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I resolved this issue by creating a second folder for samples, and modifying the AdvanceMame configuration file to utilize this folder for samples instead of the default folder. Since I didn’t update the corresponding Retropie/Emulationstation configuration files, EmulationStation no longer “sees” the files and they don’t appear in the menu, but AdvanceMame still access the files – and the samples are utilized by the corresponding ROMS.

I plan to use this same process for BIOS files that are required to run ROMS — so as to ensure the files don’t appear in the menu as selectable items.