ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 12, 2011)—Veteran trainer Mike Mitchell, who became Del Mar’s all-time leading trainer this past summer and who is among the career leaders at all major Southern California tracks, is readying for Santa Anita’s 75th winter/spring meet opener on Dec. 26 with a stable comprised of competitive claiming and allowance stock, as well as graded stakes talent.

A two-time Santa Anita leader, Mitchell won training titles at The Great Race Place in 1993, 2008 and at the track’s autumn meets in 1983 and 1995.

“This is always one of the biggest meets in the country and we’ve been blessed to have had the success we’ve had,” said Mitchell, who is a 63-year-old native of Bakersfield and the son of a trainer. “We’re having a good year and we should be very competitive this meet.”

Mitchell noted that a new arrival, Casper’s Touch, a 3-year-old colt by Touch Gold, would be ready to run opening day.

“He’s a really nice colt. He was third in the (Grade III) Lexington at Keeneland last April and he hasn’t run since then, so he’s fresh. I got him after Del Mar and the plan is to run him in the (Grade I, Dec. 26) Malibu. Joel Rosario will ride him.”

Mitchell has another top sprinter in Pacific Ocean, a recent winner of the Grade III Vernon O. Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park, who is scheduled to run in the Grade II Palos Verdes Stakes on Jan. 21.

Although top stable distaffers St. Trinians and Tanda have both been recently retired, Mitchell is optimistic about the current depth of his stable.

“I’ve got more horses than I’ve ever had and I’ve got a real balanced stable going into this meet,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of young horses. I’ve got more (soon-to-be) 3-year-old fillies than I’ve ever had in my life. Along with all the young fillies, the purses at this meet are fantastic and that’s going to ensure that my claiming people will be active, which is what you need to win a lot of races.”

Along with his younger stock, Mitchell has veterans to compliment his overall attack.

“I’ve got about seven horses from Europe and they act like they can all run. It’s exciting. I think we’re going to have a real good meet.”

As has been his custom for more than 30 years, Mitchell’s stable will base out of Hollywood Park.

“We’ve had a lot of luck shipping over and unless we have a horse who gets stressed by the van ride over, we’ll keep most of them at Hollywood,” he said.

Mitchell currently ranks fifth all-time at Santa Anita by number of training wins and he is second on Hollywood Park’s career list.

Santa Anita’s 75th winter/spring meeting opens on Monday, Dec. 26, with first post time at 12 noon. Santa Anita’s 79-day meet will run through April 22.

For more information, visit www.santaanita.com, or call (626) 574-RACE.