Mike Mitchell

Mike Mitchell

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Mike Mitchell to Step Down as Head Trainer

Longtime assistant Philip D'Amato will take over the reigns for 40-year-old stable.

The stable of leading Southern Californian conditioner Mike Mitchell will be restructured starting April 21, with longtime assistant Philip D'Amato taking over the reins as head trainer.

Mitchell has been a mainstay on the Southern California circuit for the past 40 years with 2,690 winners and $67,294,321 in earnings. He has earned 19 Southern California training titles, as well as the distinction of being the all-time leading trainer at Del Mar.

Mitchell, who turns 66 April 25, believes it is the time is right to step down from his head trainer role. He underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor in June 2012, and while he is winning his fight against cancer, it has given him a new perspective on life.

He said he wishes to spend more time with his family without the pressures involved with running a large racing stable.

"I feel great and am pleased to report that my doctors couldn't be happier with my health, as my tumor is stable and I have been finished with chemotherapy for over six months now," Mitchell said in a release.

Mitchell will continue to have an active role in the new setup as a close adviser and confidant to D'Amato. He will continue to have a regular presence at morning workouts and on race days.

"Phil has been extremely loyal to me over the past 10 years that he has been with me and he is more than ready and capable for the job," Mitchell said. "I will still be active in the barn in an advisory role and look forward to the stable continuing to produce winners."

Starting April 21, the daily race program will list D'Amato as trainer and Mike Mitchell as assistant trainer.