Moments after I'll Have Another registered a rousing, come-from-behind victory in the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby, the horse's trainer Doug O'Neill was already talking about the Triple Crown.
Accompanied by his young son on the track, O'Neill bellowed, "Maryland, here we come baby!"
With the first leg of horse racing's fabled Triple Crown checked off, I'll Have Another will head to Pimlico in Maryland for the Preakness Stakes (and then hopefully out to Long Island for the Belmont) with hopes of becoming the first three-year-old to sweep all three crown jewel events in a single season since Affirmed accomplished the trick in 1978.
2012 Triple Crown Schedule
The Preakness Stakes: May 19
The Belmont Stakes: June 9
The last horse to come close was Big Brown in 2008, who had a dismal showing at the Belmont after capturing the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Can I'll Have Another succeed where so many others have failed?
If so, I'll Have Another will join an elite group of horses, including Secretariat and Whirlaway.
Steve Cauthen raises his whip to speed Affirmed, right, toward the finish lines. Alydar is driven home by Jorge Velasquez in the final stretch of the Belmont Stakes race at Belmont Race track in Elmont, New York on Saturday, June 12, 1978. Affirmed won, becoming a triple crown victor. (AP Photo/Perez)
Jockey Jean Cruget stands up in his saddle and celebrates after guiding Seattle Slew to victory in the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. on June 11, 1977. The win gives Slew horse racing's Triple Crown. (AP Photo)
Secretariat and jockey Ron Turcotte pose in the winner's circle after winning the 1973 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on May 5, 1973. Secretariat won the 99th Run for the Roses in a record 1:59 2/5, becoming the first horse to complete the 1 1/4-mile course for the Kentucky Derby in less than two minutes. Holding on at left is groom Ed Sweet. (AP Photo)
Citation is shown in the winner's circle after taking a bow at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Ca., on July 21, 1951. Citation, the first race horse to win $1 million, was retired to stud on July 20. Standing with "Big Cy," from left, are, owner Lucille Parker Wright, trainer Jimmy Jones, holding bridle, and exercise boy Freeman McMillen. (AP Photo)
Assault, far left, thunders down to the finish line to win the 72nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on May 4, 1946. Spy Song, with the white-marked forehead, finished second and Hampden, left from Spy Song, was third. Assault went on to win the Triple Crown. (AP Photo)
Jockey Johnny Longden is seated on Count Fleet in New York on May 22, 1943. Longden rode Count Fleet to thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, with victories in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. (AP Photo)
Whirlaway is draped with the floral tribute in the winner's circle at Belmont Park, N.Y., on June 7, 1941 after winning the Belmont Stakes race of the Triple Crown with jockey Eddie Arcaro. Trainer Ben Jones holds the bridle. (AP Photo)
War Admiral, with Charles Kurtsinger up, approaches the finish line to win the $50,000 Widener Cup at Hialeah racetrack at Hialeah, Fla., on March 5, 1938. (AP Photo)
Omaha, winner of racing's Triple Crown in 1935, stands with Morton Porter in the Nebraska City pasture where he is spending his last days on May 1, 1957. The farm is owned by Grove Porter, Nebraska Racing Commissioner and father of Morton. (AP Photo)
Famous jockey "The Earl of Sande" up on his third Kentucky Derby winner Gallant Fox after the finish of the classic at Churchill Downs, Kentucky on May 19, 1930. (AP Photo)
This is a photo of thoroughbred Sir Barton, winner of the 44th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churhill Downs on the first Saturday in May 1919. Sir Barton, foaled at Hamburg Place, Lexington, Ky., was the first Triple Crown winner in 1916. (AP Photo)