First Samurai, a two-time grade I winner as a 2-year-old last year, has been retired from racing and will enter stud at the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky. Owners Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins III decided to retire First Samurai after it became apparent that the son of Giant's Causeway
wouldn't be ready for a fall campaign.
"We had planned to retire First Samurai at the end of the season, but as it became clear that we did not have enough time to achieve our major objectives, we made the decision to stop on him now," Lunsford said. "He was a brilliant racehorse and we are very disappointed, but we're also looking forward to the next phase of his career."
First Samurai dominated the 2-year-old division for part of last year. He won his first four starts, including the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga and the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. He was third in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
First Samurai won this year's Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) and ran second in the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II). He suffered two broken ribs when experiencing difficulty leaving the starting gate during the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland in April. First Samurai concluded his career with five wins from eight starts and earnings of $915,075.
Bred in Kentucky by John D. Gunther, First Samurai is out of the stakes-winning Dixieland Band
mare Freddie Frisson, who is a half-sister to graded winner Sky Blue Pink.