Imperialism working at Churchill Wednesday morning.

Imperialism working at Churchill Wednesday morning.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Action This Day, Imperialism Turn in Final Works

By Lenny Shulman and
Tom Lamarra

B. Wayne Hughes' Action This Day zipped three furlongs in :35 1/5 and galloped out a half-mile in :48 2/5 Wednesday in his final preparation for Saturday's $1-million Kentucky Derby (gr. I) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

"He went off easy and really finished the last eighth of a mile like a Cadillac," said trainer Richard Mandella. "Going a long way (1 1/4 miles) Saturday, you want a Cadillac, not a sports car."

Mandella said Action This Day, the son of Kris S. who was champion 2-year-old male of 2003, has recovered from soreness that was detected following his sixth-place finish in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.

"I was not happy with way he moved at Keeneland," said Mandella, who is also sending Minister Eric in the Derby. "He was sore in the behind. But we have corrected it and he is moving well over this track. He's a different horse."

Noting that he is pleased with the status of both of his Derby starters, Mandella said he hopes Action This Day puts a halt to the "Breeders' Cup-Derby jinx." No winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) has won the Derby. Action This Day won the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. This year, the colt was fourth in the Sham Stakes and seventh in the San Felipe (gr. II) before the Blue Grass.

Also putting in his final Derby prep, Steve Taub's Imperialism worked a quarter-mmile in :24 4/5 and galloped out three-eighths of a mile in :38 Wednesday.

"I let him do what he wanted to do," said 21-year-old trainer Kristin Mulhall, who rode the son of Langfuhr  in the workout. "I am extremely happy. He galloped out strong. When I took hold of him, he would not pull up. He really did not want to stop. When I grabbed his head, he threw it into the air and refused to stop. That's what I wanted to see."

The most seasoned horse in the Derby field with five wins, four seconds, and one third from 15 starts, Imperialism was moved up from third to second in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).