2024 Kentucky Derby winner: Mystik Dan (18-1) wins the 150th Kentucky Derby

May 4th, 2024

In the closest Kentucky Derby (G1) finish in more than a quarter-century, Mystik Dan surged up the rail and turned back late challenges to win the 150th edition of the historic race by a nose.

Under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., Mystik Dan saved ground all the way around the Churchill Downs oval while rating in behind early leaders Track Phantom, Just Steel, and favored Fierceness, who set fractions of :22.97, :46.63, and 1:11.31 while racing three across the track.

Rounding the final turn, Mystik Dan squeezed through a narrow opening inside of Track Phantom and surged to a daylight lead. Second choice Sierra Leone and Japanese raider Forever Young gradually cut into the margin while racing side by side, but the wire came just in time for Mystik Dan, who dug deep to prevail in a three-horse photo finish.

The winning time for 1 1/4 miles was 2:03.34. Sierra Leone edged Forever Young by a nose for second place, followed by Catching Freedom. T O Password rounded out the top five, followed by Resilience, Stronghold, Honor Marie, Endlessly, Dornoch, Track Phantom, West Saratoga, Domestic Product, Epic Ride, Fierceness, Society Man, Just Steel, Grand Mo the First, Catalytic, and Just a Touch.

The finish was the closest in the Kentucky Derby since 1996, when Grindstone prevailed by a nose. Before that, the last Derby decided by a nose was *Tomy Lee in 1959.

Mystik Dan paid $39.22 to win, $16.32 to place, and $10.00 to show. Sierra Leone paid $6.54 to place and $4.64 to show, while a show bet on Forever Young yielded $5.58. The $2 exacta paid $258.56, the 50-cent trifecta $556.92, the $1 superfecta $8,254.07, and the $1 Super High 5 $316,920.10.

Bred by Lance Gasaway, Daniel Hamby, and 4 G Racing, Mystik Dan is owned by the partnership of Lance Gasaway, 4 G Racing, Daniel Hamby III, and Valley View Farm. He’s trained by Kenny McPeek, who was securing his first Derby win from 10 starters. The day before, McPeek and Hernandez teamed up to win the Kentucky Oaks (G1) with Thorpedo Anna.

Mystik Dan prepped for the Kentucky Derby with a runaway victory in the Southwest (G3) and a third-place finish in the Arkansas Derby (G1). He’s compiled a record of two wins, one second, and one third from six starts, with earnings of $3,741,360.