Viola’s Known Agenda prevails in Florida Derby at Gulfstream

Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images
1 Comment

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. — Everything is going Vincent Viola’s way these days.

He owns the Florida Panthers, and they’re well on their way to the Stanley Cup playoffs. And he also owns Known Agenda, who is now well on his way to the Kentucky Derby.

Known Agenda ran away from the field in the Florida Derby on Saturday, and might keep on going all the way to Churchill Downs to start the Triple Crown season. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. guided Known Agenda to the win in the Grade 1, $750,000 race at Gulfstream Park, picking up 100 Kentucky Derby standings points – which will be more than enough to qualify him for that race in five weeks.

“I certainly hope so,” winning trainer Todd Pletcher said.

Pletcher won the Florida Derby for the sixth time, and Known Agenda covered the 1 1/8 miles on the dirt in 1 minutes, 49.45 seconds. He returned $12.80 for the win, $6.60 to place and $3.20 to show.

Soup and Sandwich was second and heavily favored Greatest Honour – who came into the race with more than enough points to get into the Kentucky Derby – settled for third. Greatest Honour ran into traffic coming out of the gate and was nowhere near the front as the group headed into the first turn, though settled in along the rail and simply waited for an opening.

By the time he found open space, it was too late. Known Agenda was gone.

“He ran terrific,” Pletcher said. “I was so happy to see him progressing up the backside. He kept moving, improving his position the whole way. He ran great.”

Soup and Sandwich picked up 40 Derby standings points, and Greatest Honour got 20.

In other full-point Derby prep races Saturday:

UAE DERBY

Rebel’s Romance rolled to an easy win in Saturday’s UAE Derby at Dubai, earning 100 points in the Kentucky Derby standings and essentially clinching a spot in the field – though it remains unknown if owner Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and trainer Charlie Appleby will send him over. Panadol was second and New Treasure was third.

JEFF RUBY STEAKS

Like The King survived an objection that was made postrace and prevailed in the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park, also earning 100 points toward qualifying for the Kentucky Derby. Sainthood was second and Hockey Dad was third.