By Annie Ross

Exaggerator rained on Nyquist’s parade at the Preakness.

The Kentucky Derby runner-up won the second leg of horse-racing’s Triple Crown yesterday in the rain and slop at Pimlico Race Course. Nyquist, the Derby winner, started fast but faded in the stretch, finishing third behind longshot Cherry Wine.

Kent Desormeaux, the winning jockey, said the secret to victory was staying close to the rail, shortening the distance Exaggerator had to run, while the other jockeys stayed wide.

Keith Desormeaux, the winning trainer, said he didn’t know what his little brother was doing. “I wanted to strangle him when I saw him go to the rail,” Keith said to laughter in the postrace news conference. “All these other jockeys realize it’s a quagmire by the rail and I’m like, ‘What’s he doing?’ ”