Trainer Mike Mitchell, back at work after a health scare last week, was elated with workouts by stable stars Obviously and Camp Victory June 22 and stamped them ready for their respective grade I starts in the Shoemaker Mile and Triple Bend Handicap.
Mitchell collapsed at Betfair Hollywood Park after winning the sixth race June 16 with Gutshot Straight and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. He was released late that night after observation.
"I'm feeling much better," said Mitchell. "It was a combination of things. I was in the sun too long, it was awfully hot and I had a seizure. Plus, I had a lot of caffeine in me, I was dehydrated, and still a little weak from a chemo treatment."
The $300,000 Shoemaker, which is on turf, and the $250,000 Triple Bend—at seven furlongs over Cushion Track—headline the Jan. 29 program at Hollywood. Both are Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" races.
The winner of the Shoemaker Mile receives fees-paid entry into the Breeders' Cup Turf Mile (gr. IT) while the Triple Bend winner gets the same reward for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I).
Obviously, who won the American Handicap (gr. IIT) May 25, worked five furlongs in :59 1/5 on the main track at Santa Anita, the second fastest of 39 works at the distance that morning. The 5-year-old Irish-bred son of Choisir has won five of 11 in the United States for owners Anthony Fanticola and Joseph Scardino, and is 4-for-5 at the Shoemaker distance on turf.
"He's doing great," said Mitchell. "He galloped out super."
Camp Victory, the defending Triple Bend champion, drilled six furlongs at Santa Anita in 1:13 1/5. A year ago, Mitchell, along with his family, watched the Forest Camp gelding's victory via computer from the intensive care unit of USC Medical Center one day after the trainer underwent surgery for a brain tumor.
The 6-year-old owned by Roger Featherstone, Gordon Jacobsen, Tom Miller, and Lux Frost, is coming off a third-place finish in the Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III) May 27 at Hollywood Park.
Mitchell is back training at his stable. The 65-year-old is the second winningest trainer in Hollywood Park history. He enters Sunday needing just one win to reach 900 at the Inglewood track. Bobby Frankel is the all-time leader with 952 victories.
"I'm coming out to see Obviously and Camp Victory,'' Mitchell said. "This time I'm going to bring my hat and find some shade."
Joe Talamo is to ride both Obviously and Camp Victory.
Obviously heads a field of six or seven likely for the Shoemaker.
Other expected starters are Jeranimo (Mike Pender, Rafael Bejarano), who won the Shoemaker last year; Lucayan (Neil Drysdale, Julien Leparoux) second to Obviously in the American; Za Approval (Christophe Clemente, Garrett Gomez), coming off consecutive grade III victories at Gulfstream Park and Monmouth Park), and Wilkinson (Jeff Mullins, Martin Pedroza), the 44-1 winner of the 2012 American Handicap.
Camp Victory is likely to face six or seven opponents in the Triple Bend.
Jimmy Creed , the winner of the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) Dec. 26 at Santa Anita, is among the favorites. Garrett Gomez has the riding assignment for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella on Jimmy Creed, who took the Potrero Grande (gr. II) April 6 in his last start.
Comma to the Top, winner of 14 of 31 starts for Peter Miller and victorious in the Los Angeles Handicap last time out, will be partnered by regular rider Edwin Maldonado. The $1.2 million dollar earner is 5-for-9 at Hollywood Park, including a victory in the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) in 2010.
Rail Trip, the winner of the 2009 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), and Centralinteligence, second in the Los Angeles, will represent the barn of trainer Ron Ellis. Jose Valdivia, Jr. is scheduled to ride Rail Trip while Victor Espinoza has the call on Centralinteligence.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has four nominated to the Triple Bend, but probably will run only one or two. The most likely starter for Baffert is Drill, winner of the Del Mar Futurity (gr. I) in 2011 and the Lazaro Barrera Stakes (gr. III) in 2012 at Hollywood.