Mystik Dan wins 150th Kentucky Derby in photo finish

The 150th Kentucky Derby delivered a stunner: Mystik Dan (18-1) won the Run for the Roses in a three-horse photo finish at Churchill Downs, narrowly edging out Forever Young by a nose and Sierra Leone by a nostril to win.

Mystik Dan, who won from the third post, paid out $39.22 to win, $16.32 to place (top two) and $10.00 to show (top three).

The thrilling win is the first Kentucky Derby victory in the career of trainer Ken McPeek and the first for jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.

The McPeek-Hernandez pair also won the Kentucky Oaks on Friday with Thorpedo Anna. McPeek is just the fourth trainer ever, and the first since 1952, to win the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby in the same year.

“Brian just did an amazing job. I mean, just a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant jockey in-ride,” McPeek said while still waiting for an official ruling on the finish from Churchill Downs. “Brian’s amazing. Probably one of the most underrated riders in racing. But not anymore.”

“This is unbelievable,” Hernandez said, still mounted atop Mystik Dan. “That was the longest few minutes I’ve ever felt in my life, waiting for them to hang that number up … It’s hard to put into words.”

Mystik Dan is owned by Lance Gasaway and the 4G Racing team of Brent Gasaway (Lance’s cousin) and Brent’s wife Sharilyn. He’s also owned by Daniel Hamby III and his brother, Scott Hamby of Valley View Farm.

Saturday is the one-year anniversary of Lance Gasaway’s father’s passing. “It’s for him,” Gasaway said. “He’s smiling down on us.”

This year’s Kentucky Derby was billed as relatively unpredictable, compared to years past, and Mystik Dan proved why: He had the seventh-best odds in the Derby field, well behind favorites such as Fierceness and Sierra Leone.

Despite entering as the heavy favorite at 3-1, Fierceness finished 15th. But the greatest heartbreak came for the team of Sierra Leone, who entered with 9/2 odds and came up impossibly short after a characteristically strong finish.

“It’s a tough one,” trainer Chad Brown said. “But it’s professional sports. And when you’re at this level, you’re gonna win some and lose some, and often times, it’s a game of inches.”

Sierra Leone paid out $6.54 to place and $4.64 to show. Forever Young paid out $5.58 to show.

A $2 exacta with the correct 1-2 paid out $258.56. A $1 trifecta with the correct 1-2-3 paid out $1,113.84. And a $1 superfecta with the exact 1-2-3-4 returned a whopping $8,254.00.

Next up for Mystik Dan, should he compete — Lance Gasaway said it’ll be a discussion — is the 149th Preakness Stakes on May 18 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. on NBC and Peacock.

Full Race Results for 2024 Kentucky Derby

1. Mystik Dan
2. Sierra Leone
3. Forever Young
4. Catching Freedom
5. T O Password
6. Resilience
7. Stronghold
8. Honor Marie
9. Endlessly
10. Dornoch
11. Track Phantom
12. West Saratoga
13. Domestic Product
14. Epic Ride
15. Fierceness
16. Society Man
17. Just Steel
18. Grand Mo the First
19. Catalytic
20. Just a Touch
SCR. Encino
SCR. Mugatu

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