01/17/2005 12:00AM

Action This Day is retired

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Trainer Richard Mandella said Action This Day may still be suffering the effects of a back injury. The colt has not won a race since the BC Juvenile.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Action This Day, the champion 2-year-old male of 2003, has been retired after failing to regain his championship form in the last year.

Trainer Richard Mandella said will be sent to Castleton-Lyons Farm in Kentucky in coming days, where he will enter stud next month.

Owned by B. Wayne Hughes, Action This Day finished his career with two wins in eight starts and earnings of $822,484. In his final start in Saturday's Grade 2 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes at Santa Anita, Action this Day finished eighth, 14 lengths behind stablemate Minister Eric.

Mandella reported that Action This Day bled from the lungs in the San Fernando.

"We're retiring him," he said. "We're making the arrangements now."

Mandella described Action This Day as one of the most frustrating horses he had trained.

"I always thought he was a horse destined for the classics," he said. "It's very frustrating."

In 2003, Action this Day won 2 of 3 starts. After finishing second in his debut, he stormed to the championship with wins in a maiden race and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.

He never regained that form. In five starts at 3 in 2004, Action This Day failed to finish in the first three. In the winter and spring, Action This Day finished fourth in the Sham Stakes, seventh in the Grade 2 San Felipe, sixth in the Grade 1 Blue Grass, and sixth in the Kentucky Derby.

Action This Day emerged from the Kentucky Derby with a pulled muscle in his hind end, which required a lengthy layoff.

When he returned and finished ninth in a one-mile turf race at Santa Anita on Dec. 26, Mandella was left scratching his head. At the time, Mandella said he wanted to give Action This Day one more race in an effort to rebound. That occurred in the San Fernando and led the colt's connections to abandon his career.

"His back injury must still bother him," Mandella said Sunday. "When it goes to the real running it doesn't work. It must be hurting some."

Mandella's big four of 2003 all gone

The retirement of Action This Day ends Mandella's training involvement with the horses that provided him with four wins on Breeders' Cup Day in October 2003. All have been sent to Kentucky to be bred.

Last year, Johar, Halfbridled, and Pleasantly Perfect were retired. Johar, who dead-heated with High Chaparral in the Breeders' Cup Turf, was sent to stud; Halfbridled, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2003 and the winner of the BC Juvenile Fillies, did not start again after April; and Pleasantly Perfect, the winner of the 2003 BC Classic, made his final start in the same race last October, finishing third.

Of the four, Pleasantly Perfect had the best career following the 2003 Breeders' Cup, with a campaign highlighted by wins in the $6 million Dubai World Cup and the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

One of Mandella's also-rans from the 2003 Breeders' Cup, Minister Eric, has assumed a major role in the 4-year-old male division this year with his win over the weekend in the San Fernando. Owned by Gerald Ford, who owned Pleasantly Perfect, Minister Eric won his first stakes in the San Fernando.

Previously, Minister Eric had finished second in the 2003 Del Mar Futurity and BC Juvenile and 16th in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.

Mandella said that Minister Eric will be nominated for the $300,000 Strub Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 5.

Spanish Chestnut staying put

Spanish Chestnut, the winner of the Grade 2 San Rafael Stakes last Saturday, will stay at Santa Anita for the Kentucky Derby preps in coming months, trainer Patrick Biancone said Monday.

Biancone said that Spanish Chestnut will be pointed for the $200,000 Santa Catalina Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on March 5, a key prep to the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby over 1 1/8 miles on April 9.

"It gives us six weeks," Biancone said of the gap to the Santa Catalina. "He's had plenty of experience. I think one race before the Santa Anita Derby will be perfect."

Owned by Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, Spanish Chestnut won his first stakes in the San Rafael, leading throughout to score by three-quarters of a length over 9-1 Iced Out. Spanish Chestnut finished a mile in 1:36.69.

Spanish Chestnut has won 3 of 5 starts and $174,420.

Frankel nails No. 800

Bobby Frankel became the second trainer to win 800 races at Santa Anita when La Danielle won Sunday's sixth race. The milestone put Frankel 69 wins behind the track's all-time leader, Charlie Whittingham.

The figures do not include wins at the Oak Tree meeting run each fall. At that meeting, Frankel has won 251 races, Whittingham 202.

Frankel knew he was approaching the 800-win mark.

"I read about it before the meeting started, and then I didn't pay any attention to it," he said.

"It means something," Frankel said, "but it would be nice to catch Whittingham."

Frankel has major stakes in mind for several of his top runners. Cajun Beat, who won the Grade 3 Hollywood Turf Express in November, is being pointed for the $300,000 Frank Kilroe Mile on turf on March 5. The same race likely will attract Leroidesanimaux, the winner of the Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park in late November.

Lundy's Liability, who won the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap in his U.S. debut in October, is being pointed for the $250,000 San Antonio Handicap over 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 6.

Lundy's Liability has been entered twice at this meeting - in the San Pasqual and San Gabriel handicaps - but did not start in either because of wet tracks.