WASHINGTON -- The governor of the state that hosts the first leg of horse racing's Triple Crown says he doesn't want to see any changes to the system, despite protests from the latest near-winner.
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) told The Huffington Post that he opposes a proposal that would require horses to compete in the Kentucky Derby if they also wanted to compete in the latter two races.
"Personally, I like the system the way it is," he said.
Beshear was responding to a complaint from Steve Coburn, the co-owner of California Chrome, which won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes this year but lost the Belmont Stakes. Coburn argued that it was unfair that horses were allowed to compete in the final race without running in the first two.
"It's not fair to these horses that are running their guts out," Coburn said. "This is a coward's way out ... If you've got a horse that earns points, that runs in the Kentucky Derby, those horses should be the only ones who should run in all three races."
In theory, such a proposal would make the Derby a more attractive race for horse owners. But Beshear's concern, he explained, was about the continuity and legacy of the Triple Crown.
"There have been some horses that have won the Triple Crown and they’ve had to go through the same thing that California Chrome did," said Beshear. "Just from a historical standpoint, I would hate to see us having to start put an asterisk around a Triple Crown winner because they won it under different circumstances."