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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The 25 Fastest Finishes in Kentucky Derby History

  • Secretariat holds the fastest time in Kentucky Derby history.
  • Only 2 horses have recorded times under 2 minutes.
The field of horses leave the starting gate for the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Javier Castellano aboard Mage wins the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Although horse racing isn’t the most highly viewed sport in the U.S. throughout the year, the Kentucky Derby—its pinnacle event—annually draws America’s attention to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on the first Saturday of May.

With a completely new field each year, the Kentucky Derby winner can quickly become a household name and just as quickly fade from the public eye. Some of the most memorable runs, however, can vault a horse into iconic status for decades.

Legendary horse Secretariat boasts the fastest finish in the history of the Kentucky Derby with a time of 1:57.40. The story behind the horse was adopted into a hit Disney film in 2010.

Trailing behind Secretariat is Monarchos with a time of 1:59.97. Secretariat and Monarchos are the only two horses to record times of under two minutes at the Kentucky Derby. Coming in third with a time just three-hundredths of a second behind Monarchos is Norther Dancer in a time of two minutes flat.

Rounding out the top five are Spend A Buck and Decidedly with times of 2:00.20 and 2:00.40, respectively. Since 2010, only four horses have made their way into the ranks of the top 25 times of the race’s history.

Here is the full list the 25 fastest finishes in Kentucky Derby History. The list was compiled in April 2024 using data from twinspires.

RankHorseTimeYear
1Secretariat1:59.401973
2Monarchos1:59.972001
3Northern Dancer2:00.001964
4Spend A Buck2:00.201985
5Decidedly2:00.401962
6Proud Clarion2:00.601967
7Authentic2:00.612020
T-8Fusaichi Pegasus2:01.002000
T-8Grindstone2:01.001996
10War Emblem2:01.132002
11Funny Cide2:01.192003
T-12Thunder Gulch2:01.201995
T-12Affirmed2:01.201978
T-12Lucky Debonair2:01.201965
15Nyquist2:01.312016
T-16Mandaloun2:01.362021
T-16Barbaro2:01.362006
18Whirlaway2:01.401941
19Mage2:01.572023
T-20Bold Forbes2:01.601976
T-20Hill Gail2:01.601952
T-20Middleground2:01.601950
T-23Riva Ridge2:01.801972
T-23Majestic Prince2:01.801969
T-23Chateaugay2:01.801963
T-23Swaps2:01.801955
T-23Twenty Grand2:01.801931
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