Kentucky Derby Ends in Three-Horse Nail-Biter

Mystik Dan prevails in photo finish
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 4, 2024 7:00 PM CDT

Mystik Dan won the 150th Kentucky Derby in a three-horse photo finish, edging out Sierra Leone by a nose with Forever Young third in the tightest finish since 1996 on Saturday, per the AP. Sent off at 18-1 odds, Mystik Dan and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. rode the rail down the stretch with a short lead. Sierra Leone, the second choice at 9-2 odds, and Forever Young from Japan gave chase and pressured the leader to the wire in front of 156,710 at Churchill Downs. It was just the 10th Kentucky Derby decided by a nose—the closest margin in horse racing—and the first since Grindstone wore the garland of red roses in 1996.

The crowd waited several minutes before the result was reviewed by the stewards and declared official. "The longest few minutes of my life," Hernandez said, after he and the colt walked in circles while the stunning result was settled. "To see your number flash up to win the derby, I don't think it will sink in for a while." Fierceness, the 3-1 favorite, finished 15th in the field of 20 3-year-olds. Mystik Dan ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.34 and paid $39.22, $16.32, and $10.

(More Kentucky Derby stories.)

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