St. Elias Stable’s Kentucky-bred Known Agenda drew away from his rivals with authority to win the $750,000 Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, March 27, stamping his ticket to the Kentucky Derby (G1) for trainer Todd Pletcher.
A chestnut son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, Known Agenda received an ideal trip from jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. He settled in fifth position early while saving ground behind the pacesetters. As the field straightened for home, Ortiz moved Known Agenda off the rail and set sail after Soup and Sandwich. Known Agenda kicked in gamely in the stretch, collaring Soup and Sandwich in the lane, drawing off late to win by 2 ¾ lengths. He covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.45.
“When he was making progress up the backside and picking off horses while he was inside and behind horses, I had a pretty good feeling at that point that he was running his race today and it was a matter of—we’re going to find out how good he is,” said Pletcher who celebrated his sixth Florida Derby win. “It has so many great meanings but for me what is so special about this is to win it for St. Elias with a horse that they bred. I know how much that means to them, that makes it a little more extra special for us.
“To be honest, he’s a horse that reminds us a lot of Vino Rosso,” Pletcher added. “Personality-wise, obviously being a chestnut son of Curlin, but he’s taken a little while to kind of put everything together. We kept seeing talent in the mornings that he wasn’t necessarily displaying in the afternoon, but we knew it was there.”
Known Agenda, who is out of the Grade 1-winning Byron (GB) mare Byrama (GB), now ranks third on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 102 points.