Mystik Dan Upsets Racehorse Favorite To Win Kentucky Derby In Photo Finish

Two horses racing on dirt track.

Two horses racing on dirt track.

The 150th Kentucky Derby was Saturday, May 4, 2024, at Churchill Downs in Kentucky. The race came down to the finish line and the winner had to be determined by a picture. Out of three horses, the winner was Mystik Dan.


On Saturday morning, there were several top contenders. Catching Freedom was 7-1, Forever Young (JPN) was 6-1, Sierra Leone was 5-1, and Fierceness, the favorite, was 3-1; Mystik Dan was 15-1. [1]

The Race

The highly-anticipated horse race took place right before 7:00 pm on Saturday. Fierceness was in the lead a lot of the race but Mystik Dan took the lead in the back stretch. Mystik Dan’s lead soon shrank as Sierra Leone and Forever Young caught up to him. [2] The three horses were so close at the finish line, the officials had to review pictures before announcing the winner.


After about ten minutes of waiting, the spectators knew the first, second, and third place finishers: Mystik Dan was first, Sierra Leone was second, and Forever Young was third. The race was the first time in 28 years that the Kentucky Derby was won by a nose and just the 10th time ever. [3]


Mystik Dan’s owners, Sharilyn and Brent Gasaway, said that they are unsure if Mystik Dan will run in the Preakness on May 18th. They said that it will be “all about the health of the horse.” [4]

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