There were tears in the winner’s circle Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park after 10-1 longshot Camp Victory won the Grade I $250,000 Triple Bend Handicap by 31/4 lengths over The Factor.
Camp Victory’s trainer, Mike Mitchell, underwent surgery Friday for a brain tumor.
“He called me this morning,” said one of Camp Victory’s owners, Lynne Miller. “I didn’t know if I was ever going to talk to him again. It was so good for Mike. He’s cracking jokes.”
Mitchell was watching the race from a computer in the intensive care unit of USC Medical Center. And when jockey Joe Talamo sent Camp Victory past The Factor in the stretch of the seven-furlong race, it secured the first graded stakes victory for a horse that was claimed for $40,000 by Mitchell in 2011.
“It was crazy here,” Mitchell’s wife, Denise, said via phone. “Mike came out of the surgery fine and is doing very well. He’s sitting in a chair right now and isn’t in any pain. That was just amazing. We’re watching the race and saying, ‘No way,’ when he was making that move.”
Said assistant trainer Phil D’Amato: “There was a tear or two coming down. Mike did all the work. Mike’s always loved this horse and picked him out to claim.”
In the Grade I $300,000 Shoemaker Mile, 8-1 longshot Jeranimo came charging down the stretch under jockey Garrett Gomez to win the turf race by 11/4 lengths over Suggestive Boy, with Little Mike third and Mr. Commons fourth.
Jeranimo earned an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita. And it was the fourth win of the day for Gomez.
A notable victory in the eighth race was by Take Control, the royally bred 5-year-old son by two horses of the year, A.P. Indy and the mare Azeri. He was making his first start since winning in his debut at Santa Anita in 2009. Trained by Bob Baffert, Take Control won the 1 1/16th-mile race by 11/2 lengths.