11/02/2013 2:47PM

Breeders' Cup Marathon: London Bridge followed unique path

Susie Raisher
London Bridge, ridden by Mike Smith, wins the BC Marathon in his first start on dirt.

ARCADIA, Calif. – The upset win by London Bridge in Friday’s $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon proved Breeders’ Cup winners can come from anywhere.

It is highly doubtful the crowd who watched the first division of the $4,600 Frosts4cars.co.uk Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on firm turf at Brighton, England, on June 6 thought they saw a Breeders’ Cup race winner when London Bridge won for the first time in his career as the 3-1 co-favorite. London Bridge followed that race with two wins in minor handicaps over the next two weeks – at Sandown Park on June 14 and at Ripon on June 20. London Bridge finished a game third in a $76,200 handicap over 1 1/2 miles at Ascot in July. He followed that with a fourth in the listed Prix Michel Houyvet at Deauville, France, on Aug. 15 in his stakes debut.

Owned by Waratah Thoroughbreds, London Bridge became a candidate for the BC Marathon during the summer, according to Mikael Magnusson, assistant to trainer Jo Hughes.

“We had targeted this horse on this race for a long time because he needs very fast ground,” Magnusson said Friday. “In England, the ground was gone, so we had nowhere to go with it.”

One unknown was the dirt track, which winning jockey Mike Smith said that London Bridge did not handle for most of the race. Smith said that London Bridge grabbed a hold of the bit with three furlongs remaining. The 3-year-old closed from fifth in the stretch to win the richest race of his career.

London Bridge is scheduled to be sent to Australia, where he will resume his career.