50 Fastest Horses in Kentucky Derby History

May 3, 2018 by John Harrington

Source: Andy Lyons / Getty Images
Horse racing’s most prestigious event, the Kentucky Derby, will be run for the 144th time on Saturday, May 5. By the early evening, horse-racing fans will know if the winner of the annual Run for the Roses is among the fastest horses ever to cross the finish line at Churchill Downs.

At least 150,000 spectators will congregate at Churchill Downs to witness history. Among the favorites looking to capture the first leg of horse-racing’s Triple Crown this year are Justify, Mendelssohn, Magnum Moon, and Audible.

Justify is trained by Bob Baffert, who worked with three of the fastest Derby winners of all time. Other trainers with the fastest Derby-winning horses include D. Wayne Lukas and Leroy Jolley. Calumet Farm has four horses on the fastest Derby winner list. Jockey William Hartack has been in the saddle for five of the fastest Derby-winning horses.

The three-year-olds will take aim at the Derby speed record set by the legendary Secretariat, who covered the 10 furlongs in 1:59.40 in 1973. Monarchos, the winner of the 2001 Kentucky Derby, is the only other horse to win the race in less than 2 minutes.

Of the 12 Triple Crown winners, only four are among the fastest Derby-winning horses ever: Whirlaway (1941), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), and Affirmed (1978).

To identify the 50 fastest horses in Kentucky Derby history, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the complete list of winners since the race’s inception in 1875 posted on the event’s official site, Kentuckyderby.com. We ranked the finish times of the winning horses from 1875 to 2017. Those horses that appear on this list have completed the course in 2:02.75 or less. The Derby track was shortened in 1896 from 1.50 miles to 1.25 miles because the former distance was deemed too long for three-year-olds.

Click here to see the fastest horses in Kentucky Derby history.

50. Giacomo
> Result: Winner of 2005, with a time of 2:02.75
> Jockey: Mike Smith
> Trainer: John Shirreffs
> Owner(s): Mr. & Mrs. Jerome S. Moss
> Second place finisher: Closing Argument

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49. Mine That Bird
> Result: Winner of 2009, with a time of 2:02.66
> Jockey: Calvin Borel
> Trainer: Bennie Woolley Jr.
> Owner(s): Double Eagle Ranch & Bueno Suerte Equine
> Second place finisher: Pioneerof the Nile

48. Count Turf
> Result: Winner of 1951, with a time of 2:02.60
> Jockey: Conn McCreary
> Trainer: Sol Rutchick
> Owner(s): Jack J. Amiel
> Second place finisher: Royal Mustang

47. Venetian Way
> Result: Winner of 1960, with a time of 2:02.40
> Jockey: William Hartack
> Trainer: Victor J. Sovinski
> Owner(s): Sunny Blue Farm
> Second place finisher: Bally Ache

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46. Spectacular Bid
> Result: Winner of 1979, with a time of 2:02.40
> Jockey: Ronnie Franklin
> Trainer: Grover Delp
> Owner(s): Hawksworth Farm
> Second place finisher: General Assembly

45. Gato Del Sol
> Result: Winner of 1982, with a time of 2:02.40
> Jockey: Eddie Delahoussaye
> Trainer: Edwin J. Gregson
> Owner(s): Hancock & Peters
> Second place finisher: Laser Light

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44. Swale
> Result: Winner of 1984, with a time of 2:02.40
> Jockey: Laffit Pincay, Jr.
> Trainer: Woodford C. Stephens
> Owner(s): Claiborne Farm
> Second place finisher: Coax Me Chad

43. Silver Charm
> Result: Winner of 1997, with a time of 2:02.40
> Jockey: Gary Stevens
> Trainer: Bob Baffert
> Owner(s): Robert B. & Beverly J. Lewis
> Second place finisher: Captain Bodgit

42. Tomy Lee
> Result: Winner of 1959, with a time of 2:02.20
> Jockey: William Shoemaker
> Trainer: Frank E. Childs
> Owner(s): Fred & Juliette Turner
> Second place finisher: Sword Dancer

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41. Forward Pass
> Result: Winner of 1968, with a time of 2:02.20
> Jockey: Ismael Valenzuela
> Trainer: Henry Forrest
> Owner(s): Calumet Farm
> Second place finisher: Francie’s Hat

40. Seattle Slew
> Result: Winner of 1977, with a time of 2:02.20
> Jockey: Jean Cruguet
> Trainer: Wm. H. Turner, Jr.
> Owner(s): Karen L. Taylor
> Second place finisher: Run Dusty Run

