The Top 6 Greatest Kentucky Derby® Performances

Posted by Jazzy Morgan on Mon, Jul 10, 2017 @ 16:09 PM

What makes a horse race great is when it is remembered by those who were there and by those who weren’t. There are a handful of races in The Kentucky Derby’s® history that stand out to horse racing fans all over the country. From unpredictable upsets to large winning margins to unbelievably comebacks, Churchill Downs® has seen it all!

1914 Kentucky Derby®

On May 9th, 1914, it rained, leaving the racetrack full of slop and forcing the assumptions that there was no way the horses could go fast in these conditions. To their surprise there was one horse who defied the odds and won by 8 lengths while under hard restraint. Old Rosebud won the 40th Kentucky Derby® by the largest margin in Derby history and held the fastest race time of 2:03.40 for the next 17 years.

1931 Kentucky Derby®

After a troubled race at The Preakness Stakes, which at the time was held before the Kentucky Derby®, Twenty Grand was badly bumped into the fence around the first turn and his tired stablemate shut him off leaving him to finish in a disappointing second place. However, Twenty Grand put his game face on to not only win the Kentucky Derby®, but to also set a new track record of 2:01.80 winning by 4 lengths.

1941 Kentucky Derby®

Triple Crown™ winner, Whirlaway, won the 67th Kentucky Derby® by 8 lengths and set a new track record by shaving 40 seconds off the previous record, finishing with a race time of 2:01.40. The horses who came in 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th during the Derby race, went on to come in first place in the next race they performed in; Staretor, Market Wise, Porter’s Cap, and Little Beans.

1955 Kentucky Derby®

Unexpected winner, Swaps, won this race at a previous track record of 2:01.80. With expected winner, Nashua right behind in second and Summer Tan was a surprising 8 lengths behind Swaps. An incredibly exciting, anti-climactic race that left every fan on the grounds, stunned.

1973 Kentucky Derby®

Also known as “Big Red,” Secretariat sprinted the last quarter mile in 23.20 seconds to come out on top by 2 and a half lengths. It was then widely regarded as the best win in the history of the Kentucky Derby®.

1979 Kentucky Derby®

Starting off with the slowest start since 1912, Spectacular Bid made the biggest comeback in Kentucky Derby® history. He started the race off in 7th place and rapidly erased the 10-length deficit to win the 105th Derby.

Be Part of History at the 2018 Kentucky Derby®


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Topics: Kentucky Derby

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About the Bloggers

Kristen Doolan

Kristen Doolan was born and raised a Florida State Seminole. Making her way from Florida to North Carolina, Kristen achieved her B.S. in Business Adminstration, Marketing at The University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is an avid traveler, college football addict, beach bum and loves spending time with her family and friends. 

Jazzy Morgan

Jazzy Morgan is originally from London, England and a die-hard Manchester United Fan. She grew up in Connecticut and made the move down south in 2011 where she attended Winthrop University and received her B.S. in Family & Consumer Sciences and a minor in Marketing. Jazzy enjoys traveling, working out, reading her monthly Vogue & Cosmo and keeping up with fashion trends.