10/25/2003 12:00AM

Action This Day sneaks past the field


ARCADIA, Calif. - Although he had two other horses in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile 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.

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.