If you watched the Belmont Stakes and stuck around the comments after the race you have no doubt seen California Chrome’s partial owner complain about the Triple Crown setup being unfair. If not, you have likely heard about it since that time, as it has been all over the media, especially since he continued rants on Sunday. Followed by some crow and what I guess we take as a sincere apology this morning. Let me just say, I personally think he should be ashamed and here is my reasoning.
First is the fact that his primary complaint was the format of three big hotly contested races across several states in five weeks. He felt like that was just too much to ask of the horses. Personally, I think given today’s standards, it a schedule that pushes hard, but I come to one major point. It is a campaign – not just one battle, or race if you will. Previous horses that have done it have had the same situation with much less posh travel accommodations than the Triple Crown contender of today has available.
He went onto complain that if you don’t win enough to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, you should not qualify for the other two, this eliminating from the later two a fresh speed horse for the Preakness and a fresh potential distance horse for the Belmont. First, I would like to point out, that the format was changed this year for the Derby. Instead of money earned it is now based on certain races awarding points – that a minor point, but a change that I personally do not like. Beyond that, it has always been that other horses could enter the other two races. That is why winning the Triple Crown takes a special kind of horse, in order to win the campaign against a multitude of challengers.
Let’s face it, if it were limited to only starters of the Derby, we would have a Triple Crown winner every three or four years, and the special place for such a horse would not be nearly so, well, special. Not to mention, the huge disservice that would be given to every horse that has won two, but not the third in the past (I am not sure, but I think there have been ten since the last triple to win two of them).
Yes, some things are tradition and a bit sentimental, but bottom line, somethings should not be changed. This is definitely one of them. As I have said before, many times, it takes a really special horse to win the Triple Crown and that is what I want for any future Triple Crown winners, if it is in my lifetime or not.