Trainer Todd Pletcher added to his illustrious record in the $770,000 Florida Derby (G1) on Saturday when Known Agenda sprung a mild upset in the 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby prep at Gulfstream Park.
Under Irad Ortiz Jr., Known Agenda enjoyed a ground-saving trip in midpack, moved off the inside to challenge three wide turning for home, grabbed the lead in upper stretch, and powered home a 2 3/4-length winner over stakes newcomer Soup and Sandwich. It was three lengths back to Greatest Honour, the 4-5 favorite, while Nova Rags ran fourth ahead of Collaborate, Southern Passage, Papetu, Spielberg, Quantum Leap, Jirafales, and Siglioso.
A homebred racing for St Elias Stable, Known Agenda covered the distance over a fast track in 1:49.45 and paid $12.80 as the third choice.
This was the sixth victory in the Florida Derby for Pletcher, which breaks his own previous mark. Five of those have come in the last eight runnings, including the 2017 edition with eventual Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming.
Known Agenda is now bound for the May 1 Run for the Roses himself having earned 100 qualifying points by winning the Florida Derby. He now has 102 points in total. Soup and Sandwich earned 40 points, while Greatest Honor earned 20 points to increase his total to 80 points. Nova Rags earned 10 points and now has a total of 14.
"The one exciting thing, we felt, is that distance is not an issue with him," Pletcher said. "We feel a mile and quarter is going to be right in his wheelhouse. Like everyone at this point, you want to have five healthy weeks and everything to go smoothly between now and then."
Victorious in his second career start over Greatest Honour, Known Agenda had not been as fruitful in stakes company compared to that rival heading into the Florida Derby. A distant third in the Dec. 5 Remsen (G2) in his stakes debut, Known Agenda was a well-beaten fifth as the favorite in the Feb. 6 Sam F. Davis (G3) in his three-year-old debut.
However, the addition of blinkers has appeared to help turn the colt's fortunes around. They were first worn in a track-and-distance allowance on Feb. 26, and Known Agenda responded with an 11-length win under Ortiz. The colt's record now stands at 6-3-1-1, $541,700.
A Kentucky-bred by the Florida Derby sponsoring sire Curlin, Known Agenda was reared by Vanity H. (G1) heroine Byrama, by Byron.