The Kentucky Derby isn’t called ‘The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports’ for nothing. Because it brings the best of the best horses, trainers, and jockeys to compete for highest racing honors.
The Kentucky Derby brings as much excitement and thrill to the American fans as the Cheltenham Festival does to the British racing fans. If Cheltenham offers many Grade I races, then Kentucky Derby gives you amazing comebacks, blowouts, and upsets to make it worth your time and money.
1- Secretariat (1973)
In America, no racehorse became as successful and popular as Secretariat. His name is so popular in America that even non-racing fans are familiar with his name. He was the competitor of a generation whose successes seem unlikely to be matched by any other racehorse.
No horse racing fan can forget his 1973 Derby victory which is the stuff of legend. In front of a record crowd, Secretariat pulled off a feat that immortalized his name in racing history forever.
He was very behind in the early part of the race, but he started battling back from that position. With each quarter mile, his pace was increasing until he attained a great speed. Secretariat overtook Angle Light in the end and won the race. With this victory, he claimed the Triple Crown that hadn’t been won in 25 years.
What was truly remarkable about this victory was that Secretariat had set a new track record with this win. His record 1:59:24 time hasn’t been bested by any other racehorse yet, even after the passage of more than 45 years. Secretariat is perhaps the most famous horse even among the American Triple Crown winners.
2- Count Fleet (1943)
Can you imagine a horse winning the Triple Crown even if he was suffering from an injury? It certainly looks almost impossible that a horse can achieve the highest American racing honor without even being fully fit. However, Count Fleet pulled off this unbelievable feat in 1943 and stunned the whole world with his performances.
At the 1943 Wood Memorial Stakes, he had badly damaged his left hind hoof, even though he had won later. That injury didn’t stop him from pulling off a great victory at the Kentucky Derby that year. Though Blue Swords competed well, Count Fleet prevailed by 3 lengths in the end.
3- Seattle Slew (1977)
The story of Seattle Slew is one of the most amazing rags to riches story you can find in American horse racing. Purchased for a meager $17,500 in 1975, Seate Slew went on to become one of the most famous American Triple Crown winners.
In the 1977 Kentucky Derby, he fell behind early but eventually won the race by 1.75 lengths. He is the first horse in racing history who became the Triple Crown winner while undefeated.