Mississippi to Florida Derby

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6:28 pm EDT

After Going Through 'Lull'

It looks like Mississippi will be in the Florida Derby off of a half-mile work today.

Going out at 6:30 a.m. in company with maiden-winning stable mate Shanghai Noon, Mississippi covered four furlongs in 49.45 seconds (4/36) at Palm Meadows.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased,” trainer Mark Casse said. “He finished up really nice and galloped out strong. He’s ready. If he has a good week this week, we’re going to run him in the Florida Derby.”

Purchased for $700,000 out of Fasig-Tipton’s Florida Selected 2-year-olds in training sale last spring at Gulfstream Park, Mississippi broke his maiden going one mile last fall in his second and final start at  age two.

This year, the Pioneerof the Nile colt was beaten three-quarters of a length by Noble Indy on Jan. 11 and was a neck behind Storm Runner on Feb. 4 in 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance races at Gulfstream Park.

Noble Indy was a hard-fought winner of the Louisiana Derby yesterday, while Storm Runner is also being pointed to the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby.

“I think he’s a horse that just keeps getting better and better. Of course, (Noble Indy) winning the Louisiana Derby didn’t hurt his feelings any. He ran a nice second to him,” Casse said. “He’s by Pioneerof the Nile so he’s going to get better and better. Now, we just need a good post position.”

Mississippi has worked four times since his last start, including five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.75 on March 19 at Palm Meadows.

“One of the reasons we haven’t run him, we gave him some time because I thought I ran him back maybe a little too quick in his last allowance race. Then I thought he went through a little bit of a lull,” Casse said. “He wasn’t training as well, but his last two works have been extremely good, so that’s why we’re going to take a shot.”

Edited Gulfstream Park release