I applaud the proposal by Tom Chuckas of the Maryland Jockey Club to modify the Triple Crown schedule. Even the owner of Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist said it would be "better for the horses" if the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont were spread out. ("California Chrome fairy tale turns grim after owner's 'cowards' tirade," June 8)
Thousands of people who have never been to a race were captivated by the California Chrome story and wanted to see a Triple Crown winner. The justification "that we have always done it this way" is an absurd reason for not adjusting this grueling schedule, cruel to horses like Chrome who ran all three races.
Secretariat owner Penny Chenery can rest assured that changing this entrenched format would not detract from her horse's amazing 1973 win.
Chrome was our hero. We wanted a happy, fairy-tale ending for him and us. How sad that we didn't get one.
The owner of California Chrome was totally correct to say that any horse attempting to win the Triple Crown should be matched against horses who have run in all three races.
Should teams vying for the Stanley Cup in the NHL have to work their way to the finals, or can one be permitted to rest for a month and then play? Do all the NBA teams have to go through the same rigorous playoff system to reach the finals, or can one conference have one of its teams not play until the finals?
It seems grossly unfair to permit a horse to sit out the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness, or both, and then swoop in and run in the Belmont, all rested and fresh, against a horse that has recently run two difficult races.
Steve Coburn, the co-owner of California Chrome, perhaps might have chosen more elegant language in his post-race comments, but he was absolutely right.
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