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Known as the “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” the Kentucky Derby is perhaps the most popular horse race in the world.
Since its inception in 1875, the Kentucky Derby has attracted large crowds and has seen some of the greatest racehorses ever. Held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, it is the first race in the coveted Triple Crown.
Here are the ten Fastest Kentucky Derby Times.
10. Fusaichi Pegasus, 2000, Time: 2:01.12
Fusaichi Pegasus won the 2000 Kentucky Derby with a time of 2:01.12, just barely faster than War Emblem. The striking bay colt was trained under the direction of Neil Drysdale. He was the first favorite to win the Kentucky Derby in 20 years and had an incredible come-from-behind victory.
Fusaichi Pegasus went on to win six of his nine starts, earning $1,994,400. In 2000, Coolmore Stud purchased Fusaichi Pegasus for a record $70 million. For several years, he split his time at stud between America and Australia before exclusively standing in Kentucky.
9. Grindstone, 1996, Time: 2:01.06
Grindstone won the 1996 Kentucky Derby with a time of 2:01.06, before his career was cut short due to an injury. Five days after his victory in the ‘The Run for the Roses’ a bone chip was discovered in his knee, leading to early retirement.
He became the first racehorse since Bubbling Over in 1926 to retire immediately after his Kentucky Derby victory. During his short-lived career, he won three of his six starts under the direction of trainer Darrell Wayne Lukas, earning $1,224,510.
8. Medina Spirit, 2021, Time: 2:01.02
Medina Spirit won the 2021 Kentucky Derby with a time of 2:01.02 under the guidance of trainer Bob Baffert. However, the win came with controversy after the dark bay colt tested positive for an excessive amount of the steroid betamethasone.
After failing the drug test, Medina Spirit placed third in the Preakness Stakes, but was banned from racing in the Belmont Stakes.
Sadly, the colt suddenly passed away on December 6, 2021, following a workout at Santa Anita Park. Medina Spirit won five of his ten starts, bringing in earnings of $3,545,200.
7. Authentic, 2020, Time: 2:00:61
Authentic won the 2020 Kentucky Derby with a time of 2:00:61, giving jockey John Velazquez his third win in ‘The Run for the Roses.’ The stunning bay colt took onlookers by surprise capturing the early lead, denying favorite Tiz the Law a spot in the lead.
Authentic went on to place second in the Preakness Stakes, but he did not compete in the Belmont Stakes. The colt won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, setting a new track record with a time of 1:59.60.
Bob Baffert trained Authentic to a record of 6-2, with earnings of $7,201,200.
Proud Clarion won the 1967 Kentucky Derby with a time of 2:00.60 under the guidance of trainer Loyd Gentry, Jr. With an odds of 30/1 the bay colt won the race as an underdog.
Proud Clarion went on to place third in the Preakness Stakes and fourth in the Belmont Stakes. During his career, he won six of his 25 starts, bringing home $218,730 in earnings.
Decidedly won the 1962 Kentucky Derby with a time of 2:00.40 for trainer Horatio Luro. Despite his incredible win in the first leg of the Triple Crown, he did not place in either the Preakness or Belmont Stakes.
Decidedly is one of just eight gray horses to win the Kentucky Derby. During his racing career he won 11 of his 43 starts, earning a total of $318,989.
Spend a Buck won the 1985 Kentucky Derby with a time of 2:00.20 under the direction of trainer Cam Gambolati. Despite having such a fast time at Churchill Downs, his owners opted out of racing him in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
Instead, his owners focused on winning the $2 million Jersey Derby, which Spend a Buck won. He went on to win 10 of his 15 starts, taking home $4,220,689 in earnings. In 1985, he won the U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt and also the United States Horse of the Year.
Canadian-born Northern Dancer won the 1964 Kentucky Derby with a time of 2:00.00. For almost a decade he held the record for the fastest win in ‘The Run for the Roses.’
Trained by Horatio Luro, Northern Dancer went on to win the Preakness Stakes, but came in just shy of a Triple Crown win by placing third in the Belmont Stakes. The bay colt won 14 of his 18 starts, making $580,647 in earnings. In 1964 he won the U.S. Champion 3-Yr-Old Colt and also the Canadian Horse of the Year.
Monarchos won the 2001 Kentucky Derby in incredible fashion with a time of 1:59.97. After being in 13th place, he took the track by storm, winning with a 4 3/4 lengths lead.
The striking gray colt went on to finish sixth in the Preakness Stakes and third in the Belmont Stakes under trainer John T. Ward Jr. He wrapped up his career with four wins in 10 starts, with earnings of $1,720,830.
1. Secretariat, 1973, Time: 1:59.40
Coming in with the fastest Kentucky Derby time ever, Secretariat went on to win in 1973 with a record-breaking time of 1:59.40. He is the only horse in the top ten Kentucky Derby fastest times to have won the Triple Crown.
Not only does Secretariat hold the fastest time for the Kentucky Derby, he also holds the fastest times for the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes as well. Affectionately known as Big Red, he was trained by Lucien Laurin and won 16 of his 21 starts, earning $1,316,808.
Secretariat has also won numerous honors, including 1972 American Champion Two-Year-Old Colt, 1973 American Champion Three-Year-Old Male, and 1972-1973 American Horse of the Year.
Also Read: 8 Interesting Facts About Secretariat