07/15/2012 6:14PM

Hollywood Park: Mitchell makes triumphant return to track

Benoit & Associates
Trainer Mike Mitchell (center) poses in the winner’s circle Sunday with his future son-in-law, jockey Julien Leparoux (left), and his son-in-law Craig Rounsefell.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Sunday’s closing day at Hollywood Park was a family day for trainer Mike Mitchell.

Mitchell, 64, made his first appearance at the races since he underwent surgery for a brain tumor June 29. He won the day’s feature race, the Grade 3 Sunset Handicap with the heavily favored Dhaamer, who was ridden by his future son-in-law, Julien Leparoux.

Mitchell was joined at the race by his wife and two adult daughters. They also were at his hospital bedside on June 30, when the family rooted home the Mitchell-trained Camp Victory in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap for sprinters.

In coming weeks, Mitchell will remain in the Los Angeles area. He says he faces further medical treatment for the effects from the tumor, including radiation and chemotherapy.

“I’ve got a few follow-up treatments they want me to do,” he said. “I’ve got radiation five days a week. I can do the chemotherapy at home.”

Mitchell will leave the bulk of the training to assistant Phil D’Amato and his son-in-law, Craig Rounsefell. Since his operation, the three have been in contact several times each day.

“I’m in great shape with Phil and my son-in-law,” he said.

Mitchell is the all-time leading trainer at Del Mar, but will have a limited presence at the meeting this year. He is aiming to attend the races more frequently from mid-August forward.

“I’m hoping for the second half, but I’ve got to listen to my doctors and listen to my body,” he said. “They want me in the area for a while.”

Even though he will not be there this week, Mitchell will be active. He has runners Wednesday and Thursday.