Updated on 06/30/2012 11:11AM

Mike Mitchell to undergo surgery for brain tumor


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Trainer Mike Mitchell, who operates one of the most successful stables in California, was scheduled to undergo surgery Friday at the University of Southern California Medical Center to remove a brain tumor that was diagnosed early this week. Mitchell, 64, was admitted to the medical center on Wednesday, according to his wife, Denise.

She said the tumor was "medium-sized" and that doctors expect to determine whether it is malignant or benign by early next week. "We won't know until after the surgery," she said. The doctors "made it sound like it would be up to five days."

Mitchell in recent weeks had been recovering from another medical procedure that left him uncharacteristically fatigued. "We finally realized the fatigue was not from the previous surgery," Denise Mitchell said.

When other unspecified symptoms surfaced, Mitchell underwent an MRI on Monday that revealed the tumor.

Mitchell was at his Hollywood stable on Wednesday morning before checking into the hospital to prepare for surgery. He is expected to be released next week, at which time biopsy results of the tumor are expected.

Mitchell won the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks Saturday with Potesta and through Sunday ranked fourth in the Betfair Hollywood Park standings with 10 wins from 55 starters. Mitchell has won 20 meet training titles, including at all four Thoroughbred tracks in Southern California (Hollywood, Del Mar, Santa Anita, Fairplex Park). He is the all-time leader at Del Mar with 454 wins.

Assistant trainer Phil D'Amato will operate the stable in Mitchell's absence. D'Amato, 35, has been Mitchell's assistant for seven years.

Their scheduled weekend starters include Camp Victory on Saturday in the Grade 1 Triple Bend Handicap, and Obviously on Sunday in the $70,000 Robert Kerlan Handicap.
Mike and Denise Mitchell live in nearby Redondo Beach, Calif. They have been married 31 years and have two children -- Shea, 25, and McCall, 28.

Mitchell began training in 1974, and through Sunday had won 2,607 races from 12,080 starters who earned more than $62.9 million. His list of stakes winner includes St Trinians, Star Over the Bay, Jaycito, Romance Is Diane, and Kela.

"We'd like to thank everyone for their prayers and well wishes," Denise Mitchell said.