Returning off a nearly 10-month layoff wasn’t a worry for FIRST SAMURAI’s Lambeau on Saturday when the 5-year-old horse was in command from start to finish in a Santa Anita Allowance Optional Claimer scoring a 92 Beyer.
Making his return over a mile on dirt for owner Jerry Moss and trainer John Shirreffs, Lambeau took a few stumbled steps at the break but still kept his head in front of the field. The dark bay happily galloped under Edwin Maldonado with a horse on his hip, speeding up every time the rival tried to steal the lead.
Entering the stretch, Lambeau had a clear lead and maintained it to the end with a one length victory. It was his third win in seven starts with two other on the board finishes for nearly $120,000 in earnings.
A $475,000 Keeneland Yearling purchase for Moss, the Popatop-bred Lambeau is out of stakes winner Coastal Sunrise, a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Wall Street Wonder.
Lambeau is the latest impressive winner for FIRST SAMURAI, who has also sired four stakes performers in 2021.
The stallion has had an international impact with his son Shivaji winning Japan’s Silk Road (G3) earlier this year with three of his US-based horses performing in stakes closer to home. FIRST SAMURAI saw two of those add more black type to their resume over two of the last three weekends with Grade 2 winner Plum Ali a good third in Keeneland’s Appalachian S. (G2) and Winning Romance second in the Crescent City Oaks on Louisiana Derby (G2) day.
First Samurai’s 2021 success follows a 2020 that saw 11 of the stallion’s runners perform at stakes level, including Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) third Sharp Samurai.