In the days leading up to the 147th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby (G1), usracing.com is profiling all the contenders. The 1 ¼-mile Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs is May 1 and is the first leg of the Triple Crown. All profiles will be updated with post positions, odds, and jockeys following the draw on Tuesday, April 27.
Kentucky Derby 2021 Profile: Known Agenda
By Margaret Ransom
Known Agenda, the leading point-earner out of the four from Hall of Fame inductee Todd Pletcher’s powerful arsenal, enters the Run for the Roses off a 2 ¾-length romp in the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park last out on March 27 in what was his first stakes victory.
The St. Elias Stable (Vincent Viola) homebred had been training at his winter base of Palm Beach Downs but shipped to Churchill Downs with his Derby-bound stablemates for his final preps 20 days before the main event.
After a dull fifth-place finish in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs in early February, Pletcher put the blinkers on Known Agenda and he responded with focus, winning a Gulfstream Park allowance race on Feb. 26 by 11 widening lengths.
“I think he’s a horse who is improving, and the blinkers have kept him a little more focused and a little more engaged in the race,” Pletcher told the Daily Racing Form. “I think without the blinkers in the Florida Derby he might have been a little intimidated with the position he was in and he might not have made the progress he made from the five-eighths pole to the half-mile pole without them. But experience has also helped him. Time has helped him. The mile and an eighth certainly doesn’t bother him. And I believe the added distance in the Derby is something we feel good about for all our horses.”
Recently, the single most productive Derby prep has been the Florida Derby which could give Known Agenda an edge.
Since Barbaro in 2006, Big Brown (2008), Orb (2013), Nyquist (2016) and Always Dreaming (2017) made the successful leap from the Florida Derby winner’s circle to the Kentucky Derby winner’s circle. Maximum Security would have been another had he not been disqualified from the win in Louisville two years ago. Overall, 24 Florida Derby winners have won the Kentucky Derby.
Also, Known Agenda may have a slight edge in that his sire, Curlin, was a Grade 1 winner at the classic distance (2007 BC Classic) and also won the 1 3/16-mile Preakness. Eleven of the last 12 Kentucky Derby winners were sired by a Grade 1 winner around two turns, except Orb in 2013 (Malibu Moon) and California Chrome in 2014 (Lucky Pulpit).
He also has some tactical turn of foot, which can be handy considering he can be used to either sit close to the front or well off it depending on the pace speed. Typically, Derby winners come from within a handful of lengths of the lead through the first half-mile.
Kentucky Derby 2021 Entries: Known Agenda
Post position: TBD
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Owner: St. Elias Stable (Vincent Viola)
Career record: 6-3-1-1
Career earnings: $541,700
Derby qualifying points: 102 (5th)
Top Equibase speed figure: 112
Pedigree: Curlin-Byrama, by Byron
Running style: Mid-pack
Notes: Known Agenda’s dam Byrama won the G1 Vanity Stakes at Hollywood Park in 2013 over the synthetic and was subsequently sold to St. Elias Stable for $725,000 that November at Keeneland, but never won another race, though she did pick up three more graded stakes placings … St. Elias tried to sell Known Agenda as a yearling but kept him to be a member of their racing program after he failed to meet his reserve when bidding halted at $135,000 at Keeneland in September of 2019 … St. Elias was a partner in 2017 Florida Derby/Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming … Pletcher has two Derbies so far, Super Saver in 2010 and Always Dreaming in 2017 … Eclipse Award winning jockey Ortiz is looking for his first Derby win.