TRAINER MIKE MITCHELL SUCCUMBS TO BRAIN CANCER AT AGE 66, AFFABLE CONDITIONER RANKS AMONG ALL-TIME WINNINGEST TRAINERS IN CALIFORNIA – Santa Anita Park

TRAINER MIKE MITCHELL SUCCUMBS TO BRAIN CANCER AT AGE 66, AFFABLE CONDITIONER RANKS AMONG ALL-TIME WINNINGEST TRAINERS IN CALIFORNIA – Santa Anita Park

TRAINER MIKE MITCHELL SUCCUMBS TO BRAIN CANCER AT AGE 66, AFFABLE CONDITIONER RANKS AMONG ALL-TIME WINNINGEST TRAINERS IN CALIFORNIA – Santa Anita Park

ASIX-TIMELEADERATSANTAANITAOAKTREE,MITCHELLWON?

21SOUTHERNCALIFORNIATRAININGTITLESSADDLEDATOTALOF20OVERALLSTAKESWINNERSATTHEGREATRACEPLACE

ARCADIA,Calif。

(Apr。

15,2015)TrainerMikeMitchell,aniconicanddominantfigureontheSouthernCaliforniaracinglandscapefornearly40years,passedawayTuesday,athishomeinMonroviafollowingalengthybattlewithbraincanceratage66。

BornApril25,1948inBakersfieldandthesonofatrainer,EarlMitchell,MikeMitchellworkedforlegendarytrainersFarrellJonesandWillardProctorpriortotakingouthisfirsttrainerslicensein1974。

Marriedin1982totheformerDeniseWeaver,Mitchellissurvivedbyhiswifeandtheirtwodaughters,McCall(Rounsefell)andShea(Leparoux)。

Knownprimarilyasawizardattheclaimbox,Mitchellhadafinelytunedabilitytoanalyzethewayraceswouldberunandtheabilitytocommunicatepertinentpre-raceinformationtothoseinhisemploy。

ThethingaboutMikethatIlovedabouthim,washehadsomuchfaithinhimself,somuchconfidence,saidretiredHallofFamejockeyLaffitPincay,Jr。

Hewasoneofmybiggestsupportersandwehadalotofsuccesstogether。

Heknewhishorsesandeverytimehetoldmeahorsewasdoingwell,theyranthatway。

WhenIrodeforMike,henevergavemeinstructionsandwhenIrodeforhim,Ihadalotofconfidence。

Hewasagreattrainerwithclaiminghorsesandwithstakeshorses。

HewasoneofthebestIeverrodefor。

SantaAnitasleadingWinterMeettrainerin1992-93,andagainin2007-08,hehandedhisstableovertohislongtimeassistant,PhilDAmatoonApril21,2014andretiredduetohisillnessasSantaAnitasfifthall-timeleadingtrainerwith659wins,behindonlyBobbyFrankel,CharlieWhittingham,BobBaffertandRonMcAnally。

MitchellsfirstSantaAnitastakeswinnerwasJohnnysImage,whowonthe1978SantaCatalinaStakes(nowrunastheRobertB。

Lewis),andhesaddledatotalof20overallstakeswinnersatTheGreatRacePlace,hisfinaladdedmoneySantaAnitawincomingwithEggDropintheGradeIIGoldikovaStakesin2013。

Mikewasaveryaggressiveguywhenitcametowherehewasplacinghishorses,saidveteranjockeyagent,ScottyMcClellan,whorepresentedseveraltopridersduringMitchellscareer,includingDarrellMcHargue,ChrisMcCarron,AlexSolis,CoreyNakataniandJoeTalamo。

Healwaysrantheminlivespots。

TherewerealotoftimesahorsewouldrungoodandIdbelookingforaracefor$40,000(claiming),andheslookingforaracefor25or32(thousand)。

Hedidphenomenalwithhisclaimsovertheyearsandifhesaidhehadarunner,believeme,itwasarunner。

McClellanalsotoucheduponthekindofpersonMitchellwas。

Ascompetitiveashewas,Mikelovedtolaugh,hesaid。

Hejustlovedtolaughandhearnewjokesandplaypracticaljokes。

HewasagreattrainerandagreatpersonaswellOneofthebestIveeverbeenaround。

Mitchell,whowonhisfirstraceatBayMeadowsin1974,won21overalltrainingtitlesinSouthernCalifornia。

InadditiontohistwoSantaAnitaWinterMeettitles,hewonfourtrainingtitlesatSantaAnitasOakTreeMeeting;in1983,1995,1996and2004。

HealsotooksevenoverallHollywoodParktitlesthatincludedthe1982,1985,1993and1997Spring/SummerMeets,andHollywoodParkFallMeetsin1983,1996and2011。

DelMarsall-timeleadingtrainerwith476seasidewins,MitchellwonsevenDelMartitles;1981,1982,1983,1984,1995,1996and2011。

HewasalsoleadingtraineratFairplexParkin2008。

IhaventseentoomanyguysthatwereeverbetterwithaconditionbookthanMike,saidTVGsKurtHoover。

Heknewwheretoplacehishorsesandwhentorunem。

Inadditiontothat,IveknownseveralpeoplethathadgreatsuccesswithMikeastheirtrainer,buttheyallsaythatalongwithracingsuccess,thefuntheyhadwithbothMikeandDenisewasjustasimportant。

Ontopofallofhisprofessionalachievementsisthefactthathehadagreatfamily。

Youcouldseethattheyallgenuinelyenjoyedbeingtogether。

Hewasjustanall-aroundgoodman。

Althoughknown(andfeared)asoneofthetopclaimingtrainersofall-time,Mitchellalsodevelopedanumberofstakeswinners,includingthetopsprinterKela,whoprovidedhimwithhisfirstGradeIwin,inthe2004BingCrosbyHandicapatDelMar。

HisgreateststakessuccesscamelateinhiscareerwithIrish-bredObviously,whowonfivegradedstakes,includingtheGradeIShoemakerMile,betweenAugust,2012andAugust,2013。

ObviouslyalsofinishedthirdforMitchell,behindeventualHorseoftheYearWiseDan,inthe2012BreedersCupMileatSantaAnita。

Inadditiontohiswifeandtwodaughters,Mitchellissurvivedbyatwinsister,Cheryl,andbrothersEarl,Jr。

GuyandCasey。



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