Steve Coburn, co-owner of California Chrome, returned to television the morning of June 9 to apologize for comments he made after the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 7 and on television the following day.
"I'm very ashamed of myself," Coburn told Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America" on ABC. "I need to apologize to a lot of people."
California Chrome, also owned by Perry Martin, won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I) to give himself a shot at the Triple Crown. The Lucky Pulpit colt finished in a dead heat for fourth with Wicked Strong after injuring his foot at the start of the Belmont.
Coburn took shots at the connections of victorious Tonalist, who is owned by Robert S. Evans and trained by Christophe Clement. He questioned why "fresh" horses that don't compete in the first two legs of the Triple Crown should get to run the Belmont, and called it "cowardly."
"I did not mean to take anything away from them," Coburn told Roberts. "I'd like to congratulate them and tell them they have a fantastic horse. He deserved to win the race fair and square."
Coburn also apologized to his wife, who sat beside him on the set; Martin; trainer Art Sherman and his crew; racing fans; and "the whole horse racing world" for his statements.
Roberts asked Coburn if "celebration" before the race was a factor in his reaction and comments.
"I apologize. I sincerely apologize," Coburn said. "I wanted so much for this horse to win the Triple Crown for the people of America. I was very emotional. It was the emotion of everything coming together at one time. It's a learning process. I'm going to do better."
Carolyn Coburn said she tried to calm down her husband immediately after the Belmont.
"I'm proud of him (for coming on the show)," she said. "It's something we needed to have done. Our story has given so much to so many people, and I hope this 30 seconds doesn't destroy that. That wasn't normally the way he is."
Steve Coburn said California Chrome will need 10 days to two weeks to get over his injury and will race again this year.