02/11/2005 12:00AM

Mitchell leaving Woodbine spot for other post

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Hugh Mitchell has resigned his position as senior vice president of racing at Woodbine effective April 2, Woodbine Entertainment Group announced Friday.

Mitchell, 50, will be returning to Western Fair Raceway, a Standardbred track in London, Ontario, at which he had been chief operating officer before moving to Woodbine seven years ago.

"It's a lifestyle decision," said Mitchell, who has maintained a farm and home with his wife near Delaware, Ontario, while making the 100-plus mile commute to Woodbine on a weekly basis.

"It's been great at Woodbine. I really enjoyed it, it's a great organization. But they're restructuring at Western Fair and I had an opportunity to go back, as COO. I grew up in the area, just outside London. I wanted to spend more time there, and be with my wife."

David Willmot, president and chief operating officer at Woodbine, said he was sorry to see Mitchell leave on both personal and professional levels.

"I'm very fond of Hugh," said Willmot, "and "I'm very sorry to lose him. He's done a great job here."

Jim Ormiston, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Woodbine, will assume Mitchell's responsibilities on an interim basis.