LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The American Pharoah hangover is over for Bob Baffert, Victor Espinoza and Ahmed Zayat -- and maybe everyone else.
With Nyquist winning the Kentucky Derby on Saturday and heading to the Preakness in two weeks with an unbeaten record, Triple Crown chatter now turns to racing's newest star.
Baffert's Derby hopes on Saturday rested with Mor Spirit. But the Santa Anita Derby runner-up was never in contention and finished 10th under jockey Gary Stevens.
Espinoza, meanwhile, was bidding to become the first rider to win three consecutive Derbys. He was a late replacement aboard Whitmore, who was in fifth place with about a half-mile to go but faded and finished 19th in the 20-horse field at Churchill Downs.
Zayat, the owner of American Pharoah, did not have a horse in the Derby, and was home in New Jersey.
Espinoza, a winner of five of the past six Triple Crown races heading into Derby, said "I had a great trip around the first turn, but it felt like he was just spinning his wheels."
The jockey won the Derby and Preakness aboard California Chrome in 2014, and then was along for the magic ride on American Pharoah. This time, it was no go.
"I felt like he was uncomfortable the entire race. He never picked up the bridle," Espinoza said. "It's just how it goes sometimes. Sometimes they like the track and sometimes they're picky. He's one of those. It was a great, great race. The winner, I knew he was the one to beat and he got the perfect trip."
Baffert and his crew visited American Pharoah on Monday at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., about an hour's drive east of Louisville.
"When I saw Pharoah, I got a little lump in my throat," Baffert said. "I think he recognized us. He hasn't changed at all. He's still a sweet horse, and he still loves people."
Luis Quinonez, a five-time riding champion at Shakopee's Canterbury Park, rode 20-1 long shot Suddenbreakingnews to a fifth-place finish. Quinonez was making his Derby debut at the age of 49.
It was absolutely pouring rain about 1 ½ hours before the start of the race. But after coming down in sheets, the rain let up after about 10 minutes and the sun came out.