First off, I know little or nothing about horse racing, but I am disturbed by the indignant abuse being heaped on Steve Coburn for his comments after his horse, California Chrome lost it’s triple crown bid. I know enough that the triple crown is the gold standard for equine accomplishment, and even flirtation with the triple crown is on some level historic. The clear frustration of falling short combined with Coburn’s inarticulate rant have combined to obscure a rather obvious bit of bullshit.
Coburn’s point is that only three horses ran all three triple crown races, and advantage was gained by the horses who were fresher for not having run all three races. This is a perfectly logical point that validly calls into question the meaning of the triple crown.
In Coburn’s conception, the triple crown is akin to a championship to be pursued by a defined field of competitors under standardized rules, like NASCAR or even an NBA title. Horses qualify to compete in the triple crown races, and but for injury are obliged to compete in all three insuring a level playing field of sorts.
I assume, though there responsive indignation has left this open to interpretation, the opposing view is that the triple crown is an individual pursuit of historic glory, and that by sheer talent, ambition and audacity, a horse may take it’s place along side Secretariat and other legends by choosing to run and win all three races regardless or in spite of competition. This is more like Jesse Owens or Carl Lewis seeking multi-gold, multi-discipline glory.
Each conception has it’s place, but let it behind defined by thought not blowhards.