2-17-2018 Bravazo, with Miguel Mena aboard, pushes to the lead to beat Snapper Sinclair in a close finish in the Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Hodges Photography / Amanda Hodges Weir

Every day, we scour the work tabs at racetracks and training facilities all over North America. We are searching for those horses that appear to be peaking at just the right time and may be sitting on a top performance in the afternoons. Some of the horses that we watch and track, you will know. Others, though, you may not recognize — yet. Here is a closer look at some of today’s morning glories:

  1. Mississippi, a Pioneerof the Nile colt trained by Mark Casse for an all-star ownership team of Magnier-Tabor-Oxley-Smith, has run twice this year in allowance events. He has two seconds, including a neck loss to Storm Runner, and a 3/4-length loss to Noble Indy (who will make his next start this Saturday in the Louisiana Derby). In four lifetime starts to date, he has a win and the two seconds. He worked this morning at Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida, going 5-furlongs in 1:00.75. That was the bullet work out of 5 to go that far this morning. I would not discount this colt. He should get better the farther the races go. He will need to show up in a  Stakes race soon to gather some points, but he could still find a way into the Derby field.
  2. Originator, a 3YO colt by Artie Schiller, may be one of the best young grass horses to show up in the barn of trainer Ian Wilkes in years. The colt broke his maiden on debut on Jan. 14 at Gulfstream Park, and followed that up with a game second in an allowance event at Tampa Bay on Feb. 21. He worked 5-furlongs over the turf at Palm Meadows this morning in a brisk 1:00.65 — which was the fastest of 3 to work that distance over the sod today. Watch for this one to show up at Keeneland, and he could be a nice one.
  3. Retirement Fund, a 3YO son of Eskendereya who won his first two career starts before running a disappointing 7th in the G3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in his last start, got his final tuneup for Saturday’s Louisiana Derby today. The colt breezed a half mile for the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen in :50.80, which was the 24th best time out of 32 to go that far. Watch for improvement today from this guy. He has already won twice over this dirt track.
  4. Snapper Sinclair, who lost the Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds by a nostril hair, got his last prep for this Saturday’s Louisiana Derby this morning, as well. He worked a half mile in :49.60, which was the 10th best time out of the 32. The son of City Zip has to be considered one of the top contenders for this major Derby prep, especially considering that Asmussen has hired Jose Ortiz to ride this weekend.
  5. Marmello, a longshot entered for the Louisiana Derby, worked this morning at the Fair Grounds this morning, too. Trained by Mikhail Yanakov, the Concord Point colt went 6 furlongs in 1:14 flat. It was the 2nd best time out of 4 to go that far. The colt is still a maiden after running third and fourth in his first two career starts this year.