Notable Kentucky Derbies of All Time


This May’s event will mark the 149th edition of the Kentucky Derby as Presented by Woodford Reserve. Inarguably the most prolific horse racing event, it promises to feature some remarkable moments that will go down in history. The first race was held in 1875 and every Kentucky Derby that has followed has had something different to offer, from the horses and jockeys to the finishing times and wins. Here is a look at some of the most epic races in the history of the Derby that rocked the racing world. 

Mine That Bird (2009)

Besides winning the 2009 race, the most remarkable thing about Mine That Bird is that he is the second-longest price in the Derby’s history. A thorough perusal of the Best Kentucky Derby Betting Sites for 2023 will tell you that much of the drama surrounding the race is derived from betting on the races. In 2009, Mine That Bird opened at 50-1 odds, which considering he went on to win the entire race, makes him the most impressive upset of all time. Mine the Bird started out conservative but gave a final push after the final turn that can only be described as outstanding. The horse, who was dead last at some point in the race, managed to ditch the pack and win by almost seven lengths. 

Big Brown, 2008

In the era of the modern starting gate, Big Brown is the only horse to break from Post 20 and win the race. Located far outside the auxiliary gate, Post 20 is considered a death knell for horses, with very few being able to break from it and join the leading park. This is why this win was so remarkable. Kent Desormeaux and Big Brown had to save ground by clearing the entire field, running a massive quarter-mile and traversing the clubhouse at only five-wide heading into the turn. The duo then angled and floated along to the 3/8ths pole before giving a final kick that saw Big Brown win by five lengths.

Monarchos (2001)

Monarchos’ win is historic because of the winning time. The half-mile fraction was completed in a record 44.86 seconds, setting the stage for a historic winning time. However, it was Point Given who was running the show. Point Given went on to win the Belmont and Preakness. But during the race, Monarchos pulled a turnabout and came charging down the track center, hitting the wire at 1:50 and 4/5 seconds. This made Monarchos the only horse to run a sub 2:00 Derby, besides Secretariat. 

Secretariat (1973)

Speaking of which, Secretariat or Big Red is widely regarded as the greatest racehorse of all time. During the 1973 race, he went head to head with his longtime rival Sham, who like Secretariat was a massive favorite at 2.5 and 1.5 odds, respectively. Secretariat stole the show and went on to win at a never-broken record finishing time of 1:59.40. In addition to setting the best Derby time in history, this match marked Secretariat’s first race in his journey toward the Triple Crown. 

Wrapping Up

The Kentucky Derby draws fans and bettors from across the world in their millions every year with god reason – it is the most notable horse racing event. This year, the race will kick off on May 6 and the air is already buzzing with anticipation. Whether any of the races will go down in history as remarkable remains to be seen. But, for now, we have these great moments to look back to. 

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