Everybody knows Secretariat ran the fastest Kentucky Derby in history, timed in 1:59 2/5 (1:59.40 by today's standards). But who ran the second fastest?

Watch out -- this is a tricky one.

The obvious answer has always been Northern Dancer, whose 1964 time of 2:00-flat was the Derby record until Secretariat bettered it. Then in 2001 Monarchos won the Kentucky Derby in 1:59.97. So Monarchos has the second fastest Derby time.


Not so, say some.

More than a few bucks have changed hands in this ancient "bar bet." The wise guys say the second fastest Derby was actually run by Sham!

They say that since Sham finished just two and one half lengths behind Secretariat, his time in the 99th Derby is judged to be 1:59.90.

The old rule of thumb was that a length equates to 1/5 of a second in time, or .20 seconds. Sham finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Secretariat, which means Sham ran the Derby in 1:59.90. Pay up!

Of course, this argument will forever rage -- but we'll need a few more mint juleps before we let anybody talk us into THAT!