"I just hope this isn't only because of the muddy track because he's been training phenomenally all week", said trainer Keith Desormeaux was winning his first US Classic and is now looking towards the Belmont Stakes in three weeks' time for a potential second.
Why Nyquist will not go to NY with a chance to give a struggling industry a second straight Triple Crown will be the subject of debate for at least the next three weeks if he and Exaggerator accept the opportunity to resume a rivalry that already included four races which, of course, all were won by Nyquist.
Nyquist, the third-place finisher, had been favored to win the race, after becoming the eighth unbeaten horse to win the Kentucky Derby on May 7.
The victory was the third in the Preakness for Kent Desormeaux.
Saturday's Preakness came after a record crowd of 47,956 attended Friday's Black-Eyed Susan Day program.
Exaggerator was the victor of Saturday's Preakness Stakes and the name seemed apt on an afternoon that was all about hyperbole at Pimlico in Maryland.
Another horse also died at Pimlico Race Course Saturday and a jockey broke a collarbone after a spill on a damp, rainy day.
And now, it's on the Belmont Stakes for Exaggerator.
As the field broke, Nyquist bolted out to a lightning-quick pace early as Desormeaux sat back before sliding up the rail to eventually surge down the final stretch.
While racing alongside early pacesetter Uncle Lino from the start of the 13⁄16-mile second leg of the Triple Crown, Nyquist became involved in the fastest first-quarter of a mile in the history of the Preakness (22.38 seconds).
In 2015, American Pharoah won the second jewel of the Triple Crown in a driving storm.
"With a horse like Nyquist, I'm not overly concerned about the weather", trainer Doug O'Neill said on a bright, sunny Friday morning.
"He's run on every track that's been put before him and that may prove to be an advantage", Exaggerator's trainer Keith Desormeaux said.
"I can't even fathom this", Desormeaux said.
This was the fifth attempt by Exaggerator to defeat Nyquist who entered the Preakness undefeated with eight victories.
"We all feel privileged to have been a part of his life", she said. All the pressure was on Nyquist to keep the record flawless.
Desormeaux, who reported that the son of 2007 Preakness champion Curlin will remain at Pimlico for up to a week before being shipped to Belmont, expressed confidence in his trainee's ability to negotiate the longest leg of the Triple Crown.
"Homeboykris hasn't taken a bad step since we've had him", Chris Campitelli said. "So I'm very happy", O'Neill said Sunday.
"Hats off to team Exaggerator".
Maybe he went out too fast and simply got overtaken by a horse that ran a flawless race.
Exaggerator, trained by Kent's brother Keith, loved the Baltimore slop, and when Uncle Lino was hitting the 1-mile mark like it was a wall and started to fade, the victor was pulling ahead.