Leading up to the 153rd running of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) on Saturday (June 5), usracing.com is publishing profiles of each of the contenders. The 1 1/2-mile race at Belmont Park is the final leg of the Triple Crown. Profiles will be updated with post positions and odds following the draw on Tuesday (June 1).
By Margaret Ransom
Florida Derby (G1) winner Known Agenda finished ninth after a fairly-even performance in the May 1 Kentucky Derby (G1). After the race, Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher decided the St. Elias Stable homebred would sit out the Preakness (G1) in favor of the final jewel in the Triple Crown.
A son of Curlin, Known Agenda has posted three strong works over Belmont’s main track since the Derby, including a nice 5 furlongs in 1:01.12 on Friday.
With Irad Ortiz, Jr. up, Known Agenda worked outside of Metropolitan Handicap (G1) contender Dr Post (with Hall of Famer John Velazquez up).
“I thought it was a good progressive breeze that should bring them both forward,” Pletcher said. “In particular, I liked the way they galloped out. I had them out in 1:14.4, 1:27.1 and 1:41 for the mile. I thought we accomplished what we were hoping to.”
Known Agenda worked with blinkers off. Pletcher added them on Known Agenda for his optional/claiming score at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 26 and he’s worn them since.
“Sometimes he breezes with them, but we’re saving them for the race,” said Pletcher. “Sometimes, you get a little more bang for your buck if you don’t overuse them.”
Known Agenda is one of several Pletcher-trained Belmont runners. Others include Bourbonic and Overtook. Promise Keeper is a possible.
Pletcher has won the Belmont three times — Rags to Riches (2007), Palace Malice (2013), and Tapwrit (2017).
Post position: TBD
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Owner: St. Elias Stable (Vincent Viola)
Career record: 7-3-1-1
Career earnings: $541,700
Top Equibase speed figure: 112
Pedigree: Curlin—Byrama, by Byron
Running style: Mid-pack
Notes: Known Agenda’s dam, Byrama, won the Vanity Stakes (G1) 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 … Viola’s St. Elias Stable, who seeks a first win in the Belmont Stakes, tried to sell Known Agenda as a yearling but kept him after the colt failed to meet his reserve when bidding halted at $135,000 at Keeneland in September of 2019 … St. Elias Stable was a partner in 2017 Florida Derby/Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming.
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com, where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters: Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.
After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager.
She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several racehorse retirement organizations, including CARMA.
In 2016, Margaret was the recipient of the prestigious Stanley Bergstein Writing Award, sponsored by Team Valor, and was an Eclipse Award honorable mention for her story, “The Shocking Untold Story of Maria Borell,” which appeared on USRacing.com. The article and subsequent stories helped save 43 abandoned and neglected Thoroughbreds in Kentucky and also helped create a new animal welfare law known as the “Borell Law.”
Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull and Arrogate as her favorite horses of all time. She lives in Pasadena with her longtime beau, Tony, two Australian Shepherds and one Golden Retriever.