Narrowly beaten twice previously in photo finishes, And Seek left no doubt in nailing down a maiden win on Saturday’s Florida Derby card at Gulfstream Park, powering away to score by 2 1/4 lengths in a mile event with a $70,000 purse.
Nik Juarez provided a confident ride on the three-year-old colt, as they tracked in the clear from a couple lengths back before shooting to the front in the far turn and quickly opening up a daylight advantage.
“My horse was ready to roll today,” Juarez said. “He rated kindly and was full of run when I asked.”
West Point Thoroughbreds picked up And Seek last spring at the OBS April sale of two-year-olds in training. He was beaten by a neck going two turns at Keeneland in October in his third career start, and then finished third, beaten a head, at Tampa Bay Downs in his 3-year-old debut.
“I’m so proud of this horse,” said Baldemar Bahena, the long-time chief assistant to trainer Dale Romans, who was in Dubai to run a horse on the World Cup program. “He really has made tremendous progress since the fall.”