Known Agenda, the talented, but temperamental colt, was retired from racing Wednesday. He’ll begin stud duty at Spendthrift Farm in 2022.
The farm announced this year’s Florida Derby winner will stand for an initial fee of $10,000. No reason was given for his sudden retirement, but Known Agenda hasn’t run since finishing fourth in the June 5 Belmont Stakes. Trainer Todd Pletcher didn’t work him out since before the Belmont.
“Any time you can add a Florida Derby winner by Curlin with his looks and pedigree, you jump at the opportunity,” Spendthrift Farm General Manager Ned Toffey said in a statement. “Known Agenda ticks an awful lot of boxes, and the Florida Derby has produced a lot of very good sires, especially in recent history … Known Agenda is one of those rare classic-type Grade 1 winners that is by a Grade 1 winner and out of a Grade 1 winner.”
The Curlin progeny is out of Byrama, who won the 2013 Grade 1 Vanity Stakes at Hollywood Park. Known Agenda comes from St. Elias Stables, owned by Vinnie Viola, the owner of the Florida Panthers. Viola also owns 2019 Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Vino Rosso, who stands at Spendthrift. Known Agenda is St. Elias’ first homebred going to stud.
Vino Rosso provides the best comparison
“He reminds us quite a bit of Vino Rosso, another son of Curlin that we stand, that Vinnie co-owns and campaigned with (trainer) Todd Pletcher,” Toffey said. “If Known Agenda’s foals look anything like what we have seen from Vino Rosso, then the sky’s the limit.”
When Known Agenda was on his game, the same could be said about his racing career. He broke his maiden on second asking, nipping eventual Florida racing rival Greatest Honour by a head in an Aqueduct maiden special weight. The pair were 21 lengths clear of third-place Overtook.
But he wasn’t always on his game. Not always interested in racing, Known Agenda finished a well-beaten third – by nine lengths – in his first graded-stakes, the Grade 3 Remsen. He finished a disinterested fifth in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs this February.
Known Agenda found his stride this spring
In his next start, a Gulfstream Park allowance, Known Agenda turned it around. He blistered the field by 11 lengths. That vaulted him into a nearly three-length victory in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, his lone graded-stakes victory. That came with a career-best 112 Equibase Speed Figure that was the best figure of the 19 Kentucky Derby horses.
“Known Agenda reminded me a great deal of Vino Rosso. He possessed the qualities of some of the better Curlins we’ve had. He’s a good-sized, athletic, very well-balanced horse,” Pletcher said. “His Florida Derby win was ultra-impressive, and, obviously, that’s been a great race for us when you think of the colts that have gone on to become top sires like Scat Daddy and Constitution.”
Known Agenda drew the short straw in that Derby, leaving from the dreaded Post 1. That produced a troubled trip and ninth-place finish, 10 ¾ lengths behind Medina Spirit. Five weeks later, Pletcher turned him around for the Belmont Stakes. Known Agenda never threatened there either, finishing a modest fourth – 13 ¼ lengths behind Essential Quality.
That closes the book on Known Agenda’s eight-race career. He won three times with a second and third, banking earnings of $641,700. Viola bought him for $135,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton New York Select Saratoga Yearling Sale.