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39. Sunny’s Halo
> Result: Winner of 1983, with a time of 2:02.20
> Jockey: Eddie Delahoussaye
> Trainer: David C. Cross, Jr.
> Owner(s): D. J. Foster Stable
> Second place finisher: Desert Wine

38. Winning Colors
> Result: Winner of 1988, with a time of 2:02.20
> Jockey: Gary Stevens
> Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
> Owner(s): Eugene V. Klein
> Second place finisher: Forty Niner

37. Real Quiet
> Result: Winner of 1998, with a time of 2:02.20
> Jockey: Kent Desormeaux
> Trainer: Bob Baffert
> Owner(s): Mike Pegram
> Second place finisher: Victory Gallop

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36. Street Sense
> Result: Winner of 2007, with a time of 2:02.17
> Jockey: Calvin Borel
> Trainer: Carl Nafzger
> Owner(s): James B. Tafel
> Second place finisher: Hard Spun

35. Animal Kingdom
> Result: Winner of 2011, with a time of 2:02.04
> Jockey: John Velazquez
> Trainer: H. Graham Motion
> Owner(s): Team Valor International
> Second place finisher: Nehro

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34. Dark Star
> Result: Winner of 1953, with a time of 2:02.00
> Jockey: Henry Moreno
> Trainer: Eddie Hayward
> Owner(s): Cain Hoy Stable
> Second place finisher: Native Dancer

33. Kauai King
> Result: Winner of 1966, with a time of 2:02.00
> Jockey: Don Brumfield
> Trainer: Henry Forrest
> Owner(s): Ford Stable
> Second place finisher: Advocator

32. Foolish Pleasure
> Result: Winner of 1975, with a time of 2:02.00
> Jockey: Jacinto Vasquez
> Trainer: LeRoy Jolley
> Owner(s): John L. Greer
> Second place finisher: Avatar

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31. Genuine Risk
> Result: Winner of 1980, with a time of 2:02.00
> Jockey: Jacinto Vasquez
> Trainer: LeRoy Jolley
> Owner(s): Diana M. Firestone
> Second place finisher: Rumbo

30. Pleasant Colony
> Result: Winner of 1981, with a time of 2:02.00
> Jockey: Jorge Velasquez
> Trainer: John P. Campo
> Owner(s): Buckland Farm
> Second place finisher: Woodchopper

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29. Unbridled
> Result: Winner of 1990, with a time of 2:02.00
> Jockey: Craig Perret
> Trainer: Carl Nafzger
> Owner(s): Frances A. Genter
> Second place finisher: Summer Squall

28. Sea Hero
> Result: Winner of 1993, with a time of 2:02.00
> Jockey: Jerry Bailey
> Trainer: MacKenzie “Mack” Miller
> Owner(s): Rokeby Stable
> Second place finisher: Prairie Bayou

27. I’ll Have Another
> Result: Winner of 2012, with a time of 2:01.83
> Jockey: Mario Gutierrez
> Trainer: Doug O’Neill
> Owner(s): J. Paul Reddam
> Second place finisher: Bodemeister

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26. Big Brown
> Result: Winner of 2008, with a time of 2:01.82
> Jockey: Kent Desormeaux
> Trainer: Richard Dutrow, Jr.
> Owner(s): IEAH Stable (Michael Iavarone) and Paul P. Pompa Jr.
> Second place finisher: Eight Belles

25. Twenty Grand
> Result: Winner of 1931, with a time of 2:01.80
> Jockey: Charles Kurtsinger
> Trainer: James Rowe, Jr.
> Owner(s): Greentree Stable
> Second place finisher: Sweep All

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24. Swaps
> Result: Winner of 1955, with a time of 2:01.80
> Jockey: William Shoemaker
> Trainer: M. A. Tenney
> Owner(s): Rex C. Ellsworth
> Second place finisher: Nashua

23. Chateaugay
> Result: Winner of 1963, with a time of 2:01.80
> Jockey: Braulio Baeza
> Trainer: James P. Conway
> Owner(s): Darby Dan Farm
> Second place finisher: Never Bend

22. Majestic Prince
> Result: Winner of 1969, with a time of 2:01.80
> Jockey: William Hartack
> Trainer: John Longden
> Owner(s): Frank M. McMahon
> Second place finisher: Arts and Letters

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21. Riva Ridge
> Result: Winner of 1972, with a time of 2:01.80
> Jockey: Ron Turcotte
> Trainer: Lucien Laurin
> Owner(s): Meadow Stud
> Second place finisher: No Le Hace

20. Middleground
> Result: Winner of 1950, with a time of 2:01.60
> Jockey: William Boland
> Trainer: Max Hirsch
> Owner(s): King Ranch
> Second place finisher: Hill Prince

