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A Look at Some of the Kentucky Derby Winners

Added on: Feb. 28, 2017

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most exciting two minutes in sports and the first ever race was held way back in 1875. This is a Grade 1 race for thoroughbred horses (3-year-olds) and it takes place every year, usually in the first week of May, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The contenders battle it out over a distance of 1 ¼ miles which is 10 furlongs (or 2,012m).

This is a dirt surface and the fastest time this race was ever completed in was in 1973 when Secretariat completed the course in an impressive time of 1:59 2/5 seconds. The 2017 Kentucky Derby will be the 143rd running and it will take place on Saturday 6th May with a guaranteed $2,000,000.00 purse.

More people attend this event that any other major US horse racing events such as the Breeder’s Cup, the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness Stakes and it’s the most important fixture on the US horse racing calendar. The event is a fitting end to an exciting two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The Kentucky Derby is also the first leg of the American Triple Crown which is then followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

Some of the most notable Triple Crown Winners in modern history include Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978) and American Pharaoh (2015). The first ever Kentucky Derby Winner more than 140 years ago in 1875 was Aristides (ridden by Oliver Lewis). It then took nearly hundred years for Secretariat to become the first horse to break the 2 minute barrier in 1972.

In 1914 Old Rosebud (ridden by John McCabe) finished in a time of 2:03.40 and then in 1941 Whirlaway (ridden by Eddie Arcaro) won in a time of 2:01.40. Just six years later, Middleground (ridden by Willian Boland) won in a time of 2:01.60 and two years later, in 1952, Hill Gail (also ridden by Eddie Arcaro) won in exactly the same time.

In 1962 Decidedly (Bill Hartack) won the race in a time of 2:00.40 and riding a different horse two years later this same jockey finished the race in an impressive time of 2:00.00. Some of the quickest runs in recent years occurred in 2008 when Big Brown (Kent Desormeaux) won in 2:01.82, in 2012 when I’ll Have Another (Mario Guiterrez) won in 2:01.83 and then as recently as 2016 when this same jockey won in a time of 2:01.31 on Nyquist.