Rombauer has left Medina Spirit behind to win the Preakness Stakes and put horse racing's latest controversy on the back burner.
Little-known Rombauer sprung an upset on Saturday, passing Bob Baffert's Kentucky Derby winner to end a potential Triple Crown bid that would have carried a giant asterisk.
Medina Spirit finished third and will not go on to the Belmont, with a potential Kentucky Derby disqualification hanging over the sport.
"A little disappointed, but we'll go on from here," assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, who saddled the horses in Bob Baffert's absence, said.
Baffert was not present at Pimlico Race Course, opting to stay away because of the controversy surrounding Medina Spirit, who tested positive for the steroid betamethasone in post-Derby testing.
He said in a spotlight-stealing statement hours before the race: "Today is not about Bob Baffert. Instead it is about Medina Spirit and all of the other equine athletes in our tremendous sport."
All the focus nonetheless was on favourite Medina Spirit, Baffert and his other Preakness runner, Concert Tour.
Medina Spirit was passed for the first time in his career by Rombauer, who won the 146th running of the Preakness by 3 1/2 lengths over second-place Midnight Bourbon.
Concert Tour was a disappointing ninth in a 10-horse field.
Trainer Michael McCarthy won a Triple Crown race for the first time and captured the Preakness before Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, for whom he worked as an assistant before opening his own barn.
Rombauer is owned by John and Diane Fradkin, a far cry from Medina Spirit's Zedan Racing Stables and other horse racing conglomerates.
The bay colt won for the third time in seven starts.
McCarthy choked back tears while talking about everyone involved with Rombauer.
"Means a lot to be here, participate on a day like this," he said.
"Happy for the Fradkins. Just goes to show you that small players in the game can be successful, as well."
Rombauer busted the bias of horses hugging the rail as French jockey Flavien Prat won the Preakness two years after being elevated to the Derby winner aboard Country House when Maximum Security was disqualified.
"Of course it's a lot different when you cross the wire first: You get that feeling," Prat said.
"It's a lot of joy."
The Preakness was run in front of a limited capacity of 10,000 fans, a fraction of the crowd of 100,000-plus that typically packs Pimlico on the third Saturday in May.
Masks were still required because of city and track protocols surrounding coronavirus.