The first race of the two-day Breeders' Cup card at Santa Anita was run at a little-raced distance but finished with a predictable outcome. Mike Smith guided London Bridge over the 1 3/4 miles to win his record 18th Breeders' Cup race.
A race that long is rarely run in the United States so it gathered a lot of 1 1/8 mile horses and asked them to stretch out to 14 furlongs. In other words, the first half of the race is an exercise in watching paint dry.
London Bridge came from 8th at the mile to win by a length. The 3-year-old colt paid $20.00, $10.20 and $6.40. Blueskiesnrainbows, with Martin Pedroza aboard, paid $9.00 and $6.20 to place and Wordly, under David Flores, paid $4.80 to show.
It was the fourth win in nine lifetime races for London Bridge. The horse carried four fewer pounds (122) than every other horse in the race.
Jockey Gary Stevens pulled up Ever Rider, an Argentine import, on the backstretch but the horse left the track on his own power. Track veterinarians said the horse just tired badly and was not injured.
Friday marked the seventh time Santa Anita has hosted the Breeders' Cup. It is considered the semi-permanent home in the sunshine of Southern California. The Breeders' Cup returns to Arcadia next year.