12/27/2010 8:06PM

Lose race, fire trainer


Arresting Officer, impressive debut winner at Hollywood Park, could not have run any better when he made his second career start Sunday in race 5 at Santa Anita.

Odds-on to win the $100,000 California Breeders’ Champion Stakes, the 2-year-old was caught four-wide through the turn while battling a wicked pace in the seven-furlong stake.

After a half-mile in 44.39 seconds, he shook free, opened up, and got collared. Arresting Officer, trained by Mike Mitchell, finished second. He ran a better, faster race than winner Thirtyfirststreet.

By the following day, Arresting Officer’s owner Suleman Dhani, wanted to make a change.

According to Mitchell, Dhani phoned him, stated he was embarrassed at Mitchell’s recent 15-day suspension, and said he desired a more comprehensive post-race dialogue than Mitchell could provide.

And so Mitchell, who last fall lost Grade 1 winner Jaycito in a trainer switch, lost another top 2-year-old.

Arresting Officer is now trained by Richard Mandella.

“It’s a tough game,” Mitchell said.

Del More than 1 year ago
As one who just handicaps and bets horses, I have to appreciate the owners and respect the comments they're submitting here in this blog. I can't imagine the risk and the amount of faith they must put in so many people just to keep their horse in the black. I've thought about claiming a horse. I need more guts. It seems like it would be harder than buying one's first house. I think the owner needs to apologize to nobody and should do what he thinks he must. And thanks to all you owners who play the game and lets us, the public, share it with you.
Jim Davis More than 1 year ago
I love these clowns who say the jockey just rides em. How do they explain riders winning 4 and 5 races in a day? Agent a genius handicapper?
Lisa J More than 1 year ago
As much as I admire the author in most of his writings, this is not news. Consumers shop wherever they want. They shop for pricing, convenience, reputation and name brands. Why should it be different for a racehorse owner? Every owner has the right to have "a more comprehensive post-race dialogue than Mitchell could provide." Some owners need hand-holding and more conversation than others. Some want to be more involved - others, not so much. The first reason stated from Mr. Dhani was that of the 15-day suspension in which he was embarrassed about regarding his trainer's positive test. He has that right, too. However, it's fairly impossible to find a trainer, any trainer with any success, without a medication violation in this game. ... Could it be it was just easier and less costly for Mr Mitchell to take his 15 days (originally 60 but stayed 45) and his humongous fine and taken some time off? Maybe this owner is high maintenance. It is not unusual. Perhaps he's just one of the good guys that wants anything he touches to be on the up and up. We need that too. Horses and owners change barns like underwear sometimes. It's just the way it is. Mitchell will keep surviving like he's always done. He'll keep winning races like he always does. He'll have plenty of owners that support him and are loyal to him. And horses will still change barns more often than we know.
hialeah More than 1 year ago
Arresting Officer may or may not qualify as a "tough beat" - 4 wide on the turn in a speed duel is no way to win a race - but firing the trainer seems harsh. Something else going on there. But the exacta of Twirling Candy (hot trainer/jock combo - ascending Beyers) and Smiling Tiger (only horse w/3 triple-digit Beyers - weight only concern) just shows that the Beyer Speed Figures can show the way on the DIRT. Now who exactly was that Spectacular Bid?
tex More than 1 year ago
For all those slamming owners ... what a bunch of morons ... including Brad. Owners have every right to do with THEIR horses what they want. They pay the bills, they take the risks, they deserve to be treated with respect by their trainers ... who actually take NO financial risk. Let me lay it out for you, I've never used Mitchell as a trainer, but my guess is he is in the $100 - $120 a day range. Why don't you figure out how much he makes per day on that horse, and don't be full of crap on your calculations (I've trained my own horses). Mitchell makes money regardless of how the horse performs, the owner will lose money on the majority of their horses. If a trainer doesn't like that owners will move horses, then get out of the game. If a trainer doesn't want to treat owners with respect, then get out of the game. If someone who gallops horses wants to treat owners with contempt ... then get out of the game. It is owners and gamblers that are reponsible for this game. Without these two, there is no need for trainers, jockeys or racing writers. It is truly sad to me that so few people who make their living in this sport understand that. If the great and mighty Mitchell is such a damn good trainer and wants to avoid owners switching barns, then he should only train for himself ... that would fix everything for him. Kudos to Dhani.
Torry More than 1 year ago
I would have liked to have seen Mr. Free interview Mr. Dhani for his comments rather than just hear a one-sided conversation. Obviously Mr. Free is trying to stir our thoughts, to a wide range, but ultimalely it's Mr. Dhani's horse and he has every right to do with it as he chooses. On the other issues, I would think everyone believes we need tougher penalties with offending trainers, but we never get any action - so we get what we deserve. I've always believed penalizing the horse as well as the trainers would help put an end to offending trainers. Owners would be very hesitant to send their horses to a trainer knowing their horse would be suspended for a long period of time if caught trying to make a score.
FDR More than 1 year ago
Owners pay all the bills, have all the risk and ironically get little to no accolades when a horse does well. Throughout history most great horses even the most casual horse racing fan can name the trainer and/or jockey. After a race the trainer and jockey are interviewed and acknowledged for their "accomplishment" on " winning the race" and most owners are left to the side as an afterthought. Never forget this ... owners are horse racing, they pay all the bills through good times and bad ... and let's not forget all the vet bills, and we all know owning race horses is a losing financial position most of the time. So, good or bad it is the owner's decision on what they feel is best for their investment. It is fine to question any decision, but, often the horse racing press "spins" these types of decisions making the horseman look like an " innocent victim" of the "rich bad guy" owner's decision. Bottom line, you put up all the money on a risky horse racing investment and the good news is you get to make all the decisions. Arresing Officer is a nice horse, I wish the owner well.
Peggy More than 1 year ago
Exactly what he should've done if he was unhappy with the trainer he had ... for any reason. He's the one paying the bills and if he's not getting what he wants for the price he's paying, then it's time to change. So what's "odd" about that? People do it all the time, in all sorts of businesses. It's the way the world works .(And maybe the trainer will learn something from it and change some things? Or, not.)
steve More than 1 year ago
Right on ... Mitchell continually talks about 'his' horse which annoys me ... the owner's concerns are valid...
Frank More than 1 year ago
An owner is a horse's worst enemy!
kathy estrada More than 1 year ago
Owners should shut up and just keep the checks coming in.They think just because all they do is show up, that it's an easy game. Take off your blubber suit and ride them yourself.