Updated on 09/17/2011 10:10PM

First Samurai dominates Hopeful

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First Samurai draws clear to a 4 1/4-length victory in the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - First Samurai came to Saratoga as simply a maiden winner. He leaves as arguably the top 2-year-old in the country.

First Samurai dominated Saturday's Grade 1 , taking over from pacesetting Too Much Bling turning for home and drawing clear to a 4 1/4-length victory over the previously undefeated Henny Hughes. It was one length back to Too Much Bling in third.

It was the third victory in as many starts for First Samurai, a son of Giant's Causeway owned by Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins and trained by Frank Brothers. It was the first defeat for Henny Hughes, who had won his first three starts, including the Grade 2 Saratoga Special, by a combined 24 3/4 lengths.

Under Jerry Bailey, First Samurai broke sharply and raced outside of Too Much Bling, who under Javier Castellano set fractions of 22.22 seconds and 44.81. Henny Hughes, meanwhile, was sitting in third and appeared to be going comfortably under Gary Stevens.

Around the turn, Bailey sent First Samurai after Too Much Bling and collared him at the top of the stretch. Henny Hughes tried to move with First Samurai but he never got close enough to make it interesting.

First Samurai ($6.10) covered seven furlongs in 1:23.25, getting his last eighth of a mile in a mediocre 14 seconds

"My horse was off the bridle and going easy, I didn't ask my horse until we left the three-eighths pole,'' said Bailey, who won his sixth Hopeful. "I glanced back and saw Henny Hughes and I just wanted to get first run on him. I didn't want him to have a head of steam coming by me and get eyeball to eyeball.''

Earlier in the week, Brothers said he felt his horse would be better going longer. After the race, Brothers said he wasn't totally surprised his colt could beat Henny Hughes going seven furlongs.

"That's why they line up; maybe the next time Henny Hughes breaks sharp and has things his way,'' Brothers said. "It's the time of year when all the good 2-year-olds come out. Our horse has come out swinging and he's doing well.''

Brothers said he would consider running First Samurai in the Grade 1, $500,000 Champagne at Belmont on Oct. 8.

Stevens didn't have any real excuse for why Henny Hughes came up flat.

"He was in a good spot, I was where I wanted to be and he came up empty down the lane,'' Stevens said. `` "He didn't give me any kind of second run today for whatever reason. I knew I was done by the five-sixteenths pole. I was running for second money.''