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Congratulations Mystik Dan and Connections! Winner of the Kentucky Derby 150!

This is the original pre-Derby Performance Profile, gleaned from intensive film study of his 6 races and written up a few weeks before the Kentucky Derby. A representation of perfectly executed synchronicity between who the horse is and how being compatible with them, in preparation and in-saddle, optimizes performance on the highest levels. When you know your horse’s strengths, you can get the advantage of your competitors’ vulnerabilities. 

Horse: Mystik Dan, by Goldencents o/o MA’AM
Trained by: Kenny McPeek
Owner: Lance Gasaway, 4 G Racing LLC (Brent Gasaway) & Daneil Hamby III
Breeder: Lance Gasaway, Daniel Hamby & 4G Racing, LLC

Mystik Dan has raced 6 times. 
Competitive Edge Rating = C+

Psychological Performance Profile


There are quite a few things to like about Mystik Dan, and at the top of that list is an honest and forthright athletic expression inherent in his Individual Herd Dynamic; Mystik Dan is a racehorse. His growth patterns have been consistent and forward, he has learned how to better control his hi-rev target oriented emotional energy a little better with each herd motion experience and has found himself more refined in athletic execution because of it. 
The credit for this is two-fold and worth mentioning: He himself has shown an aptitude for mental growth which means that his Group Herd Dynamic, not a prevailing characteristic within him, nonetheless is functional. And he has been coached and trained very well. The simple fact is that a patient human mindset has allowed Mystik Dan the “room to grow” and to develop properly and proportionately. Thus, his underperforming group dynamic that was a part of his early combat service is now a strength in competition supporting his IHD.

Mystik Dan has evolved an IHD cruising gear from the “just enough” support he is now enjoying from an improved sensory efficiency within the group dynamic. He has grown stronger with energy distribution and more thoughtful with its conservation, helping offset a hi-rev/fast cycling natural cadence to his psychology which, early on, had many pinhole leaks. Most notable is his emergence from the barrier. This has become much less bumpy, eating up much less time than before in smoothing out the bumps, setting him in motion with more fluency. 

Physically, Mystik Dan translates every bit of his emotional energy into the production of forward thrust when he is in that IHD cruising gear where he is steady and rhythmical in motion. Additionally, he has recently started to be more mindful of the intentions coming from the human in the saddle. He has gone from a horse who was slightly indifferent to subtle ques to being a more sensitive creature, more responsive; another direct clue of his GHD growth, for communication is rooted within a horse’s group dynamic and physically expressed through the individual dynamic. This serves him well in elite combat because it invites him to be properly Bridged through situational chaos that his GHD cannot itself process. Having an outsourcing means from the saddle is essential when covering competitive distance. This is especially true for horses with underperforming GHD’s or still evolving group dynamics. 
Interestingly, the fact that Mystik Dan’s GHD is less than fully developed (or with naturally lower efficacy to its characteristics) but is nonetheless supportive of his IHD, which is quite developed and high functioning, he can run more freely in the mud than many fast rhythmed IHD horses can. Surface versatility is indeed a strength not all horses enjoy. 


For all Mystik Dan’s mind to body fluency when he is in IHD cruise, two things are noteworthy as points of vulnerability. His emotional energy surges through him with a lot of down-pressure, this places a lot of strain on his body while leaking out a lot of emotional energy in the process. Where his most efficient gear is realized through the steady hum of IHD cruise when his mental cadence and physical pace become synced and congruent. It’s getting to that space and its ultimate sustainability that causes a hint of pause for me. His emotional energy is expressed more up-n-down than it is back-to-front leading into his cruising gear and then again when he is trying to press down a little more on the gas pedal to find still another, yet elusive, gear. Herein is where his physical efficiency becomes interrupted, presenting a marked challenge in the sustainability of long range or long-term combat. Like a car at its maximum output being asked for more, things start to shimmy and shake and become more difficult to control and you soon realize that you need to slow it down a bit. This is where duration of intensity becomes more antagonistic than the physical distance; where he can easily compete physically for 10 Furlongs, I am concerned that emotionally the drain of being competitive during that time frame could prove challenging. I see 100 seconds of combat strength, for example, but maybe not the proverbial 120. 

