Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Mystik Dan

April 1st, 2024

Mystik Dan impressed in the Southwest (G3) on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, saving ground over a muddy track before bursting through along the rail to dominate by eight lengths. In the process, he finished remarkably fast, running his final sixteenth of a mile in :05.93.

But a subsequent third-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Arkansas Derby (G1) raises an important question—does Mystik Dan have the pedigree to stretch out over 1 1/4 miles in the Kentucky Derby (G1)?

Mystik Dan is a son of Goldencents, a two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). Goldencents stretched his speed over 1 1/8 miles to win the Santa Anita Derby (G1), but classic distances proved out of reach; he finished 17th in the Kentucky Derby and fifth in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness (G1).

At stud, Goldencents is generally a source of speed. His progeny win at an average distance of just 6.5 furlongs, so at first glance he doesn’t seem like the type of stallion to sire a Kentucky Derby winner.

But the most accomplished sons and daughters of Goldencents have proven reasonably long-winded. Going to Vegas won two editions of the 1 1/4-mile Rodeo Drive (G1) on turf. By My Standards won the Louisiana Derby (G2), Oaklawn H. (G2), and New Orleans Classic (G2) racing 1 1/8 miles. Phantom Currency handled 1 3/8 miles on turf to win the Mac Diarmida (G2), and Mr. Money cleaned up a quintet of Grade 3 stakes over distances from one mile to 1 1/8 miles.

In other words, we can’t write off Goldencents as being “too speedy” to sire a Kentucky Derby winner. The sire of Goldencents, five-time leading North American sire Into Mischief, is likewise a source of speed whose progeny win at an average distance of 6.8 furlongs. Yet despite his reputation for passing on speed, Into Mischief has sired Kentucky Derby winners Authentic and Mandaloun.

Furthermore, Mystik Dan doesn’t have to rely exclusively on Goldencents for stamina. His dam is Ma’am, a four-time winner over distances from one mile to 1 1/16 miles. Ma’am is a daughter of Colonel John, a long-winded runner who won the Santa Anita Derby and the 1 1/4-mile Travers (G1) during his accomplished career.

Colonel John hasn’t set the world on fire at stud, though his progeny have won at the solid average distance of 7.1 furlongs, indicating he passes on at least some stamina. This is apparent among his most accomplished runners, like 1 1/4-mile Rodeo Drive (G1) winner Mirth, 1 1/8-mile Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) winner La Coronel, 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) victor Airoforce, 1 1/8-mile West Virginia Derby (G3) hero Colonelsdarktemper, and 1 1/2-mile Dowager (G3) winner Gentle Ruler.

Daughters of Colonel John have also foaled a few noteworthy route racers, such as the Grade 1-placed Pat Day Mile (G2) winner Rushie, 1 1/16-mile New York Derby winner Bankit, and 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial (G2) runner-up Society Man. The latter is expected to join Mystik Dan in the 2024 Kentucky Derby starting gate.

Mystik Dan might not have the stoutest pedigree among the 2024 Kentucky Derby contenders, but there’s enough stamina mixed in to suggest victory over 1 1/4 miles is at least a possibility.