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Mystik Dan Wins Closest Kentucky Derby Finish Since 1996, Edging Out Sierra Leone by a Nose

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Noted horse blogger John Rich here coming at you with what will without a doubt be the greatest Kentucky Derby, or horse racing related blog in general that I've ever wrote.

An extremely fitting finish to the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby. As close of a Kentucky Derby as you've probably ever seen. At least if you're at minimum 32 years old, considering Mystik Dan's ever-so-slight victory over Sierra Leone (and Forever Young for that matter) was the tightest finish the Derby has seen since Grindstone edged out Bob Baffert trained horse Cavonnier by even less of a nose in 1996.

Mystik Dan at 17-1 (6th best odds to start the race), was trained by Kenny McPeek (great horse trainer name), and jockeyed by Brian Hernandez Jr. McPeek's only other Triple Crown victory came at the Belmont Stakes in 2002. Been a long time coming for the guy. Not only did both McPeek and Hernandez win their first ever Kentucky Derby. They became the first trainer + jockey combo to win both the Kentucky Derby, and the Kentucky Oaks (the Derby's sister race run the Friday before at Churchill Downs).

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Amazing feat for them both. Aside from Mystik Dan, some other notable finishes in this years Derby included.

2nd Place - Sierra Leone (9-2), made a hell of a push down the stretch. Made it a close enough race that nobody knew who won until the slow motion replay. Even after the slow motion replay, it the officials took plenty of time, reviewing multiple angles before they officially declared Mystik Dan the winner. 

The jockey of Sierra Leone, also being accused, and based on replay appears to clearly have grabbed 3rd place finisher Forever Young's horse coming down the stretch.

Which certainly shouldn't be allowed, but as of now he does not appear to be getting penalized for it.

3rd Place - Forever Young (6-1) - Forever Young is a horse out of Japan who a lot of people loved going into this race. According to horse racing expert White Randy Moss on Pardon My Take, Forever Young's big knock was that he doesn't typically travel well. He even had to deal with additional travel issues to make it over seas to America for today's race. Apparently it didn't bother him too much. He was right there at the finish. But who knows? Maybe without the travel issues he noses at Mystik Dan in the end.

15th Place - Fierceness (3-1) - The favorite heading into the Kentucky Derby finished 15th out of 20 horse. Brutal beat for favorite betters across the world. It honestly wasn't even close enough that I'd feel right calling it heartbreaking. The horse just never had a chance.

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12th Place - West Saratoga (22-1) - I would be remiss if I didn't mention my horse, West Saratoga, who I only bet because a random old queen I met at the doctor's office today assured me that he was the "secret favorite", and all the sharp money would come in on him. My hands were tied. I had no choice but to bet him. I hope the man is ok. 

One final note. I'm kicking myself right now for not betting Mystik Dan. Not based on any sort of horse racing knowledge whatsoever. Not because I enjoyed Kenny McPeek in his interview, or because of the McPeek/Hernandez Jr. Oaks + Derby sweep story. But because about 20 minutes before the race, Clem tweeted out this picture.

I don't know who he is. I don't know if he's a part owner, a friend of the trainer, or just some guy in a flag costume who kinda weaseled his way into the group. But Clem called it. In the post-race interview with McPeek, look who we have standing in the background.

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I should have known. An outrageous American flag suit is worth at least a $10 flier. Even Clem didn't hop on. Shame on both of us.