Medina Spirit and jockey John Velazquez tried the same tactics in the Preakness Stakes that propelled them to an upset victory in the Kentucky Derby.
A longshot stretch runner made sure there would be no Triple Crown this year.
Rombauer rolled past the tiring favorites down the stretch and pulled off an 11-1 upset at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Saturday.
Rombauer secured a 3 1/2-length triumph over runner-up Midnight Bourbon while Medina Spirit faded to third, 5 ½ lengths behind the winner, after setting the early pace.
Rombauer's trainer Michael W. McCarthy was making his debut in a Triple Crown race. Jockey Flavien Prat won his second Triple Crown race, though the first came in the controversial running of the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
Prat was aboard another longshot that day, Country House, who finished second under the wire but was placed first after Maximum Security was disqualified for interference.
Prat moved from France to the U.S. in 2015.
"I knew a lot about the Breeder's Cup but the Triple Crown, I didn't know much about it," Prat said in a post-race TV interview. "Since I'm here, I realize how important it is. There's so much history behind these races. To win one is amazing. To win the Preakness, it's even better."
Medina Spirit's Derby win was marred days later when he tested positive for betamethasone, a corticosteroid drug. He was allowed to run in the Preakness only after passing pre-race drug tests. Medina Spirit was the lukewarm favorite for the Preakness at 2-1 odds.
His trainer, Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, didn't even attend the race. He chose to stay in California to stay out of the spotlight and avoid being a distraction.
McCarthy was under the radar until his horse cruised up around the final turn and roared past Midnight Bourbon, who pressed Medina Spirit for the early lead.
"At the 3 ½-furlong pole, I saw some horses around him, moving and not really going anywhere," he said. "Coming to the half-mile pole, I started to get a little excited. The two horses in front of him were traveling well (but) at the eighth pole, it was like an out of body experience. Fantastic."
Keepmeinmind rallied for the fourth spot.
Rombauer did not run in the Derby after finishing third in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 3. He won his 3-year-old debut in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate's synthetic track in California. The Blue Grass was his only other 3-year-old start.
Rombauer won only one of his four starts as a 2-year-old and finished fifth in the Breeders Cup Juvenile at Keeneland in November.
Rombauer paid $25.60 to win. The $2 exacta with Midnight Bourbon paid $98.60 and the $2 trifecta was worth $325.40.
McCarthy was previously the top assistant to Todd Pletcher, who was elected to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame earlier this month. Pletcher has won five Triple Crown races but has come up empty in the Preakness, including his entrant Unbridled Honor on Saturday.
"Strange to believe I've won something he hasn't," McCarthy said. "I'm sure that won't last for long."
The final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, will be run on June 5.