02/08/2004 12:00AM

Late money on target with Master David in Sham

Master David wins Sunday's $81,400 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Sunday after his odds dropped from 2-1 to 11-10 in the last flash.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Master David, the subject of a massive late bet, earned a trip to the Florida Derby with a win in Sunday's $81,400 at Santa Anita.

Action This Day, the champion 2-year-old male of 2003, finished fourth, 1 1/4 lengths behind Master David. The Sham Stakes was Action This Day's first start since his upset win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Master David ($4.20) was 2-1 when the gate opened, but his odds plunged to 11-10 in the final flash, which was shown to the public when the field was in the first turn.

Master David finished 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.20, scoring by a length over Borrego, who finished a head in front of Preachinatthebar. Action This Day finished a head behind Preachinathebar and was followed by Winner from Mars and Gethsemani. True Contender did not finish after refusing to break.

Master David was second for the first half of the race, stalking the pace of 23.46 and 47.01 seconds set by 16-1 Gethsemani. On the backstretch, Action This Day was last, trailing by as many as eight lengths.

On the final turn, Master David took the lead from Gethsemani, but was quickly challenged by Borrego. In early stretch, Borrego took a brief lead, but Master David rallied on the inside under jockey Alex Solis to prevail.

"The other horse opened up a half-length," Solis said. "My horse kept trying."

Master David is trained by Bobby Frankel for a partnership. Imported from England last fall, Master David was second in the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct and third in the Santa Catalina Stakes here last month in his first two starts in this country.

Action This Day rallied five-wide on the final turn to briefly threaten. He was 3 1/2 lengths off the lead at the eighth pole.

"I thought he might come around and win," said trainer Richard Mandella. "He hung a bit in the last sixteenth. He needed it."

Mandella said Action This Day may not start again until the Santa Anita Derby on April 3.

Frankel said Master David would be pointed for the $1 million Florida Derby on March 13.