Known Agenda's pedigree points to Derby favoritism

Known Agenda's pedigree points to Derby favoritism
Photo: Carson Dennis/Eclipse Sportswire

Known Agenda posted a mild upset over favored Greatest Honour in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on Saturday.

Irad Ortiz Jr. settled the flashy chestnut colt in fifth place on the rail in the initial stages of the race. They tipped out at the top of the stretch, and once he saw daylight, Known Agenda lengthened stride. He galloped under the wire 2 3/4 lengths in front of a tiring Soup and Sandwich.

Greatest Honour was gaining at the end but lacked his customary late kick and had to settle for third place in front of an exhausted Nova Rags.  Todd Pletcher's Known Agenda completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.45, getting his final furlong is a sharp 12.84.

Known Agenda was bred by Vinnie and Teresa Vola’s St. Elias Stables, LLC. After he failed to meet his $135,000 reserve at the Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Select Yearling August sale, his connections decided to campaign the large son of Curlin.

After finishing fifth in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at the beginning of his 3-year-old season, Known Agenda demolished a field of allowance/optional claimers by 11 lengths, getting 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.47 just 20 days later. Last year, Known Agenda showed talent while finishing third in the Remsen Stakes (G2), after graduating in his second start, in which he beat Greatest Honour by a head in a 1 1/8-mile maiden event. The son of Curlin has a 6: 3-1-1 record with $541,700 in earnings. He earned 100 qualifying points Saturday and has 102 total for the 2021 Kentucky Derby.

The Florida Derby is a major prep for Kentucky, and 15 colts since 1956 have completed the Florida/Kentucky double. The last one was Always Dreaming (2017). Although their pedigrees are different, Known Agenda and Always Dreaming (Bodemeister) have other similarities. Both captured the Florida Derby in their third start of the year after an open-length score in an allowance/optional claiming race at 1 1/8 miles. Both share the same trainer (Pletcher) and owner. St. Ellias Stables LLC and Teresa Viola Racing Stables campaigned Always Dreaming in partnership with Brooklyn Boyz Stables, Siena Farm LLC, West Point Thoroughbreds and MeB Racing Stables LLC.

Pedigree: Known Agenda (Curlin - Byrama (GB), by Byron (GB)) has the pedigree and conformation to handle classic distances. A large, solid colt, he’s a smooth mover with no wasted motion such as paddling or high knee action. Known Agenda appears comfortable racing in crowded situations. He targets horses in front and has no problems passing. He has tactical speed and generally sits in fourth place early in his races. (Click here for the Known Agenda pedigree chart).

Curlin hasn’t sired a Kentucky Derby winner yet, but he’s knocking on the door. Good Magic (2018) and Exaggerator (2016) placed second, and the latter won the Preakness. His son Palace Malice captured the 2013 Belmont Stakes.

Known Agenda’s distaff line is European. His is a developing family, with little blacktype in the third and fourth generation.

Known Agenda is the third foal and second to race out of Grade 1 winner Byrama (GB). His half-brother Play the Kid (Tapit) was out of the money in his sole start, and half-brother Victory Map (Liam’s Map) was unraced.

Byrama began her career sprinting in Great Britain, then switched to Simon Callahan’s barn at the end of her 2-year-old season. The bay mare was successful from five furlongs to 1 1/8 miles over turf and Polytrack. As a 3-year-old, Byrama won the Manhattan Beach and Unzip Me Stakes. Although she was knocking on the door in multiple Grade 1s, 2s and 3s, including a heart-breaking neck defeat in the Madison (G1), she didn’t break through with a victory until the 2013 Vanity Handicap (G1) at 1 1/8 miles over Polytrack. It proved to be her last trip to the winner’s circle, but the hard-knocking mare placed six additional times in graded stakes. Byrama retired at the end of her 4-year-old season with a 29: 5-7-9 ($659,067) record.

Known Agenda’s 2-year-old half-sister Breeze Berry (Bodemeister) was a bargain $9,000 Keeneland November weanling in 2019. A yearling half-sister by Always Dreaming attracted $20,222 at the 2021 Keeneland January sale as a yearling.

The second generation of Known Agenda’s distaff line includes Byrama’s half-brother Klammer (GB) (Exceed and Excel (AUS)), a Group 3-winning sprinter in Great Britain, and his full brother, the Irish listed-placed The Warrior (IRE).

Byron (GB) (Green Desert - Gay Gallanta, by Woodman) is a son of Green Desert, the 1990 English champion freshman sire, out of Gay Gallanta, the 1994 European 2-year-old Champion Filly.

He is the most accomplished runner in his immediate line, a multiple Group 2-winning sprinter, and he placed in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (G1), which is the French version of the 2000 Guineas. Byron competed for four years, and retired with a 12: 3-2-2 record with about $226,000 in winnings.

Byron (GB) hasn’t set the world on fire as a stallion. As a broodmare sire, Byran has 136 foals, 62 starters, 32 winners and five stakes winners. Known Agenda is the most accomplished, and the rest are Group 3 and listed European turf sprinters.

Known Agenda has the pedigree, conformation, mental acumen and class to be a significant classics contender. With the absence of Life is Good, Known Agenda and Essential Quality, should he remain unbeaten, will vie for Kentucky Derby favoritism.



Meet Laurie Ross


 HRN Pedigree Analyst 

 Handicapper 

 Published Author

 Pedigree Research/Consultation/Sales 

 ThoroFan Board Member

 Member – NTWAB


Through hands-on work at barns, I learned valuable lessons about Thoroughbred conformation, gait, and temperament and later worked withThoroughbred rescue/re-train organizations. I have committed my passion for horses to the intensive study of pedigree and breeding theory for the last 20 years. 


I support clients with all aspects of pedigree/breeding analysis, research, sales, catalogue review, and recommendations on claims or private sales. Clients include national leading owners, racing/breeding syndicates, the little guy with one mare, and everyone in between. 10-20% of all proceeds are donated to Thoroughbred rescue & retraining groups. Check out my website, Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds, and the IMTBreds blog.

I welcome your questions regarding pedigree, handicapping, and breeding. If you would like me to cover a specific topic, please contact me. 

Twitter: @IMTBreds
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LinkedIn: Laurie Ross

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