01/07/2005 12:00AM

Mitchell quickly adapts

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - If Friday's fourth race at Gulfstream Park is any indication, trainer Mike Mitchell is going to enjoy his first season in south Florida.

Mitchell, among the leading trainers on the Southern California circuit, was given 17 stalls at Palm Meadows for the 2005 season. He ran his first horse, Primitive Man, on Friday and was rewarded with the easiest of victories as the 3-year-old breezed home nine lengths the best in the maiden race for $62,500 claimers.

"It's a good way to get started," said Mitchell. "It's always great to break the ice right away. They should all be that easy here this winter."

Mitchell only brought eight runners east and plans to fill the remainder of his stalls with horses he will either claim or buy during the course of the meet. He wasted little time filling one of those stalls by claiming Trident House for $50,000 on opening day.

Among the horses Mitchell brought to Florida is Kela, a Grade 1-winning sprinter and the second-place finisher in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last October.

"I gave him a little break after his last start in California, and as a result he wasn't ready to run this weekend in the Mr. Prospector," said Mitchell, who indicated Kela will make his first start here in the Deputy Minister Handicap on Feb. 5.

Mitchell said if all goes well he might stay in Florida and keep horses at Calder this summer.

"I like the direction Florida racing is going, especially if they get slot machines," said Mitchell. "I see all the money Frank Stronach is putting into Gulfstream. The facilities here should really turn out nice when it's completed."

Mr. Light's world record verified

After several days of tests and surveys it is official. Mr. Light is the new world record holder for running one mile on the turf.

Mr. Light was credited with a final time of 1:31.41 when he won a third-level allowance race Monday over Gulfstream's new turf course. The time broke the record of 1:31.63, set by Elusive Quality at Belmont Park in 1998.

Skeptics doubted the validity of the clocking and as a result track officials set in motion a bevy of tests to verify the time. Teleview Racing Patrol Inc., which times the races at Gulfstream, re-clocked the race using several different methods. In addition, the engineering firm of Calvin Giordano was called in to survey the course to make sure the race was actually run at an exact mile. The results of all the inquiries validated the final clocking.

"They surveyed the track every which way possible and each survey came up with the same result: that the race was run at an exact mile from where the temporary rail was set out on the course," said Scott Savin, Gulfstream's president. "So now there can be no doubt the final clocking was correct and the horse did indeed set a new world record."

Chuck Scaravilli, vice president of data collection for Equibase, racing's official database, said his company will recognize the time as the new record.

"The track really went to a lot of trouble to verify the result," said Scaravilli. "They re-timed the race frame by frame and got a very reputable engineering firm to re-survey the course."

Bear Fan preps for Distaff Sprint

Bear Fan, one of the top female sprinters in the country in 2004, is gearing up for her return from a seven-month layoff in the Sunshine Millions Distaff Sprint here Jan. 29.

Bear Fan won three Grade 2 stakes during the first six months of 2004 but has not started since finishing second in Calder's Grade 2 Princess Rooney Handicap on July 10. Bear Fan has been in training at Palm Meadows, where she worked a half-mile in 47 seconds with Angel Cordero Jr. aboard on Thursday.

"Angel said she feels like a million bucks," said trainer Wesley Ward. "I decided to give her a break after the race at Calder. I sent her back to the farm in California, where she was born, the very next day and just let her run around in a 15-acre field for four months. I can get her fit enough off the track at Palm Meadows. She runs well fresh and I thought the Sunshine Millions is a good place to get her started again for what I think will be another big year."

Bear Fan finished third following an extremely rough trip in last year's Sunshine Million's Distaff Sprint at Santa Anita.

"She should have won the race by 10 lengths, her trip was so bad," said Ward. "I know trainers tell you that all the time but watch the replay and you'll see what I mean."

Horsemen's meeting at Calder

A meeting, open to all south Florida horsemen, will be held 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the finish line at Calder Race Course.

"A lot of the horsemen at Calder are just not happy with the representation we've been getting from the current leadership of the HBPA and we think changes must be made, especially with some important negotiations coming up involving purses and slot machines," said trainer Bill Cesare, who is helping to organize the meeting.