04/04/2004 11:00PM

Settling in for Blue Grass

Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Action This Day, the 2-year-old champion who will try to regain some lost luster Saturday in the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, arrived safely early Monday afternoon at Keeneland following a flight from Southern California.

Trainer Richard Mandella said he may work Action This Day "a little half-mile a couple days out" from the Grade 1 Blue Grass, but that a one-mile work last week at Santa Anita essentially completed Action This Day's major preparations for the Blue Grass.

Owned by B. Wayne Hughes, Action This Day has finished fourth and seventh in his two starts this year after earning a divisional championship by upsetting the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last October.

Most of the other seven 3-year-olds considered definite for the 1 1/8-mile Blue Grass also had serious works recently. Limehouse, the winner of the Tampa Bay Derby for Dogwood Stables, went five furlongs Sunday in 1:01 at Keeneland. The same morning, Mustanfar, the Tampa Bay runner-up, went a half-mile in 49 seconds.

Also at Keeneland on Sunday, That's an Outrage went five furlongs handily in a bullet 59.60 seconds, and Birdstone breezed the same distance in 1:00.80.

Breakaway also worked Sunday at Churchill Downs when going six furlongs in 1:13.80.

Nick Zito, trainer of Birdstone, is also considering running The Cliff's Edge in the Blue Grass, although he said a decision would likely come Tuesday, at the earliest. Blue Grass entries will be drawn Wednesday. Shane Sellers will ride The Cliff's Edge, whether The Cliff's Edge runs in the Blue Grass or the Wood Memorial.

With all jockey assignments finalized, this is the probable Blue Grass field: Action This Day, David Flores; Breakaway, Robby Albarado; Birdstone, Edgar Prado; Limehouse, Jose Santos; Lion Heart, Mike Smith; Mustanfar, Richard Migliore; Preachinatthebar, Javier Santiago; and That's an Outrage, Mark Guidry.

Preachinatthebar, winner of the San Felipe for Bob Baffert, was expected to arrive Wednesday at Churchill from Southern California.

The Blue Grass is part of the national Big 3 Pick 3 wager and will be televised live on NBC Sports.