The 2024 Run for the Roses was one for the history books.  It started at 12:00AM that morning as Chuck and I delivered a Goldencents Filly out of Hit The Limit.  Maybe a sign it was going to be a “Golden” day. 

Bright and early Derby morning Hit The Limit had a filly by Goldencents

WOW, what a race!  You knew this year’s Kentucky Derby was going to be special, it was the 150th running.  Roses, the symbol of the Derby, were everywhere; the commemorative derby glasses, the Woodford Reserve Bottle, shirts, t-shirts and hats.  They made an even more special 14-karat gold trophy with rubies and emeralds. 

The race didn’t just live up to the hype it surpassed it.  The results of the top three were the closest in any of the 149 run for the roses before.  The race chart showed Mystik Dan won by a nose, Sierra Leone 2nd by a nose and Forever Young 3rd by a nose. 

Coming to the wire in the 150th Kentucky Derby……..Mystik Dan, Sierra Leone, & Forever Young. Photo by Bobby Shiflet

Brian Hernandez Jr. rode Mystik Dan to victory in an unbelievable trip.  As the chart said, he “tracked the leaders in a rail skimming fashion”.  He was so close to the rail that Brian would end up wearing white paint on his boots, but Mystik Dan stayed strong and trusted Brian to do  everything he was asked.   Completely fitting for a son of Goldencents to win the 14-karat gold trophy.

So let’s go back to the week leading up to The Derby, The Bourbon County Citizen always has Pat Conley getting Derby picks from people on Main Street.  This year he asked me and my pick was Mystik Dan.  Pat wasn’t the only one who asked my pick, it was a common question at my restaurant, Lil’s.   Why did I pick him….easy, he was a homebred for Lance Gasaway, Daniel Hamby & 4G Racing, LLC. and he was by Goldencents who we co-bred with Karyn Pirello.    Yes, Goldencents (the sire/dad) of this year’s Kentucky Derby winner was born and raised here at Rosecrest Farm where we watched him grow from the cutest foal to an inquisitive yearling when we sold him.  Our love for him wasn’t diminished with the sale but as with every horse born here.  Yes, I admit I love them all.   

The Bourbon County Citizen newspaper with Derby picks.

We watched as owner WC Racing and trainer Doug O’Neill took him on quiet a ride!  He had 18 starts and on the board 14 times.  He won his debut at Del Mar, then he was 2nd in the G1 Champaign Stakes, then he won the G3 Delta Downs then he won again in the G3 Sham Stakes, after his win in the G1 Santa Anita Derby he earned his way to the Kentucky Derby!!!

In 2013, we watched as he shot out of the gate and as the chart said gained a brief lead early in the run to the first turn.  Wow, our boy was in the lead of the Kentucky Derby on the first turn.  There aren’t many horses that can win the Derby by taking the lead on the first turn, which turned out to be too long for him but he would show his talent as he became a Champion by winning the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile back to back in 2013 & 2014. 

Goldencents 2013 and 2014 Win Photos Proudly Displayed at the B&B

While enjoying some of the pre-derby events we met his owner Glenn Sorgenstein. In 2014 we received a call from Glenn that Goldencents was retiring to stud at Spendthrift Farm.  Since then we’ve enjoyed a great relationship with Glenn and we’ve gotten to see a lot of Goldencents babies.  He “stamps them” as they say in the business.  They all have a nice hip, good shoulder, great feet and easy disposition. 

I know I sound like a proud parent, maybe more like a proud grandparent but I can’t help it.

I believe breeders are the backbone to racing, without breeders there are no horses and without horses there are no races.  Whether a large breeder or a small breeder like us we spend a lot of time watching.  Watching race results and studying pedigress to find the best stallion for the mare.  Watching the mares progress to the stage when it’s time to breed.  Watching as they nurture the foal inside and watching the size of their bellies show the growth of the baby inside.  Then, the watching becomes more intense day and night when foaling is near.  Now we have two to watch…the mare and the foals as they grow and run in the green field playing like children do.  We watch as they are sold or go straight into racing. Watching as they have their morning works, watching for them to race, watching as they race, and watching as they become broodmares or stallions and then the watching starts all over again.  The most exciting is watching as they win or they have offspring that wins.  Even though they no longer live here there will always be a connection.    

So, yes Mystik Dan was my pick for the Kentucky Derby and there were a few who listened to me and placed a bet on him, he paid $39.22 for a $2.00 win bet.  They were very happy as I was but not all for the same reasons. 

Congratulations to all the connections of Mystik Dan!!!    

I’ll catch you up on our additional 7 babies soon.