Action This Day, looking to launch his 2004 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) campaign, will pass on Saturday's Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) and point to the Sham Stakes on Feb. 8, trainer Richard Mandella said Sunday morning.Mandella said the upset winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) at 26-1 and one of the finalists for an Eclipse Award as top 2-year-old colt or gelding isn't quite ready to go.
"I've decided to change my schedule," Mandella said. "I'm going to run him in the Sham rather than the Santa Catalina. I don't think I've got him quite (as) ready as I thought I did and I'm going to wait until the next one. It's no big deal. I'm just not confident I've got him back to this level yet and I'm going to take a few more weeks doing it. It's as simple as that."
Action This Day worked five furlongs on Santa Anita's fast main track Sunday in :59 4/5 under David Flores. "He worked real nice," Mandella said.
The Sham, at 1 1/8 miles, was a productive race last year. It was won by Man Among Men, who upset Empire Maker, the odds-on favorite, and Ten Most Wanted, who ran fourth.
Probable for $150,000 Santa Catalina for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles: Master David, John Velazquez; Perfect Moon, Victor Espinoza; Preachinatthebar, no rider; St. Averil, Tyler Baze; and Twice As Bad, Mike Smith.