California Chrome's injury 'superficial'; owner continues criticism

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by Ashley Fantz

WHAS11.com

Posted on June 8, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Updated Sunday, Jun 8 at 11:58 PM

ELMONT, N.Y. (CNN) -- It's going to take two to three weeks for thoroughbred California Chrome to heal from a nasty injury to his hoof, his trainer Art Sherman said Sunday.

"He's got a lot of talent," Sherman said of the colt that was the favorite for the Belmont Stakes but was denied his shot at becoming the first Triple Crown in 36 years. Tonalist was victorious Saturday at the storied race in Elmont, New York. California Chrome finished in a dead heat for fourth with Wicked Strong.

Sherman said the colt's injury occurred during "the first jump."

"He just needs a little time off," Sherman said, explaining that the injury is "superficial" and not "deep." Sherman assured that California Chrome will not be in any pain as his injury is treated in part with a special bandage, and his recuperation will involve some "pasture time."

As to what went wrong for a horse who many thought would win Saturday, Sherman alluded to the amount of racing California Chrome did leading up to the Belmont Stakes.

The colt, which brought in $3.5 million this year, ran his third Triple Crown race in five weeks.

Eleven horses competed in the Belmont Stakes.

Sherman suggested Sunday that, as with any athlete, rest is just as pivotal as racing and training.

"I think you need a little more time between races," he said.

Jockey Victor Espinoza seemed optimistic that Chrome would recover. "Thank you to everyone for your support on this journey, you are awesome! I hope California Chrome gets better soon," he tweeted Saturday evening.

California Chrome's owner Steve Coburn was incensed Saturday that none of the top three finishers had raced in both the Derby and Preakness, the two prerequisites to the Triple Crown.

Those horse owners took "the coward's way out," Coburn blasted.

Coburn didn't ease off his comments Sunday.

On ABC, he was asked whether he regretted his rant.

"Not only no, but hell no," Coburn answered. "I do not regret it one bit. It's the truth."

He was asked if he thought the rules should change so that horses should have to participate in the other two races to run at Belmont.

"Yes I do, I mean think of it this way. OK, it says Triple Crown. You nominate your horse for the Triple Crown -- that means three. The Triple Crown trophy has three points on it. So when you earn enough points to be in the Kentucky Derby, those 20 horses that start in the Kentucky Derby should be the only 20 allowed to run in the Preakness and the Belmont, for the Triple Crown."

At a news conference, Sherman was asked what he thought of Coburn's comments at the race.

Coburn was in "the heat of the moment," he said. "Sometimes your emotions get in front of you."

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