Kentucky Derby 2024: Mystic Don wins by a nose

Louisville, Ky. (AP) — The 150th Kentucky Derby produced a lot more Dramatic results in its storied history – three noses on the wire.

Mystic Dawn struggled desperately to hang with the two challenges that came her way in the final outing. When the closest three-horse photo was sequenced since 1947, he also did so after a delay of several minutes.

That year, Jet Pilot beat Phalanx by one head, another head ahead of Faultless.

It was very tight.

Sierra Leone (2) with jockey Tyler Cafalione, Forever Young with jockey Ryuji Sakai and Mystic Don with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. cross the finish line during the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby horse race, Saturday, May 4, 2024, at Churchill Downs. , Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Kichiro Sato)

Brian Hernandez Jr. rides Mystic Dawn to victory in the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 4, 2024, in Louisville, Ky.  (AP Photo/Brian Anderson)

Brian Hernandez Jr. rides Mystic Dawn to victory in the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 4, 2024, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Brian Anderson)

Mystic Dawn, An 18-1 shot, edge Sierra Leone by a nose and Forever Young by another nose in third place on Saturday. Sierra Leone The most expensive horse in the race was $2.3 million.

Long shots Track Phantom and Just Steel led the field early with 3-1 favorite Fierce Racing racing 3-wide leaders.

At the top of the stretch, everything changed.

The Gulf Coast suddenly found another gear as the track bounced off the phantom rail, opening a hole where Hernandez squeezed the Mystic Dawn. He soon opened up a daylight advantage over the field.

“When he shot that spot, he was able to cut the corner and I told him to go for it,” Hernandez said. “He shot off and I was like, ‘Oh man, I’ve got a great chance to win the Kentucky Derby.’

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Outside Mystic Dawn, Sierra Leone and Forever Young chased down the middle of the lane.

As Mystic Dawn sped off to the rail, Sierra Leone stepped in and slammed Forever Young three times.

As Mystic Dawn got too close to the rail, Hernandez’s boot hit it.

“But I think we can afford another pair of boots,” he said.

The winner’s share of the record $5 million purse was $3.1 million, with the jockey and trainer earning 10% each.

“A smart, smart, smart jockey and rider,” McPeek said. “Brian is one of the most underrated jockeys, but not anymore, is he?”

Sierra Leone, second choice at 9-2 odds, and Forever Young from Japan came to Churchill Downs in front of 156,710 in their biggest crowd since 2018.

“You hit a nose in the Kentucky Derby, it’s a tough one,” Sierra Leone’s trainer Chad Brown said. “But I’m very proud of the horse.”

It was the 10th Kentucky Derby decided by a nose — the closest margin in horse racing — and the first since Grindstone Cavonier wore a wreath of red roses on the edge in 1996.

The crowd waited in the heat and humidity for several minutes before the result was reviewed by the stewards and officially announced.

“The longest few minutes of my life,” said Hernandez, after he and Mystic Dawn walked in circles before the shocking decision was settled. “To see your number to win the Derby, I don’t think it will sink in for a while.”

He finished 15th in the field of 20 3-year-olds. Owner Mike Rebol is 0 for 8 in the Derby. In 2011, he was the favorite with Uncle Mo, who was scratched with illness the day before the race. Last year, Forte was scratched as favorite on the morning of the race with a bruised leg.

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Mystic Dawn ran 1 1/4 miles over a fast track in 2:03.34 and paid $39.22, $16.32 and $10.

Hernandez and trainer Kenny McPeek teamed up for a wire-to-wire win with Torpedo Anna on Friday in the Kentucky Oaks. McPeak was the first trainer since Ben Jones in 1952 to sweep both races.

McPeek’s other win in a Triple Crown race was also a shocker: 70-1 Sarawa won the 2002 Belmont Stakes — the biggest loss in that race’s history. A mule spoils the war symbol’s Triple Crown bid.

The winning owners are cousins ​​Lance and Brent Causeway and Daniel Hamby III, all from Arkansas. They raised the Mystic Dawn.

“We’ve made what I call a working-class horse,” said McPeek, adding that the colt’s sire and dam are not big names.

“It’s definitely surreal,” said Brent’s wife, Sharilyn Causeway. We are normal people and feel like we have an amazing horse.

Sierra Leone returned $6.54 and $4.64. Forever Young was another nose in third and paid $5.58 to show.

Caching Freedom took fourth place, followed by Japan’s TO Password, Resilience, Strength, Honor Mary and Endless. Dornoch finished 10th, followed by Track Phantom, West Saratoga, Homegrown, Epic Ride, Fierceness, Society Man, Just Steel, Grand Mo the First, Catalytic and Just a Touch.

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