Mystik Dan wins 150th Kentucky Derby in photo finish

Mystik Dan (18-1) won the 150th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, and a photo finish was needed to check the result.

It was the first time in 28 years that the Kentucky Derby was won by a nose, and just the 10th ever.

Track Phantom (41-1) and Just Steel (21-1) led at the ¾ mile mark, with the 3-1 favorite in Fierceness in third.


Kentucky Derby winner

Mystik Dan #3, ridden by jockey Brian J. Hernandez Jr. crosses the finish line to win the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 04, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

But Mystik Dan, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., was on the inside and busted through the pack after the final turn.

Mystik Dan led by several lengths in the final stretch, but Sierra Leone, the second-highest favorite at 5-1) crept up on the outside, pushing Japanese horse Forever Young toward the railing.

Those three horses were within noses of each other, but it was Mystik Dan’s that crossed the line first.

Fierceness, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt, was the 3-1 morningline favorite to win the Run of the Roses., but 

Churchill Downs

A general view of Churchill Downs ahead of the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 06, 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

This year’s race came with much less controversy than last year’s, as a dozen horses died at Churchill Days in the days, and even hours, leading up to that race.

Notably absent from this year’s race will be Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who’s two-year ban was extended through 2024, making this the third Kentucky Derby in which a Baffert-trained horse will not be competing. 

A six-time winner at the Derby, Baffert was banned after 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit was stripped of the title following a failed post-race drug test – the horse died of a heart attack that December.

Churchill Downs race track

Visitors check out the new $200 million paddock at Churchill Downs Wednesday, May 1, 2024, in Louisville, Ky. The 150th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 4.  (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)


Mystik Dan will now officially begin the quest for a Triple Crown at the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course on May 18.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates…

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