How Does He Do It?

by Ed Meyer

posted on September 19, 2008 in General Discussion, News | No Comments >>

When it comes to claiming horses in California and turning them around, Mike Mitchell’s name is at the top of the list.

He has held a license since 1974, and has done magic with bringing new runners to his barn. In addition to doing magic with his stock, he has also had numerous medication and medication procedural infractions. The latest being a Class 3 drug Procaine in one of his runners Scat Thief at Del Mar. Procaine is commonly found in the antibiotic Pencillin G.

He is usually among the top 50 in the nation among earnings, and has won $3.8 million in 2008 so far. Not a bad days work, and his numbers reflect at a 24% winning clip.

This summer he received 10 notifications for positive anabolic steroid tests. Overall, he has been known to use chemical methods to enhance his runners abilities. A complete Comprehensive Ruling Report dating back to 1975 has a total of 46 rulings listed. His rap sheet is starting to look like War and Peace.

This has been the year of introspection. When racing has turned the light of truth upon itself and examined what it can do to clean up its act. When Barbaro broke down, the flag went up. This year’s Kentucky Derby set off the alarm with the death of Eight Belles. Something has to be done.

If you have been following, more and more states are adopting the ban of any anabolic steroid use. You will most probably see commissions and states adopting a “no medication allowed” policy with race horses. In Europe, they live with this ruling, and in all professional sports we are taking steps to ensure a cleaner game. Why should racing be exempt?

This will be a long process, so stay tuned. When you see trainers making the news that have a rap sheet as long as your leg, there will more fuel for the fire to rid the game of illegal activities. How does he do it? Simple. Modern chemistry and seeking an edge in a very competitive game. Mike Mitchell is not alone in the game. There are countless others who will surface as the investigations continue.