This shocking image had Americans losing their minds

Photo by Jose Ricardo Barraza Morachis from Pexels

They say the camera never lies.

That was especially true in this case.

And this shocking image had Americans losing their minds.

150th running of the Kentucky Derby is one for the ages

The Kentucky Derby – known as the “run for the roses” – is the first leg of horse racing’s triple crown.

The Derby – like the Rose Bowl and the Indianapolis 500 – is a piece of Americana that’s bigger than just a sporting event.

Americans know the Derby for the mint julips, the signing of “My Old Kentucky Home,” and the outrageous hats women who attend the race sport.

But the 2024 running of the Derby will be remembered for what happened on the track – specifically the race’s heart stopping finish.

Mystik Dan wins by a nose in a photo finish

“Won by a nose” and “photo finish” are common sayings that seeped into American vernacular from the world of horse racing.

At the 150th Kentucky Derby they literally described the finish as Mystik Dan edged out Sierra Leone and Forever Young by a nostril in the first photo finish since 1996.

This was also the closest three horse finish since 1947.

Jockey Brian Hernandez runs a brilliant race

Mystik Dan’s jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. grew up in a family of jockeys.

Hernandez dreamed of winning the Derby all through childhood.

And Hernandez’ dream finally came true.

Speaking after the race, Hernandez described the moment in the race when he saw the opening along the rail to make his move.

“When he shot through that spot, he was able to cut the corner and I asked him to go for it,” Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. said of Mystik Dan.

“He shot off and I’m like, ‘Oh man, I’ve got a big chance to win the Kentucky Derby,'” Hernandez added.

Mystik Dan ran so close to the rail that Hernandez shredded his boots.

“But I think we can buy another pair of boots,” Hernandez joked.

The winner’s purse at the Derby is $5.1 million and the jockey takes home a ten percent cut so Hernandez can afford all the riding boots he needs.

It took several minutes to officially declare a winner because of the tightness of the finish.

Hernandez described that time as agony.

“The longest few minutes of my life,” Hernandez stated.

“To see your number flash up to win the Derby, I don’t think it will sink in for a while,” Hernandez stated.

Mystik Dan’s trainer Kenneth McPeek declared this was Hernandez’s coming out moment as he always knew Hernandez was a great jockey, but he never won that first piece of the Triple Crown puzzle to cement his legacy.

“Just a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant jockey and ride,” McPeek declared. “Brian is one of the most underrated jockeys, but not anymore, right?”

The uniqueness of Mystik Dan

Bloodlines in horse racing are everything.

Owners will pay out the nose for horses sired from past champions.

But Mystik Dan was bred by two horses that had no reputation for winning anything.

“We’ve done it with what I call a working-class horse,” McPeek explained. “His mother is a filly who raced hard, but wasn’t well known. His father wasn’t a big name, either.”

A trio of cousins named Lance and Brent Gasaway and Daniel Hamby III own Mystik Dan and they basked in the glow of their upset win.

“It is surreal for sure. We feel like we’re just ordinary people and we’ve got an amazing horse.”

Mystik Dan’s next test will be in the Preakness where that race will determine if the chase for the Triple Crown will continue.

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