10/14/2003 11:00PM

Mandella may have one on pace, one stalking, and one flying late


In the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, trainer Richard Mandella plays the role of the hunted with the unbeaten filly Halfbridled. In the $1.5 million Juvenile, Mandella plays the hunter and will be taking as many as three shots against probable favorite Cuvee.

While Siphonizer and Minister Eric ran one-two in the Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity, and Mandella likes them, you can hear the excitement in Mandella's voice when he discusses Action This Day, who has only a maiden win to his credit in two starts.

Action This Day, a son of Kris S., made it to the races on Sept. 5 at Del Mar and finished second, beaten seven lengths by Coldntight. Twenty-three days later, in the first race of the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita, Action This Day rallied from 12 lengths back to win his maiden by a nose. Though the final time of 1:45.67 for 1 1/16 miles was unimpressive, it is noteworthy that the fourth-place finisher from that race, That's an Outrage, came back to win his maiden on Sunday and will also be pointed to the Juvenile.

"He was an ugly duckling in April that's turning into a swan," Mandella said of Action This Day. "We never crowded him or put any speed into him at all. He finished real nice finishing second first time out. The other day, he got shuffled way back, ran around the field, and ran up into a bunch of horses and had to bully his way through. It got kind of tight and he showed a lot of courage and class.

"Then you wonder, well, is he fast enough?" Mandella added. "I brought him back and breezed him [Tuesday] and he went in [1:12] and went in 22-and-change for his last quarter. He's turning into a man."

Mandella believes a swift pace in the Juvenile could set things up for Action This Day.

If things work out right, Mandella will attack the Juvenile from several positions. He sees Siphonizer as a potential pace presence and would like to see Minister Eric in the role of stalker.

After winning the Del Mar Futurity, Siphonizer finished a well-beaten fourth in the Grade 2 Norfolk on Oct. 5. Mandella deduced that Siphonizer flipped his palate in the race. He has since put a figure-eight bridle and something called a Flying W bit on Siphonizer. On Monday, Siphonizer worked four furlongs in 47.60 seconds.

"I put some equipment on him that I thought might help, and he worked very good in it," Mandella said. "We even bounced him around and tried to make him get [his palate] up and he didn't."

Julie Krone will ride Siphonizer, and Alex Solis will ride Minister Eric. Mandella has not confirmed a rider for Action This Day.