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Who Is The Best Horse In The Kentucky Derby

Who Is The Best Horse In The Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most prestigious horse racing events in the world, attracting top thoroughbreds from around the globe. Each year, the question arises: who is the best horse in the Kentucky Derby? In this article, we will explore some of the top contenders for this title, backed by research, examples, and statistics.

The Contenders

1. Essential Quality

Essential Quality is a standout contender for the title of the best horse in the Kentucky Derby. Trained by Brad Cox, this colt has an impressive record, winning all five of his career starts. Essential Quality’s victories include the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Blue Grass Stakes, showcasing his ability to perform at the highest level. With his consistent form and strong performances, Essential Quality is a top pick for many racing enthusiasts.

2. Known Agenda

Known Agenda, trained by Todd Pletcher, is another strong contender for the title. This colt showed his potential by winning the Florida Derby, a key prep race for the Kentucky Derby. Known Agenda has displayed versatility in his running style, adapting to different race conditions. With Pletcher’s expertise and Known Agenda’s impressive performances, this horse has a solid chance of being the best in the Kentucky Derby.

3. Hot Rod Charlie

Hot Rod Charlie, trained by Doug O’Neill, has been making waves in the racing world. This colt finished a close second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and followed it up with a victory in the Louisiana Derby. Hot Rod Charlie’s strong finishes and ability to compete against top competition make him a serious contender for the title of the best horse in the Kentucky Derby.

Factors to Consider

When determining the best horse in the Kentucky Derby, several factors come into play. These factors can help assess a horse’s chances of success:

  • Form and Performance: A horse’s recent form and performance in key prep races can indicate their readiness for the Kentucky Derby.
  • Trainer’s Expertise: The trainer’s track record and experience in preparing horses for the Kentucky Derby can significantly impact a horse’s chances of success.
  • Jockey’s Skill: The jockey’s ability to navigate the race and make strategic decisions can greatly influence a horse’s performance.
  • Distance and Track Conditions: Some horses excel at certain distances or track conditions, so it’s essential to consider how well a horse can adapt to the Kentucky Derby’s unique challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. How are the horses selected for the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby uses a points system to determine which horses qualify for the race. Points are awarded based on performance in designated prep races leading up to the Derby. The top 20 horses with the most points earn a spot in the starting gate.

2. Has any horse won the Kentucky Derby more than once?

Yes, several horses have won the Kentucky Derby more than once. The most recent example is American Pharoah in 2015, who went on to win the Triple Crown.

3. What is the fastest time ever recorded in the Kentucky Derby?

The fastest time recorded in the Kentucky Derby is 1:59.40, set by Secretariat in 1973. Secretariat’s record-breaking performance remains legendary in the world of horse racing.

4. Are there any female jockeys in the Kentucky Derby?

Yes, female jockeys have competed in the Kentucky Derby. In 2021, jockey Rosario Montanez became the first female rider to compete in the race since 2015.

5. How many horses typically compete in the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby has a maximum field size of 20 horses. However, the actual number of horses that compete can vary each year based on the number of entries.

6. What is the prize money for the Kentucky Derby?

The total prize money for the Kentucky Derby is currently set at $3 million. The winner receives the majority of the prize, with the remaining amount distributed among the other top finishers.


As the Kentucky Derby approaches, the question of who is the best horse in the race becomes a topic of great interest. Essential Quality, Known Agenda, and Hot Rod Charlie are among the top contenders for this title, backed by their impressive performances and strong form. Factors such as form and performance, trainer’s expertise, jockey’s skill, and distance and track conditions play a crucial role in determining a horse’s chances of success in the Kentucky Derby.

By considering these factors and analyzing the contenders, racing enthusiasts can make informed predictions about the best horse in the Kentucky Derby. However, as with any sporting event, the outcome remains uncertain until the horses cross the finish line. The Kentucky Derby is a thrilling event that showcases the talent and athleticism of these magnificent animals, making it a must-watch for horse racing fans around the world.