Photo: Coglianese Photography
HOW HE GOT HERE
Known Agenda announced to the world of Thoroughbred racing exactly what that agenda was by winning the Florida Derby and proclaiming his spot in the Kentucky Derby. Known Agenda has competed in 6 races lifetime, 3 of those have been graded stakes and 4 of 6 have been the route distance of 1 mile 1/8. Making his debut at Belmont Park going a distance of 6.5F in Maiden Special Weight, Known Agenda finished a solid second behind fellow derby contender Highly Motivated. In his second outing he broke his maiden prevailing by a neck after going stride for stride in a great stretch run with Greatest Honor. One month later in December, the connections decided to step up into graded stakes ranks and run in the Grade 2 Remsen stakes at Aqueduct. The race day conditions were less than ideal and Known Agenda was collared along the rail on a sloppy race track; he did make a moderate move late but was beaten handily. Trainer Todd Pletcher gave him a few months off before shipping down to Florida for his 4th outing, the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs. Unprepared at the start, Known Agenda gave the other runners about a 2 length head start. The pace was fast and he was unable to reach a striking distance in time. He once again finished strong going from near last to 5th, but by this time jockey Johnny Velazquez was not urging as he knew a better placing was out of reach. His 5th start was an allowance optional claiming event at Gulfstream Part going the distance 1 mile 1/8th. Again Known Agenda did not get a great start but it was not nearly as bad as his last at Tampa. He was able to sit a comfortable trip behind the front running group as Irad Ortiz waited patiently until they entered the turn and Known Agenda responded explosively. He went to the front and was locked in battle for 200 yards against fellow runner Top Gun Tommy. This was the incident that caused friction between Irad Ortiz and Paco Lopez, they exchanged a few words after the race then Irad exchanged a right left combo on Paco that was caught on tape. The right was solid, the left was a little off target but I think Irad got his point across.
At this point with only 2 credits earned toward the 1st Saturday in May, a good finish in The Florida Derby was a necessity. Known Agenda was very well placed early on and given a great ride by jockey Irad Ortiz. He sat a ground saving trip along the rail in the second flight of horses, waited his time and switched to the outside at the top of the stretch and finished strong winning the race by almost 3 lengths.
HOW HE FITS HERE
Known Agenda is by Curlin, who needs no introduction as a sire, and out of a mare named Byrama. Byrama won the Grade 1 Vanity at Hollywood Park back in 2013 and was Graded Stakes placed multiple times in her racing career, her best races were at the longer distances. Based on his pedigree and previous races I am not concerned with distance limitations when it comes to Known Agenda, what does raise a slight bit of concern is slow starts. It’s not as if he starts near the rear of the pack, just that he does not have enough early speed to clear out and secure early position. Due to recent withdrawals , there has been a reduction in the number of certified front runners lined up for this Derby. This bodes well for Known Agenda and should increase his chances of being in his prime stalking spot, which is in the second or third flight of runners early on. At the projected odds of 12-1, I see value in this Todd Pletcher trainee. Pletcher, who most recently won the Kentucky Derby back in 2017 with Always Dreaming, is hoping for the same end result via a similar path; winning the Florida Derby resting and then on to Louisville.
You could very well be reading about the next Kentucky Derby winner. His pedigree and stamina are unquestioned when it comes to the common query of Kentucky Derby contenders and distance limitations. The pace scenario and traffic complications are factors that all 20 runners will have to deal with and are the only two that could potentially hinder Known Agenda from being adored with roses late in the afternoon on May 1st 2021. He is definitely a win candidate and should be used underneath in all exotic wagers as well.