Mystik Dan wins 150th Kentucky Derby in photo finish


Mystik Dan (18-1) won the 150th Kentucky Derby Saturday in a photo finish.

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

Track Phantom (41-1) and Just Steel (21-1) led up until the ¾-mile mark, with Fierceness, the 3-1 favorite, in third. Mystik Dan, though, held the inside right behind them.


photo finish

Mystik Dan, ridden by jockey Brian J. Hernandez Jr. crosses the finish line to win the 150th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs May 4, 2024, in Louisville, Ky. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

But Mystik Dan, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., busted through the pack after the final turn. After the turn, Fierceness fell way behind.

Mystik Dan led by several lengths in the final stretch, but Sierra Leone (9-2), the second-highest favorite, crept up from 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.

Sierra Leone finished second and Forever Young finished third, while Fierceness finished 15th, 24½ lengths behind.

Churchill Downs

A general view of Churchill Downs ahead of the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby May 6, 2023, in Louisville, Ky.  (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

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

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

A six-time winner at the Derby, Baffert was banned after 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit was stripped of the title due to 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. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)


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

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