Trainer Keith Desormeaux and his jockey brother Kent aboard Exaggerator now turn their attention to the Belmont Stakes in three weeks after their horse overtook rival Nyquist to win the 141st Preakness Stakes.
Kent Desormeaux, a Hall of Fame jockey, called it a "dream trip" after Exaggerator upset Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist on a sloppy track Saturday.
The Desormeaux brothers have a special trainer-jockey relationship as they turn their attention to the third jewel of the Triple Crown on June 11.
"I'm just an old county boy working in the trenches these last 30 years, and now we're competing on the highest level," the trainer told the Baltimore Sun on Sunday morning outside Exaggerator's stall at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. "My emotions are more toward gratitude and satisfaction at getting to this level. The rivalry or the fun, it's there but it doesn't matter who's in the race. It's the fact we're competing at this level."
Exaggerator will remain at Pimlico for about a week before shipping to New York for the Belmont.
Exaggerator likely will continue the rivalry with Nyquist in the 1-1/2-mile race for a sixth meeting and also face Preakness runner-up Cherry Wine.
In addition, Kentucky Derby runners Suddenbreakingnews, Brody's Cause and Destin are expected to run in the Belmont, the longest leg of the Triple Crown.
Trainer Doug O'Neill said Sunday that Nyquist will ship to Belmont Park on Monday.
O'Neill again blamed himself rather than jockey Mario Gutierrez for the aggressive start as the previously undefeated Nyquist appeared to tire in the final stretch for a third-place finish.
"Even the great Secretariat got beat,'' O'Neill told the Louisville Courier-Journal. "They're not machines, as much as he would seem like a machine, being undefeated and doing everything like a super horse. He is a super horse.
"He ran his race. Exaggerator just ran an unbelievable race. I think Exaggerator has shown in the past, he's just a really good horse and caught us on a day where he beat us.''
O'Neill said Nyquist came out of the Preakness in good shape.
"He looked great. He looked fantastic. Ate up well; legs ice-cold; jogging good. So I'm very happy," O'Neill said Sunday. "And the plan at this point is to van to New York (Monday). We're heading to Belmont, and as long as he continues to show good energy, does well, we'll try this again in three weeks.''
Nyquist was hoping to follow in the steps of American Pharoah, who ended a 37-year drought of Triple Crown winners last year.
"That was kind of the plan, to try to point to the Triple Crown, all three races, and ideally win all three," O'Neill said. "But I thought he ran a real gutsy race (Saturday), and just wanted to make sure he looked good (Sunday) morning before committing to going to the Belmont."