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Gasaway Provides Balance for Mystik Dan Team

Understandably, life since winning the Kentucky Derby (G1) would not be described as normal for Mystik Dan  co-owner Sharilyn Gasaway. 

“We’re still super excited about it; we’re on cloud nine,” she said.

Mystik Dan‘s scintillating triumph in the first leg of the Triple Crown has thrown Gasaway’s life for a curve literally and figuratively. 

Earlier this week, it was Gasaway, not Mystik Dan, in the spotlight as she threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Arizona Diamondbacks home game against the Cincinnati Reds at Chase Field in Phoenix May 13. Across her back was the name of her 3-year-old colt whose name will forever be etched in history. 

Sharilynn Gasaway with her brother-in-law and Diamondbacks assistant pitching coach Dan Carlson
Photo: Courtesy Arizona Diamondbacks

Sharilyn Gasaway with her brother-in-law and Diamondbacks assistant pitching coach Dan Carlson

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Her brother-in-law is Diamondbacks assistant pitching coach Dan Carlson.

“I was just glad it didn’t bounce,” she said. 

“It was a little wide right. I had (Carlson) take me to the bullpen to practice a few hours before the game. I think I practiced too much,” she joked. 

So whether it is Louisville, Ky., Phoenix, or now Baltimore where Mystik Dan will try to win the Preakness Stakes (G1) May 18 at Pimlico Race Course, crisscrossing America with stops back home in Arkansas in between each new chapter, Gasaway feels blessed.

“We don’t have a lot of horses but to be able to have one (competing for the Triple Crown)…I just think about everything that had to go into putting this in motion for us to have this horse is just amazing.”

The “us” is Mystik Dan’s owners—4 G Racing, which is named for Gasaway, her husband Brent, and their now 23-year-old twins Logan and Lauren; another brother-in-law, Lance Gasaway; Daniel Hamby III; and Valley View Farm. 

Before the game got into her blood, Sharilyn Gasaway was the chief financial officer for telecommunications company Alltel, which was founded and based in Little Rock, Ark. Some people, she said, thought her career inspired the racing name, confusing the nod to her family for a 4G cellular network.

Getting involved in horse racing wasn’t what she had planned. But after she retired from working full time, her husband approached her about buying into a horse. For someone who was used to financial statements, numbers are cold and don’t have room for emotion. 

Horses are a different story. 

“The numbers don’t always make sense. … (Brent) was like, ‘Hey, could we buy into a horse?’ I thought, ‘Oh my goodness. I’m going to have to really keep this under control because it can get away from you, the money.’ But then he made the mistake of taking me to the barn and he named a horse after me. So then I was hooked,” she said.

Perhaps the balancing act of the reality of the finances and the optimism for the horse is why trainer Kenny McPeek called her and Lance Gasaway 1 and 1A when it comes to Mystik Dan. 

“She’s a class act first and a very, very smart lady,” said McPeek. “And I know she and Brent are really enjoying all this. I know Brent’s passion for the sport dragged her in to some extent, and I think that now this journey we’re on has made it ultimately worthwhile. Accounting-wise, too. They’re lovely people and we’re trying to just have fun with it and not overanalyze it and just absorb all the all the positive energy that’s going around.”

(L-R): Bobbie Jo Harris, Lance Gasaway, Gov. Andy Beshear.Mystik Dan with Brian Hernandez, Jr. wins the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on May 4, 2024
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

(L-R): Sharilyn Gasaway, Lance Gasaway, and Gov. Andy Beshear after Mystik Dan’s win in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

The success of Mystik Dan has been a 180-degree turnaround from the start of last year. 

4 G Racing had several horses get hurt, most around the same time. One of their runners, Happy Is a Choice , who most recently was third in the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3), missed all of last year after he was injured just before opening day at Oaklawn Park. Same for a son of Into Mischief   they claimed for $30,000.

With the horses not able to perform on the track, it was more difficult for 4 G Racing to reinvest in their operations. 

“It was a tough couple of months. Four months of just nobody really doing anything,” she said. 

That was her money, cold-hard-facts side talking. 

What about her horse side, the one filled with optimism?

She offered, “I guess you have to sometimes have some of the lowest lows to reach some of the highest highs.”

And then you have Mystik Dan, who debuted last October, breaking his maiden on second asking. Since then, it’s been an upward trajectory that’s not only been exciting for Sharilyn and Brent Gasaway, but their children, too.

Sharilyn said, “They have loved being a part of it. And I think that’s very special for Brent and I because we really wanted it to be something special for our family. And so this truly has made it the top. It can’t get any better than this, right?”

They’re about to find out.

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