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Mitchell keeps rolling after all these years

September 11, 2006     E-mail this page to a friend!

By Michael Costanzo
Auburn, WA (Sept. 9) - Emerald Downs' all-time leading rider Gallyn Mitchell returned to the saddle on Friday night, less than 24 hours after he was thrown to the track in a dramatic fall during the fourth race on Thursday.

The incident left Mitchell with a broken nose in three places, a black eye and some soreness, but after 25 years of professional racing, the 44-year-old jockey barely missed a step. He rode the first race Friday, but took the rest of the card off. He returned on Saturday to ride four races.

"I was a little dizzy (Friday) after the first race," Mitchell said. "But I feel good."

The fall happened inside the final furlong of the race when Mitchell's mount, Tough to the Max, suffered a compound fracture to his right front leg.

"I tried to tuck and roll," Mitchell said, "but it happened so fast."

In all his years of riding, Mitchell has rarely missed a race. His only previous injuries have been a broken wrist and collarbone. The jockey attributes his riding health to his athleticism and horse sense.

Mitchell's impressive career is reflected in the numbers he has produced at Emerald Downs where he is the all-time leading rider in victories with 913, earnings at $8,780,885 and stakes wins with 50.

Born in Denver, Colorado in 1962, Mitchell currently lives in Enumclaw with his wife Denise and children Cody, Samantha and Jacyln. Along with riding Thoroughbreds, Mitchell has worked as a motion picture stunt rider in "Seabiscuit," the 2001 remake of "Planet of the Apes," and, when he was 5-years-old, "Little Big Man.".

The jockey won his first race in 1981 aboard My Duchess at Santa Anita and started to ply his craft when he was 15 years old. He won the $250,000 Grade III Longacres Mile in 2000 aboard 40-1 long shot Edneator.

Mitchell also spends time every season raising money for medications and treatments to help children with terminal illnesses.