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19. Hill Gail
> Result: Winner of 1952, with a time of 2:01.60
> Jockey: Eddie Arcaro
> Trainer: Ben A. Jones
> Owner(s): Calumet Farm
> Second place finisher: Sub Fleet

18. Bold Forbes
> Result: Winner of 1976, with a time of 2:01.60
> Jockey: Angel Cordero, Jr.
> Trainer: Lazaro Barrera
> Owner(s): E. Rodriguez Tizol
> Second place finisher: Honest Pleasure

17. Whirlaway
> Result: Winner of 1941, with a time of 2:01.40
> Jockey: Eddie Arcaro
> Trainer: Ben A. Jones
> Owner(s): Calumet Farm
> Second place finisher: Staretor

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16. Barbaro
> Result: Winner of 2006, with a time of 2:01.36
> Jockey: Edgar Prado
> Trainer: Michael Matz
> Owner(s): Lael Stables (Roy & Gretchen Jackson)
> Second place finisher: Bluegrass Cat

15. Nyquist
> Result: Winner of 2016, with a time of 2:01.31
> Jockey: Mario Gutierrez
> Trainer: Doug F. O’Neill
> Owner(s): Reddam Racing LLC
> Second place finisher: Exaggerator

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14. Iron Liege
> Result: Winner of 1957, with a time of 2:01.20
> Jockey: William Hartack
> Trainer: H. A. Jones
> Owner(s): Calumet Farm
> Second place finisher: Gallant Man-GB

13. Lucky Debonair
> Result: Winner of 1965, with a time of 2:01.20
> Jockey: William Shoemaker
> Trainer: Frank Catrone
> Owner(s): Ada L. Rice
> Second place finisher: Dapper Dan

12. Affirmed
> Result: Winner of 1978, with a time of 2:01.20
> Jockey: Steve Cauthen
> Trainer: Lazaro Barrera
> Owner(s): Harbor View Farm
> Second place finisher: Alydar

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11. Thunder Gulch
> Result: Winner of 1995, with a time of 2:01.20
> Jockey: Gary Stevens
> Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
> Owner(s): Michael Tabor
> Second place finisher: Tejano Run

10. Funny Cide
> Result: Winner of 2003, with a time of 2:01.19
> Jockey: José Santos
> Trainer: Barclay Tagg
> Owner(s): Sackatoga Stable (Jackson Knowlton)
> Second place finisher: Empire Maker

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9. War Emblem
> Result: Winner of 2002, with a time of 2:01.13
> Jockey: Victor Espinoza
> Trainer: Bob Baffert
> Owner(s): The Thoroughbred Corporation
> Second place finisher: Proud Citizen

8. Grindstone
> Result: Winner of 1996, with a time of 2:01.00
> Jockey: Jerry Bailey
> Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
> Owner(s): Overbrook Farm
> Second place finisher: Cavonnier

7. Fusaichi Pegasus
> Result: Winner of 2000, with a time of 2:01.00
> Jockey: Kent Desormeaux
> Trainer: Neil D. Drysdale
> Owner(s): Fusao Sekiguchi
> Second place finisher: Aptitude

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6. Proud Clarion
> Result: Winner of 1967, with a time of 2:00.60
> Jockey: Robert Ussery
> Trainer: Loyd Gentry, Jr.
> Owner(s): Darby Dan Farm
> Second place finisher: Barbs Delight

5. Decidedly
> Result: Winner of 1962, with a time of 2:00.40
> Jockey: William Hartack
> Trainer: Horatio Luro
> Owner(s): El Peco Ranch
> Second place finisher: Roman Line

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4. Spend a Buck
> Result: Winner of 1985, with a time of 2:00.20
> Jockey: Angel Cordero, Jr.
> Trainer: Cam Gambolati
> Owner(s): Dennis Diaz
> Second place finisher: Stephan’s Odyssey

3. Northern Dancer
> Result: Winner of 1964, with a time of 2:00.00
> Jockey: William Hartack
> Trainer: Horatio Luro
> Owner(s): Windfields Farm
> Second place finisher: Hill Rise

2. Monarchos
> Result: Winner of 2001, with a time of 1:59.97
> Jockey: Jorge Chavez
> Trainer: John T. Ward, Jr.
> Owner(s): John C. Oxley
> Second place finisher: Invisible Ink

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1. Secretariat
> Result: Winner of 1973, with a time of 1:59.40
> Jockey: Ron Turcotte
> Trainer: Lucien Laurin
> Owner(s): Meadow Stable
> Second place finisher: Sham