Who owns Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan? Meet Lance Gasaway, Brent Gasaway, Daniel Hamby

Growing up in tiny Gould, Arkansas — population of fewer than 800 residents, per the most recent US Census in 2020 — Clint Gasaway took his family, which included his two sons, Lance and Greg, to horse races at the state’s signature track, Oaklawn . Those two-hour treks, each way, ignited in Lance a lifelong passion for the sport.

Saturday, he reached the pinnacle of the industry: Lance is one of three co-owners of the Kentucky Derby’s victorious horse, Mystik Dan.

Yet winning one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events wasn’t the only reason Saturday meant so much to Lance.

It’s because Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of his father’s death.

“To me, this is for him. Dad would have loved it,” Lance said. “He loved the game. He and I bought horses together. … I’m just so happy for my family. I had all my family here. It’s just a special day.”

One of those family members, cousin Brent Gasaway, is another co-owner of Mystik Dan; Brent runs 4G Racing with his wife, Sharilyn.

“It is surreal, for sure,” Sharilyn said. “We feel like we’re just ordinary people. We’ve got just an amazing horse that God gave us.

“I feel like this horse, (trainer) Kenny (McPeek) calls him ‘an old soul,’ because he’s so chill. And if you watched him walking over to the paddock, he was so chill. Nothing spooks this horse.”

Sharilyn laughed about the circumstances that unfolded that led to this day. While they were still dating, Brent was late to pick her up for dinner one night.

Because he was at the racetrack, watching horses.

She forgave him, though.

He asked her to marry him that night, after all. (Spoiler: She said yes.)

“So, it worked out OK,” Sharilyn said. “But he’s always loved horses, and when I quit working full time, he was like, ‘Hey, can we get a part of a horse?’ And so that’s (how our ownership career) started, about 15 years ago — about the same time that Lance and his dad got into the business, too. And it’s been a wild ride, for sure. But this is the most amazing thing ever . We’re just beside ourselves.”

As is much of “The Natural State.” Saturday’s win marked the second time in a month Arkansas made waves in Kentucky. Last month, the state’s flagship university hired former UK coach John Calipari to lead the men’s basketball program. On Saturday, the Bluegrass State’s flagship event — the Kentucky Derby — went to a group of Arkansans.

“Guess we’re taking over Kentucky,” Lance said with a laugh.

But the ownership group’s pride for Arkansas runs deep.

All three of Mystik Dan’s races this year had been at Oaklawn: the Smarty Jones Stakes, the Southwest Stakes and the Arkansas Derby. Sharilyn said prioritizing Oaklawn as their home track was a necessity — as was representing the state Saturday on the sport’s biggest stage.

“I think it’s proven over the last five, seven years, we’ve had horses come through (Arkansas), and they’ve done well on the Derby trail,” Lance said. “So I think this just solidifies the horse racing we have in Arkansas.”

Lance is no stranger to athletic success. A standout football player at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, he’s a member of the school’s athletics Hall of Fame after catching 113 passes for 1,605 yards and 12 touchdowns during his time as a receiver. He was an honorable-mention NAIA Division I All-American in 1985, as well as a two-time first-team All-Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference selection (1984 and 1985).

That page from his past provided the template for Mystik Dan’s silks.

The official colors of the University of Arkansas at Monticello and its athletics programs — the Boll Weevils — are green and black.

The third member of the ownership group, Daniel Hamby, was the inspiration for the thoroughbred’s name. Hamby’s father’s name is Dan, and his first business was selling Mystik Tape.

Lance’s father isn’t around to enjoy Saturday’s life-changing victory with his son. But it was the culmination of dreams Clint dared to ponder when he first entered the sport alongside Lance.

His son will celebrate appropriately.

“I’m probably going to drink a lot of alcohol tonight,” Lance said with a grin.

Reach Kentucky men’s basketball and football reporter Ryan Black at [email protected] and follow him on X at @RyanABlack.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Mystik Dan owner? Meet the 2024 Kentucky Derby winner ownership group

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