Something else that is gnawing for me as a vulnerability in the face of sustained competition is his overall Herd Dynamic Power. Against peers with highly developed sensory efficiency, the cornerstone of Independent Nature, Mystik Dan, though having a well-formed competitive nature, is slightly below the top tier levels of HDP. It is true that physically efficient and talented horses on the daily “win” the wire against higher HDP athletes, but they cannot beat them. Things like longer duration and an increase in the number of upper-level combatants are points of aggression added to the mix to overcome and can expose the weakness.   

Additional Thoughts / Scouting Report:

An interesting fact about Independent Nature is that horseracing is the only sport where I want to see it fully expressed. In other disciplines where the horse is doing things contrary to their nature where “teaching” and coaching through the associative aspect are essential elements, I never recommend horses that are strong HDP’s with “who are you again?” in their behavioral genetic coding. 

A separating distinction between herd hierarchy are the degrees of independent nature, and it can, and often does, play-out over the course of a classic distance race. The trick for Mystik Dan as I see it, is in not getting tangled up and locking horns with equal or more athletically refined peers. If he is still learning to distribute his energy and expand his range of competitive distance, he will need to navigate the herd chaos thoughtfully and strategically. I can’t help but wonder, however, if indeed we are not at the apex of herd dynamic development, if Mystik Dan is not now at his peak?  A part of me thinks so, and this leaves me to then consider the total environment he will likely experience as a key dynamic. Always a factor, horses going up against high level competitors who are themselves just a tick or two below them in emotional strength and presence, the environment plays a profound role in the unfolding drama. That said, if I am team Mystik Dan, I would be praying for rain, a monsoon even as I feel this gives him an environmental advantage. 

With everything considered and having thought about this horse’s total performance profile in every detail from as many views from the hoof as I could, I ended up with a guarded Competitive Edge Rating of C+.

Human Factor / Compatibility Keys: 

Avoid HDP if at all and when at all possible. If he has reached his Herd Dynamic Power zenith, which appears to be a real possibility, there are no more herd dynamic tricks up his sleeve and the growth pattern is complete. All that is left is refinement. This comes from the coaching staff before race day, and from the saddle during. 
Mystik Dan is a very capable athlete, he brings to the table a whole bunch of “good” that are desirable characteristics for any racehorse, and he is 100% honest and forthright. He wears his heart on his sleeve, and he only asks that he be buffered where needed, guided when asked, and gently urged when required. 


Mystik Dan; Performance Characteristics Takeaways


Mystik Dan demonstrates a strong athletic expression and consistent growth patterns, benefiting from effective coaching. While excelling in his Individual Herd Dynamic (IHD), he faces challenges in managing emotional energy and sustaining long-term combat due to strain on his body and limitations in Herd Dynamic Power (HDP). This can be overcome by thoughtful management from the saddle.


Top Six Characteristics:

1. Honest Athletic Expression: Consistent performance and improved emotional energy control in IHD.

2. Effective Coaching and Growth: Patient coaching has turned early weaknesses into competitive strengths.

3. Efficiency in IHD Cruising Gear: Demonstrates steady motion and increasing sensitivity to rider cues.

4. Surface Versatility: Capable of performing well on various surfaces, leveraging underdeveloped GHD.

5. Vulnerabilities in Emotional Energy Management: Struggles with emotional energy surges and strain on his body during sustained combat. Fatigue could creep in unless properly managed.

6. Concerns in Herd Dynamic Power: Falls slightly below top-tier levels in HDP, impacting his performance against highly developed peers; avoiding direct or protracted combat assaults will mitigate this. 

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Performance; driven by emotion… kmt

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