10/25/2003 12:00AM

Action This Day gives Mandella sweep

Action This Day with David Flores up wins the 2003 Breeders' Cup Juvenile by 2 1/4 lengths on Saturday at Santa Anita Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Although he had two other horses in the field who were more accomplished, trainer Richard Mandella had been touting Action This Day all week to anyone who would listen. Those who heeded his advice received a more than generous payoff.

Last in the early stages, Action This Day weaved his way through the other 11 horses in the field and powered home a 2 1/4-length winner of the $1.5 million Juvenile at Santa Anita under jockey David Flores. Minister Eric, one of the other Mandella trainees, finished second, five lengths ahead of Chapel Royal, who held off Tiger Hunt by a nose for third.

Cuvee, the favorite at 8-5, was up close early before fading to last.

The victory gave trainer Richard Mandella a sweep of the juvenile races Saturday. He also won the Juvenile Fillies with Halfbridled, the Turf in a dead heat with Johar, and the Classic with Pleasantly Perfect.

Action This Day, owned by B. Wayne Hughes, was coming off just a maiden win here on Sept. 28, opening day of the meet. The final time was slow, but the race encouraged Mandella to convince Hughes to run Action This Day in the Juvenile.

"It was totally Richard Mandella's call, not my call," Hughes said. "I asked him before the race which of his three horses did he like the best. He said he couldn't tell which of the three he liked the best, but if he was betting he would bet on this horse because of the odds."

Sent off at 26-1, Action This Day returned $55.60 to win, the second-longest price in Juvenile history. Only Anees ($62.60) paid more.

David Flores picked up the mount on Action This Day after Alex Solis chose to ride Minister Eric when given the choice by Mandella. Flores had previously been without a Juvenile mount after Ruler's Court - the dominant winner of the Norfolk - was not entered in the Juvenile.

Flores let Action This Day settle into last place as Race for Glory, Mambo Train, Chapel Royal, and Cuvee barreled into the first turn.

Mambo Train and Race for Glory continued through a half-mile in 45.17 seconds, while Chapel Royal and Cuvee backed off slightly.

Around the turn, Chapel Royal moved into the lead as Cuvee began to retreat. Meanwhile, Flores had split horses around the turn. He found an opening three wide turning for home and accelerated past a tiring group.

Action This Day, a son of Kris S., covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.62, which was slower by .87 seconds than the Halfbridled won the Juvenile Fillies.

"I just wanted to let him get into stride and take my time," Flores said. "Going to the first turn I could see everybody just battle for position and I was just very comfortable back there. I knew there was going to be tremendous speed.

"I started working on him after the five-eighths pole. By the time we got to the turn, this horse was unbelievable. He kept going at a different speed. By the eighth pole it was all over."

Jerry Bailey, the rider of Cuvee, said his horse was just flat.

"I didn't have enough to clear the field if I wanted to get to the fence," Bailey said. "I knew there was no sense in trying because I'm going to be dead by the time I get to the far turn. So I bit the bullet and stayed four wide, but he ended up empty, anyway."