Known Agenda

Unbeaten Champion Essential Quality Favored for Kentucky Derby

LOUISVILLE, KY - Unbeaten champion Essential Quality (Tapit) was assigned post 14 in a full field of 20 assembled for Saturday's GI Kentucky Derby at Tuesday's post position draw held at Churchill Downs. The Godolphin homebred and 'TDN Rising Star,' tabbed as the 2-1 favorite on Mike Battaglia's morning line, made it a perfect five-for-five for trainer Brad Cox with a hard-fought, neck decision over Highly Motivated (Into Mischief) in the GII Blue Grass S. at Keeneland Apr. 3. Luis Saez, disqualified from first aboard Maximum Security in 2019, has...

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The TDN Derby Top 20 for April 20

We've entered that fun phase of microscopic scrutiny that accompanies the GI Kentucky Derby waiting game. The rankings below are independent from the "Road to the Derby" points leaderboard that Churchill Downs will use to determine starting berths; that list can be accessed here. 1) ESSENTIAL QUALITY (c, Tapit--Delightful Quality, by Elusive Quality) O/B-Godolphin (KY). T-Brad Cox. Lifetime Record: Ch. 2yo Colt & MGISW, 5-5-0-0, $2,265,144. Last Start: 1st GII Toyota Blue Grass S., KEE, Apr. 3 Accomplishments: 'TDN Rising Star', 1st GI TVG Breeders' Cup Juvenile, KEE, Nov. 6,...

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Pletcher Works Derby Quartet at Churchill

On a busy Friday morning at Churchill Downs, GI Kentucky Derby contenders Bourbonic (Bernardini) (five furlongs, 1:01.60), Dynamic One (Union Rags) (five furlongs, 1:01), Helium (Ironicus) (five furlongs, 1:01.80), Known Agenda (Curlin) (five furlongs, 1:00.40) and Sainthood (Mshawish) (five furlongs, 1:00.40) all recorded published workouts in preparation for the 147th running of the "Run for the Roses" Saturday, May 1. All five horses worked at 7:30 a.m. and D J Stable's unbeaten GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner Helium was the first of the quintet to work. "The most...

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The TDN Derby Top 20 For April 13

The long prep season is over, but some jostling for a starting spot remains among the horses on the cusp of the qualifying points cutoff. Please note the rankings below are independent from the "Road to the GI Kentucky Derby" points leaderboard Churchill Downs uses to determine starting berths. That list can be accessed here. 1) ESSENTIAL QUALITY (c, Tapit--Delightful Quality, by Elusive Quality) O/B-Godolphin (KY). T-Brad Cox. Lifetime Record: Ch. 2yo Colt & MGISW, 5-5-0-0, $2,265,144. Last Start: 1st GII Toyota Blue Grass S., KEE, Apr. 3 Accomplishments: 'TDN...

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Todd Pletcher Talks Derby Contenders On Writers' Room

At one point this spring, it was conceivable that soon-to-be Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher would be faced with the unusual situation of not having a GI Kentucky Derby starter. Things change quickly in racing though, as now the seven-time Eclipse Award winner is likely to have four horses in the gate in Louisville and Wednesday morning, he joined the TDN Writers' Room presented by Keeneland to talk about his sudden Derby quartet. Calling in via Zoom as the Green Group Guest of the Week, Pletcher also talked about...

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Todd Pletcher Joins the TDN Writers' Room

Trainer Todd Pletcher joins this week's TDN Writers' Room after pulling the upset in this past weekend's GII Wood Memorial with Bourbonic.

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Reviving a Forgotten Classic Agenda

Breeders on both sides of the Atlantic have become so childishly dogmatic about sealing off their respective bloodlines--as dirt or turf, and "never the twain shall meet"--that even a GI Kentucky Derby might not suffice to open some eyes. It is almost as though they have forgotten the mutual transformations achieved by the likes of Nasrullah and Northern Dancer. To those who remain a little more open-minded, however, Known Agenda (Curlin) has already rebuked some lazy assumptions with his breakout score in the GI Florida Derby last Saturday. Plenty thought...

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TDN Derby Top 12 for Mar. 30

We're on the cusp of the one-month mark to the GI Kentucky Derby, and this Saturday marks the most important weekend of nine-furlong preps on the Triple Crown calendar, with significant stakes at Santa Anita, Keeneland, and Aqueduct. Next week, the Top 12 expands to the Top 20 as the race for qualifying points intensifies and the actual field begins to take shape. 1) GREATEST HONOUR (c, Tapit--Tiffany's Honour, by Street Cry {Ire}) O/B-Courtlandt Farms (KY). T-Claude R. McGaughey III. Lifetime Record: MGSW & GISP, 7-3-1-3, $422,440. Last Start: 3rd...

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Week in Review: Off-Lasix 3YOs Have Now Won 25% of This Year's Derby Preps

Besides solidifying his status as a top-tier Triple Crown threat, Saturday's win by Known Agenda (Curlin) in the GI Curlin Florida Derby bolstered the overall case that the phase-out of Lasix in this year's series of GI Kentucky Derby preps seems to be having no adverse effect on performance. Through 20 races in North America since Jan. 1 that have awarded Derby qualifying points, horses giving up Lasix after receiving it in their prior start have won five of those races. Seven others have finished second, an impressive strike rate...

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Known Agenda All Good After Florida Derby

St Elias Stable homebred Known Agenda (Curlin) appears to have exited his victory in Saturday's GI Curlin Florida Derby in good order. "Excellent. He came back in great shape, good energy. I'm very happy with him," trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday. "He'll stay here for a little while. We'll just kind of monitor the weather everywhere and play it by ear whether he has one work at Churchill [Downs] or two works [before the GI Kentucky Derby." Third in December's GII Remsen S., the son of GISW Byrama (GB) (Byron...

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Derby March for Greatest Honour

Greatest Honour (Tapit) rides a three-race win streak heading into the GI Curlin Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, however, the Courtlandt Farm homebred certainly hasn't scared anyone away as 10 other sophomores have also signed on in Saturday's Classic prep. A large part of the draw is that the Florida Derby will offer 170 qualifying points for the May 1 Kentucky Derby on a 100-40-20-10 basis. The 1 1/8-mile test has produced the winners of 60 Triple Crown events. The imposing bay kicked off his career with a trio of...

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Lopez After Fight With Ortiz: 'I Don't Want Any Trouble Going Forward'

After scuffling Friday at Gulfstream Park with Irad Ortiz, Jr., which caused him to be put on probation for the remainder of the meet, Paco Lopez told the TDN Monday he is ready to move on. That there was a fight between Ortiz and Lopez was first reported by the Daily Racing Form's Mike Welsch. The fight was captured on a video that shows Ortiz landing at least three punches on Lopez following the fourth race Friday at Gulfstream. Lopez did not fight back. "For me, it's over. I don't...

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