First Samurai Drills Mile for Fountain of Youth

edited track release

Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins III's 3-year-old First Samurai worked a mile in a strong 1:37 3/5 Friday morning at Gulfstream Park in preparation for the $300,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr.II) going 1 1/8 miles a week from tomorrow.

Donna Barton-Brothers, trainer Frank Brothers' wife, was aboard First Samurai as they came onto the track at the quarter pole after the final renovation break at about nine o'clock and jogged the wrong way to the backstretch.

Galloping back the right way into the stretch, the chestnut son of Giant's Causeway  broke off at the mile pole and posted fractions of :49 2/5, 1:01 3/5, and 1:13 3/5. Clockers caught him galloping out a mile and an eighth in 1:53 3/5.

"He worked fine," said the trainer after the work. "He lost interest a little bit in the stretch, but young horses will do that. That's about it for him (works before the race). Now it's time to 'walk the walk.' The proof is in the pudding," he said referring to the brilliant colt's first start in a two-turn race.

First Samurai, bred in Kentucky by John D. Gunther, won the first four starts of his career impressively, including the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga and Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont before suffering his first defeat when third as the favorite in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Oct. 29.

First Samurai ran very well to finish second in his 3-year-old debut in the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) here Feb. 4, a half-length behind Keyed Entry, who set a track record for the 7 1/2-furlong distance.

First Samurai, who is out of the Dixieland Band mare Freddie Frisson, was the only horse to work a mile Friday.