Horse racing’s most prestigious event, the Kentucky Derby, will be run for the 145th time on Saturday, May 4. The Derby is one of the great sporting events in America, drawing 150,000 fans to Churchill Downs Racetrack each year. It is also one of the best things about the state of Kentucky. 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.
To identify the 50 fastest horses in Kentucky Derby history, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the list of Kentucky Derby winners since the race began in 1875.
The 3-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 13 Triple Crown winners, only four are among the fastest Derby-winning horses ever: Whirlaway (1941), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), and Affirmed (1978). Last year’s Derby winner Justify, who would go on to win the 2018 Triple Crown, won the Derby in 2:04.20, the slowest time in eight years. As Triple Crown winners, these horses all became among the most iconic to ever run in the Derby.
To identify the 50 fastest horses in Kentucky Derby history, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the list of Kentucky Derby winners since its inception in 1875. We ranked the finish times of the winning horses from 1875 to 2018. The horses that appear on this list have completed the course in 2:02.75 or less. The Derby track was shortened in 1896 to 1.25 miles from 1.50 miles because the original distance was considered too long for 3-year-olds.
|49||2009||Mine That Bird||02:02.66|
|45||1982||Gato Del Sol||02:02.00|
|27||2012||I’ll Have Another||02:01.83|
|4||1985||Spend a Buck||02:00.20|