A new name turned up among
the leading trainers at Monmouth in the month of May, as Andrew Mitchell made
his presence felt immediately, compiling a 4-4-1 record with his first 15
But this new name is not an Andrew-come-lately. The
German-born Mitchell is bred for the racing game.
“When I was born,” he said, “my grandfather and my mother
were training for Germany’s
equestrian team for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. So I basically fell out of the
womb onto a horse.”
Over the years, Mitchell has done pretty much all you can
do with a horse. He’s ridden jumpers; trained others to ride jumpers; trained
Morgan horses; broken mustangs in Nevada;
been an exercise rider, hotwalker, assistant trainer and more. In fact, at age
18 he spent a summer at Monmouth galloping horses as a free-lance.
In recent years, he’s been on the racetrack, serving as
an assistant to John Shaw and Kathleen O’Connell in Florida.
Mitchell, who turns 50 on June 14, also has worked as a
carpenter, mason, diesel mechanic, and more. He was using those skills at a
farm near Calder Race Course earlier this year, remodeling barns and installing
an equine pool. Giuseppe Iadisernia, who owned the farm, which he named The Big
Stable, knew Mitchell’s background. He wanted to branch out (Iadisernia’s 200
horses also race at Thistledown and Calder) and asked Mitchell to bring a
string to Monmouth
Park for the summer.
Mitchell gives full credit for any success he may be
having to the team ethic. The team consists of Iadisernia, Mitchell and top
assistant Juan Pablo Tovar. Plus the grooms and hotwalkers, of course.
“It’s basically a three-man operation,” he said. “We
decide things together. Giuseppe has the final say, but the three of us talk
through everything. And the grooms have all been with Giuseppe for 10 years or
The stable’s quick start has been impressive, even more
so when you consider that they never race on Saturdays. Iadisernia is a member
of the Seventh Day Adventist
Church, which proscribes
secular work on Saturdays.
“I’ll never win the Kentucky Derby, that’s for sure,”
Mitchell said. “But I like having a day off. The horses, for the most part,
don’t even come out of their stalls on Saturday. That’s Giuseppe’s religious
belief, and my job is to uphold his wishes and make sure the horses are well
taken care of.”
Mitchell said he’s enjoying Monmouth even more than the
“This track is fantastic,” he said. “It’s well-run,
well-maintained and the purses are good. Monmouth is a great place to train
horses, and anybody who wants to run in the summer should be here.”
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