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The Five Fastest Horses in Kentucky Derby History


secretariat1. Secretariat
Fastest Time: 1:59.40
Second only, perhaps, to the great Man O' War, Secretariat was and is a household name that for many defines everything that is great about horse racing. Though his career was only sixteen months long. Secretariat won the heart of the world as well as becoming the first Triple Crown champion in twenty-five years in 1973. Winning by 31 lengths, he set a world record that has yet to be broken. He has appeared on the cover of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated, been the subject of a major motion picture, and at the time was bigger than any movie start of the decade. He started 21 times, one 16 and finished in the money in all of his races but one- his first. Secretariat was named Horse of the Year twice and back to back.

2. Monarchos
Fastest Time: 1:59.97
Though not the household name Secretariat is, Monarchos is the second fastest horse to grace the Kentucky Derby and the only horse to come so close to the record set by the fastest horse in racing history. He comes from two well made horses and has produced five winning Thoroughbreds himself. He has started in ten races, won four, placed once and shown three times.

3. Northern Dancer
Fastest Time: 2:00
Beginning life as a small and unimpressive stead, Northern Dancer went on to set a Kentucky Derby record that was not broken until Secretariat came along. His racing career was short, a mere two years, but in that time he went on to win 14 of the 18 races he ran, and never finished less than third. Northern Dancer was named the Champion Colf of 1964 and the Canadian Horse of the Year of the same year. In his retirement, he went on to sire the largest number of winning horses in the 20th century. Even now, twenty years after his death, the largest number of winning lines can be traced back to Northern Dancer or his son Nijinsky.

4. Spend a Buck
Fastest Time: 2:00.20
A bit of a controversial horse as it was decided that Spend a Buck, after winning a race at the Derby with such a record making time, would skip the rest of the races and go on to run in the Jersey Derby because of a 2 million dollar bonus that he was eligible for after a win in the Garden State Stakes. Owner Dennis Diaz skipped both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes of the Derby. Spend a Buck went on to win the Jersey Derby and take the bonus. He set a record time in the race that went unbroken for nineteen years, until Smarty Jones.

5. Decidedly
Fastest Time: 2:00.40
Sired by Determine who also won the Derby in 1954, Decidedly is best known for his win in the Kentucky Derby in 1962. The rest of his career is hardly stellar, with only 11 wins, 9 seconds and 4 thirds in 43 starts, but he set an amazing time at the Derby and is the fifth fastest time ever recorded. He raced for five years and has sired nineteen stake race winners.


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