In a stunning photo finish, Mystik Dan wins the Kentucky Derby

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LOUISVILLE — As a riveting gathering of three colts saw their fates converge at the wire of the Kentucky Derby, of all places, and as human emotions prepared to sway based on horse noses, the trio bunched together as a diverse batch for the race’s 150th occasion.

On the outside charged Sierra Leone, the track intellectuals’ pick and second choice at 9-2 whose regal beauty fetched $2.3 million at the Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga select yearling sale in 2022. In the middle barged Forever Young, the 7-1 shot who fetched 107.8 million yen in Japan (about $780,000) and who tried to quell the long-standing Derby doldrums of Japanese entries and UAE Derby winners, none of whom had hit the board. And nearest the rail — key words there — fought 18-1 shot Mystik Dan, a homebred from a beloved mare named Ma’am, a third-place finisher in the Arkansas Derby, a leader for much of the stretch and then, upon review, the Kentucky Derby champion Saturday by a nose over Sierra Leone, then another nose over Forever Young.

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