tear anybody down, and there is no need for any punishment. The weight he will feel for years to come is more than enough to carry. I think we’ll see California Chrome again, and I’ll bet dollars to donuts that we’ll see a new way of thinking from DAP Stables. Maybe his 15 minutes of fame has expired for the Triple Crown run, but I am confident that we haven’t heard the last from this camp. Racing has evolved, changed, and been resilient throughout time. Give it a week or so, and we’ll soon forget about this latest black-eye. Everyone make mistakes, but rarely do we air it out on the biggest stage. My end feelings about the event. Let’s forgive and move forward. File this under “what not to do file” and let’s get on with the races.