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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Mystik Dan Takes 150th Kentucky Derby in Epically Close Stunner

  • Trainer Kenny McPeek’s horse went off at 18 to 1 odds.
  • The finish, with Sierra Leone coming a close second, took several minutes to make official.
Matt Stone//Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Mystik Dan captured the first leg of racing’s Triple Crown on Saturday, winning the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby in an epic photo finish that required several minutes’ inspection before the victory was made official. Ridden by jockey Brian Hernandez and going off at 18 to 1 odds, trainer Kenny McPeek’s horse, owned by Lance Gasaway, 4 G Racing, and Daniel Hamby, survived a tight squeeze around the final turn and held off the favored Sierra Leone and Forever Young to win in the end.

Saturday’s race marked the first major showcase of Churchill Downs’ new $200 million paddock, following renovations, and notably it again went off without a horse trained by Bob Baffert, who’s serving a ban tied to a failed drug test.

Mystik Dan’s ownership group will collect $3.1 million for the race and now draw the bulk of the attention heading into the Preakness, on May 18. Sierra Leone’s owners (John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Westerberg, Brook Smith, and Peter Brant) collect $1 million for second place, and Forever Young’s owner, Susumu Fujita, takes $500,000 for finishing third.

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