Mystik Dan Wins 150th Kentucky Derby

(Screenshot/X/NBC Sports)

Mariane Angela Contributor
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Underdog Mystik Dan edged out favorites Sierra Leone and Forever Young to clinch an unexpected victory Saturday at the Kentucky Derby, NBC News reported.

In a surprising outcome at the Kentucky Derby, underdog Mystik Dan clinched a historic victory in a thrilling photo-finish. The 20-1 longshot, ridden by jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., narrowly defeated favorites Sierra Leone and Forever Young by just a nose at Churchill Downs, according to NBC News.

Before winning the Kentucky Derby, Mystik Dan had only managed a third-place finish at the Arkansas Derby and a victory at the Grade III Southwest Stakes, NBC News reported. Trained by Kenny McPeek, this Derby win represents McPeek’s first, adding to his resume, which includes training Swiss Skydiver, the 2020 Preakness Stakes champion, and Sarava, the 2002 Belmont Stakes winner.

The victory was especially gratifying for Hernandez. This Derby win is his first, capping a remarkable 24 hours for the McPeek-Hernandez team, which also celebrated a win at the Kentucky Oaks last Friday with Thorpedo Anna.

“I wasn’t sure if we had won,” jockey Hernandez told NBC Sports. “So it was quite a rush to sit here and wait for it.”

The race itself was tense, with favorites Sierra Leone and Forever Young jostling for the lead, a skirmish that may have cost them the race as Mystik Dan surged ahead to claim victory. Despite the disappointment, Sierra Leone’s trainer, Chad Brown, expressed pride in his horse’s performance, acknowledging the tight finish and praising the horse for living up to expectations.(RELATED: Dozens Of Horses Fall Seriously Ill, Several Die. Doctor Blames Toxic Weed)

“I’m so proud of his effort today. The horse did everything we asked him to do,” Brown said, NBC News stated. “It just came up just a little bit short.”

The excitement of the Derby was reflected in the star-studded attendance, with celebrities like Wynonna Judd, Martha Stewart, and sports figures such as Aaron Rodgers and Travis Kelce enjoying the festivities under the iconic twin spires of Louisville, according to NBC News Following his unexpected victory, Mystik Dan now sets his sights on the Preakness Stakes, scheduled for May 18 in Baltimore, as he continues his quest for the coveted Triple Crown.