Home Kentucky Derby’s 150th running made history when Mystik Dane ‘won by a nose’

Kentucky Derby’s 150th running made history when Mystik Dane ‘won by a nose’

One of America’s oldest sports celebrated 150 years on Saturday at Churchill Downs, Kentucky, with only the 10th time a horse has literally “won by a nose.”

The Kentucky Derby began just before 7 p.m. with 20 Thoroughbreds out of the gates and the audience none the wiser that the already historic race would bring another milestone. Mystik Dan’s win makes him only the 10th horse in Derby history to win “by a nose” in a photo finish.

Minutes passed while Derby officials consulted photo and video footage to determine whether Mystik Dan, Sierra Leone or Forever Young was the official winner. An NBC commentator called the moment “one of the tightest.”

Mystik Dan, favored only 18 to 1 to win the Derby, was ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. in his final race before retirement.

“I think around the fourth turn,” Hernandez, who has ridden racehorses for 20 years, said of when he knew he and Mystik Dan would win the Derby. He was so close to the inside as the horses came to the finish line that Hernandez’s boot hit the rail.

Before the post, country music legend and Kentucky native Wynonna Judd sang “The National Anthem.”

Three-year-old Mystik Dan is owned by Lance Gasaway and Daniel Hamby of Valley View Farm LLC. He was trained by Kenneth McPeek.

Derby favorite, Fierceness, who was speculated to win 18 to 1, came in 15th of Saturday’s 20 competitors.

More than 156,000 were in the audience for Mystik Dan’s Derby win.

Horse racing returns with the 149th Preakness Stakes in Baltimore on Saturday, May 18, 2024.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.