Are you ready for the Kentucky Derby? You are going to have to wait until September 5 for the 146th Kentucky Derby. For the first time since 1945, the Kentucky Derby will not be running on the first Saturday of May. There will be a virtual version of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, though. No, Secretariat didn’t return from the dead to race today.
He is racing in virtual form against 13 other Triple Crown winners, though. If you’ve bet on virtual sports, then the Virtual Kentucky Derby shouldn’t be anything new to you. Virtual horse racing betting is available pretty well around the clock. During this pandemic, virtual sports has enjoyed a minute in the spotlight.
Virtual sports will enjoy a huge moment in the spotlight on Saturday, as the Virtual Kentucky Derby will be broadcasted on NBC. The network isn’t going to bring in ratings like it would have for the 146th Kentucky Derby, of course. However, it’s not a bad alternative at all for NBC, as their overhead costs aren’t going to be exuberant.
Along with Secretariat, some familiar names are going to be featured in the Virtual Kentucky Derby. American Pharoah, who is the second most recent Triple Crown winner, will be racing as a virtual character on Saturday, too. It feels like a long time ago, but it was only 2015 that American Pharoah was the first race horse to win the Grand Slam.
Justify won the Triple Crown in 2018, but wouldn’t say he’s as memorable as American Pharoah. American Pharoah was the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978, so that will go down in history. Affirmed will participate in the Virtual Kentucky Derby as well. Head below for our free Virtual Kentucky Derby pick for May 2, 2020.
Virtual Triple Crown Showdown
Post Time: 5:30 p.m. EST
Distance: 1 1/4 Miles
A lot of people reading this never had the opportunity to watch Secretariat race, but you know the name and know what he’s about. Often regarded as the greatest racehorse of all time, Secretariat, won the Triple Crown in 1973. He was the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, and did it in record-breaking fashion. In one of the most dominant performances of all time, Secretariat won by an unbelievable 31 lengths in the Belmont Stakes.
“Big Red” smashed the record books with a time of 2:24 at 1 ½ miles. The record still stands to this day and will likely never be broken. He also won the Kentucky Derby under 2 minutes, which is a crazy accomplishment in its own right. But his performance at Belmont is one of the most dominant performances in all of sports, not just horse racing. Will we see something like that ever again? Probably not. He sprinted full out of the starting gate and could have kept going past the finish line and beyond at 100%. This was in the scorching heat with temps above 90F.
What made Secretariat so special? A large reason for his success was because of the size of his heart. At 22 pounds, that’s way larger than the average size of 8.5 points. In other words, his lung to heart capacity was off the charts. This was only discovered after an autopsy following his death in 1989. When it was all said and done, Secretariat won 16 of 21 races, including his final race at Woodbine on October 28, 1973. He placed in 20 of 21 races, finishing 3rd in just one outing.
To summarize how dominant Secretariat was, he is on the top-100 athletes of the 20th century. If you make it on that list as a horse, you know you were something special. Like Secretariat, American Pharoah won in dominant fashion as well. He won by a length to win the Kentucky Derby in 2015, but blew away the competition for wins by 5 ½ lengths and 7 lengths to win the Triple Crown. American Pharoah ran the sixth-fastest time in the Belmont Stakes, but side-by-side, American Pharoah would have still been blown out by Secretariat easily.
The one knock on Secretariat is that he had no competition. Affirmed and American Pharoah both ran against better horses, and American Pharoah managed to win easily. He could have probably been pushed harder than he was. Affirmed vs Alydar was a terrific rivalry as well. If you want to go with an upset, Citation is likely the play here. Citation won 27 of 29 races in his final 15 races in 1948.
If he had to race against a horse like Secretariat in his final race, though, his winning streak would have likely ended at 14. Justify is the most recent Triple Crown winner, and one of two horses who are still alive, but didn’t win like American Pharoah or anywhere close to Secretariat. With all of the data taken into consideration in this sim race, the AI likely results in a win for Secretariat. Man o’ War might have given Secretariat a run for his money, though he was never a Triple Crown winner because of his owner holding him out of the Kentucky Derby in 1920.