Hopeful winner First Samurai, diagnosed with two broken ribs.

Hopeful winner First Samurai, diagnosed with two broken ribs.

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

First Samurai Diagnosed With Broken Ribs

By Steve Byk
Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins III's multiple graded stake winner First Samurai was discovered Wednesday to have two broken ribs likely suffered when struck by the starting gate at the outset of the April 15 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.

The Frank Brothers-trained Giant's Causeway  colt had been displaying increasing distress over the previous 72 hours and was sent to Hagyard Equine Medical Institute Wednesday morning, where a full body scan revealed the double fracture at the far end of his left side rib cage.

Removed from consideration for the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) after finishing an uninvolved fifth in the Blue Grass, First Samurai was preparing to resume training but had displayed discomfort under tack and a reluctance to work, prompting Brothers to seek the extensive examination. "In some ways we're relieved," said Robbins late Wednesday. "His performance in the Blue Grass was difficult for us to understand, and if he sustained this at the break when hit the gate, then it gives us some perspective." Robbins added that First Samurai would miss at least 30 days of training with the breaks.

First Samurai established himself as an early candidate for the sophomore spring classics after annexing the Hopeful (gr. I) and Champagne (gr. I) and finishing third to Stevie Wonderboy in the Bessemer Trus Breeders' Cup Juvenile(gr. I) in 2005. Second in his 3-year-old debut to Keyed Entry in the Hutcheson in February, First Samurai was awarded victory in the Fountain of Youth (gr. II) in March before the Blue Grass. He has earned $915,075 posting a 5-1-1 record in eight careers starts.

First Samurai will be walked in Brothers' Churchill Downs barn until fully recovered from the rib injury.