Saturday’s running of the 139th Kentucky Derby marks 40 years since Secretariat began a legendary run to the Triple Crown. Secretariat won the 1973 Kentucky Derby in a record time of 1:59 2/5, but did not set the record for margin of victory. Sham placed second, only 2.5 lengths behind Secretariat.
Four horses share the record for the largest victory margin in the race’s history -- eight lengths, or approximately 64 feet. Two of them, Whirlaway in 1941 and Assault in 1946, went on to win the Triple Crown.
The 11 Triple Crown winners won the Kentucky Derby by an average of 3.5 lengths; none won the race by less than 1.5 lengths.
In the graphic below, you can look at every Kentucky Derby champion, listed by year (2012 champion I’ll Have Another is on top) and sorted by margin of victory.