06/25/2013 1:29PM

Hollywood Park: Mitchell feels well enough to come watch Camp Victory, Obviously run

Benoit & Associates
Obviously, winning the American Handicap, is expected to go off favored for trainer Mike Mitchell in Saturday's Shoemaker Mile.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Mike Mitchell missed his stable’s biggest day of 2012.

When Camp Victory won the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 30, 2012, Mitchell was in a Southern California hospital, recovering from an operation for a brain tumor. He rooted home the winner in the company of his wife and two adult daughters, watching on a computer.

A year later, Camp Victory is back to defend his title in Saturday’s $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap, on the same afternoon that Mitchell will start Obviously in the $300,000 Shoemaker Mile, a Grade 1 turf race.

Despite a recent health scare, Mitchell will be at Hollywood Park on Saturday.

“That will be a day I’ll show up,” he said last weekend.

Mitchell was hospitalized briefly June 16 after collapsing in an apparent seizure near the winner’s circle at Hollywood Park following a win by one of his claimers. He was released several hours later and rested for most of the week of June 17. He returned to the races last Sunday for the first time.

The incident led to concern about Mitchell’s health. While he is still undergoing treatment for the brain tumor, Mitchell, 65, said he should have done a better job of looking out for himself on a warm afternoon on June 16.

“I went on the track and it was really warming up,” he said. “Someone gave me an energy drink that had way too much caffeine in it. I needed some fluid. I needed water. I know these things.

“I should have known better. Put a hat on. Sit in the shade.”

Mitchell said he rested for the first couple of days after the incident. He returned to his Santa Anita stable on June 19 and has tried to resume normal activity since then.

Getting Camp Victory and Obviously ready for their races on Saturday has given Mitchell a focus.

Camp Victory was a 10-1 outsider when he won the 2012 Triple Bend. He will be a shorter price Saturday, but will not be favored. On May 27, Camp Victory was third in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap behind Comma to the Top, the leading contender in the seven-furlong Triple Bend.

“He loves this track and he loves seven-eighths,” Mitchell said. “He’s fresh and sharp.”

Obviously will be favored in a small field. Third in a stellar running of the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita last November, finishing behind Horse of the Year Wise Dan and eventual Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom, Obviously won the Grade 2 American Handicap here on May 25, his most recent start.

“He’s doing super, just super,” Mitchell said. “He’s sharp right now. That thing of bouncing, it won’t happen. He came out of his last race so good.”

Joe Talamo will ride Camp Victory and Obviously. Talamo leads all riders at the current meeting with eight stakes wins. There will be no lengthy discussion between Mitchell and Talamo about race tactics for Obviously, who is dangerous from the front.

“Joe figured it out in the beginning,” Mitchell said. “We’re on the same page. I think the horse has the natural speed and he likes to use it.”

In the second half of 2012, Mitchell slowly increased his activity at his stable as he continued recovery from the brain surgery. Obviously provided the highlight of the second half of the year, winning the Del Mar Mile in August and Arroyo Seco Mile at Santa Anita in October in advance of the BC Mile.

Mitchell missed a good portion of the Del Mar meeting last year while undergoing treatment, but plans to be in attendance this year when that race meeting opens July 17.

Mitchell will have a 40-horse stable at Del Mar, where he is the all-time leading trainer with 463 wins. Through Wednesday, Mitchell had 27 wins this year, on pace to equal or surpass his 53 wins from 2012.

“It’s been a rebuilding stage for me,” he said of the last year. “My owners have been great. They’ve stayed loyal to me. All that is very good.”