07/26/2006 12:00AM

First Samurai is retired


First Samurai, who has been sidelined with cracked ribs since the April 15 Blue Grass Stakes, has been retired from racing and will stand in 2007 at Claiborne Farm.

"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," said Bruce Lunsford, who campaigned First Samurai with Lansdon Robbins III.

Trained by Frank Brothers, First Samurai, a Giant's Causeway colt, had been a Triple Crown hopeful until cracking two ribs. Brothers said in April that he believed the colt had hit the starting gate at Keeneland before or at the break for the Grade 1 Blue Grass.

First Samurai won his first four starts by impressive margins. In winning the Hopeful by 4 1/4 lengths and the Champagne by 2 3/4 lengths, First Samurai became the first horse since 1993 to win both. He closed out 2005 finishing third behind Stevie Wonderboy in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile .

This season, First Samurai finished second in the Grade 2 Hutcheson and Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, though he was elevated to first in the Fountain of Youth on the disqualification of Corinthian.

First Samurai finished fifth in the Blue Grass. He retires with a record of 5-1-1 from eight starts and earned $915,075.

Bred by John Gunther, First Samurai is out of the stakes-winning Dixieland Band mare Freddie Frisson.- Glenye Cain