Mystik Dan name, explained: Origin of the moniker for the 2024 Kentucky Derby winner

Part of what makes the Kentucky Derby so special is the names that are attached to the horses running. For the 150th edition of the greatest two minutes in sports, the winner’s moniker did not disappoint. 

In one of the closest finishes in Derby history, Mystik Dan earned the victory Saturday at Churchill Downs. The 3-year-old bay colt, who entered the competition carrying 18-1 odds, edged out Sierra Leone and Forever Young in a photo finish.

Mystik Dan came into the Derby without many accolades to attached to his name. The horse’s most notable finishes included a third-place finish at the Arkansas Derby and a win at the Grade III Southwest Stakes.

But the horse with one of the best names at the Kentucky Derby is now a part of the history books of the event.

Here is more to know about Mystik Dan and the name behind the horse. 

MORE: How much prize money does the Kentucky Derby winner get in 2024?

Mystik Dan name, explained

When it comes to horses, there always is a story behind the name. It’s no exception for the 2024 Kentucky Derby winner. 

Daniel Hamby III is one of the owners of the Bay Colt. The horse’s name comes from Hamby’s father, Dan, and his first business operation. The elder Hamby sold Mystik Tape, so his son elected to combine both the business brand and the first name of his dad, according to the Daily Racing Form

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The result? Mystik Dan, a name that will now be forever ingrained into Kentucky Derby history. 

Mystik Dan owner

Lance Gasaway, Daniel Hamby and 4G Racing are the owners of Mystik Dan. 

Mystik Dan trainer

The horse is trained by Lexington-based Kenny McPeek, who earned his first Kentucky Derby win as a trainer with Mystik Dan’s finish at the 2024 Derby.

Who is Brian Hernandez Jr.?

Brian Hernandez Jr. is the jockey for Mystik Dan. 

The 38-year-old hails from Louisiana and comes from a jockey family, according to Bloodhorse. His father, Brian Hernandez Sr., was a jockey, and his younger brother, Colby, currently is a jockey as well. His younger sister, Courtney, also has experience as a jockey.

The win in 2024 marks the first for Hernandez Jr. He has been a jockey since 2003, and while he has built up an impressive resume during his two-decade long career, Hernandez Jr. never crossed the finish line first at the Derby — until 2024. 

The win for Mystik Dan at the Kentucky Derby cemented the first Kentucky Oaks-Kentucky Derby double since 1952 and only the fourth ever by a jockey. Hernandez Jr. and trainer Kenny McPeek earned a win at the Kentucky Oaks on Friday with 3-year-old filly Thorpedo Anna.

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