Mario Gutierrez celebrates after winning the 2012 Preakness Stakes.

Gutierrez, Nyquist third at Preakness Stakes

Horse won't run at Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the Triple Crown, due to illness.

The dream of winning horse racing’s Triple Crown is over for former South Surrey resident Mario Gutierrez.

The 29-year-old former Hastings Park Racecourse jockey, aboard pre-race favourite horse Nyquist, finished third Saturday at the Preakness Stakes and Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md.

Gutierrez had won the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby – his second career win on the Churchill Downs track –  earlier this month. The third and final event in the prestigious three-race circuit is the Belmont Stakes, set for June 11.

But unlike 2012, in which Gutierrez won the first two races aboard I’ll Have Another before the horse was scratched with an injury before the Belmont, this year’s run ended in Maryland, on a sloppy, muddy track.

The race was won by Exaggerator, who started near the back of the pack before making a late charge into the lead.

By comparison, Gutierrez and Nyquist started fast, but faded down the stretch.

For Gutierrez and Nyquist, it was their nine race, but first-ever loss.

On Sunday, Gutierrez took to Twitter to express his thoughts on the race.

“It was a sad day for us yesterday, but I want to thank all the fans for their support,” he wrote. “I will take this defeat like a champ… there is nothing to blame, it just wasn’t our day.”

A rematch against Exaggerator, however – not to mention a first-ever run at the Belmont Stakes for Gutierrez – will have to wait.

On Tuesday morning, it was announced that Nyquist would not compete at the Belmont due to a high white-blood cell count. The same illness has previously sidelined the horse for five weeks.

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