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Bridge Street To Return To Stomping Grounds

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Published: October 21, 2010 10:32 am ET

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Many horses have raced at Western Fair over the past 50 years, but few have graced the half-mile track as many times as iron horse Bridge Street, a winner of $676,000 during his long career. He will return to the London, Ont. oval as an equine ambassador on Saturday night.

Bridge Street will be on hand at the main entrance at Western Fair to have his photo taken with fans from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Bridge Street’s appearance is one of the many features of the track's Grassroots Championship Night, which will feature eight $100,000 finals of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots program.

Bridge Street, a son of Armbro Emerson, was purchased as a yearling by local trainer Scott McNiven, who co-owned along with Tom Broadhurst and the late George Griffin, whose wife, Shirley, is now listed as co-owner. He raced for the next 11 years under the care and guidance of McNiven and his wife Kim the entire time -- something you don’t see very often these days.

“He was never raced in a claimer,” Kim said recently. “He was a great horse who gave it all he had every time he raced, ones like him don’t come along very often. Quite often he raced right off the farm.”

“We were lucky that we had great partners on him, and they were proud of him and wanted to see him race,” Scott noted. “If you look through his lines I think the biggest purse he won was $16,500, which is quite a statement given that he earned almost $700,000.”

Bridge Street could best be described as a grinder, as he earned most of his purses in overnight races at Ontario’s 'B' tracks. In total, he started 361 times with well over 200 of those at Western Fair.

“I think you would be hard-pressed to find a horse that earned as much money as he did at Western Fair,” Scott said. “I haven’t added it up, but he had to have earned $400,000 or more there.”

Bridge Street visited the winner’s circle on 58 occasions, with his fastest time, 1:51.1, having come while he was a six-year-old. As a testament to his consistency, Bridge Street only qualified six times during his entire career, and three of those were at the start of his freshman season. He was retired earlier this year after a back leg injury.

“It was just wear and tear after all those years,” Kim explained. “We had it X-Rayed recently, and he could probably return, but he deserves to be retired now. He’ll be here for life, and he’s spoiled, as he deserves to be. One of these days we’re going to get a saddle on him and try him as a riding horse.”

“He’s a good natured horse, I think he’d be fine to ride,” Scott added.

Fittingly, Bridge Street was honoured last year at Grand River Raceway as their Iron Horse of the Year. Those that would like to see him in person are encouraged to get to Western Fair early on Saturday night to have a photo taken with one of the most consistent and durable harness horses to ever grace the track.

(Western Fair)


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