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Mystik Dan Emerges 2024 Kentucky Derby Winner In A Dramatic Photo Finish

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Underdog Mystik Dan clinched an exhilarating victory at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, securing a career Triple Crown for trainer Kenny McPeek.

In a thrilling three-horse photo finish, Mystik Dan, positioned along the rail, edged out second favorite Sierra Leone and Forever Young by the narrowest of margins, resulting in a dramatic victory that required several minutes to determine.

Despite being initially underestimated with morning line odds of 20-1, Mystik Dan garnered increased faith from fans, ultimately starting the race at 18-1 odds.

Arriving in Louisville with a modest racing record, including a third-place finish at the Arkansas Derby and a victory at the Grade III Southwest Stakes, Mystik Dan’s triumph marked both McPeek and jockey Hernandez’s first Kentucky Derby win.

McPeek, previously known for training notable horses such as Swiss Skydiver and Sarava, praised Hernandez for his exceptional performance during the race.

Covering the 1¼-mile course in 2:03.34, Mystik Dan’s victory overshadowed the disappointing 15th-place finish of the favored contender, Fierceness.

For Hernandez, a rider with a deep familial connection to horse racing, the victory fulfilled a childhood dream he had expressed since the age of six.

Mystik Dan’s path towards the Triple Crown will continue with the 149th running of the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore on May 18.

Leading up to the Derby, Churchill Downs buzzed with excitement as celebrities and prominent figures, including Wynonna Judd, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Martha Stewart, gathered to witness the prestigious event.

Throughout the day, a series of high-stakes races unfolded, with notable victories including Trikari’s upset in the American Turf Stakes, Gun Pilot’s triumph in the Churchill Downs Stakes, and Program Trading’s thrilling win in the Turf Classic Stakes.

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