05/31/2001 11:00PM

Confusion over Monarchos half


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A mix-up in the identities of two 2-year-old colts from the same stable has led to an investigation, Kentucky chief steward Bernie Hettel announced Friday.

Both colts are owned by Gus Goldsmith and trained by Norman Miracle Jr. One of the colts is by Supremo out of the mare Regal Band, making him a half-brother to 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos.

The confusion began Thursday when the colt believed to be Weekend Miracle was scheduled to make his career debut in the second race, a maiden-claiming race, at Churchill Downs. According to registration papers, Weekend Miracle is by Mi Cielo out of Weekend Spree.

But Barbara Borden, horse identifier for the Kentucky Racing Commission, determined that the horse brought to the paddock was actually Just My Guy, the half-brother to Monarchos. The colt was a late scratch from the Thursday race.

Complicating the matter is that Weekend Miracle had mistakenly raced May 26 at Churchill under the name of Just My Guy and the Supremo-Regal Band pedigree, finishing last at 19-1 in a field of nine maiden special-weight runners.

Hettel said the mix-up apparently began shortly after both colts were purchased by Goldsmith out of the Keeneland September yearling sales.

"We believe it's an honest mistake that has been perpetuated by what occurred when they were tattooed," he said. "Both horses have highly similar appearances, cowlicks, and white markings. We believe their halters might have been switched when they first came into Mr. Miracle's care. Even he didn't know the difference.

"It was a great catch by Barbara," said Hettel. If the Monarchos half-brother had run Friday and been claimed for $50,000, he said, "can you imagine what a can of worms that would have been?"

Hettel said The Jockey Club, which oversees the registration of all Thoroughbreds in North America, would correct the misunderstanding by giving the half-brother to Monarchos a new name. The Mi Cielo colt who raced May 26 as Just My Guy will keep the name Weekend Miracle. The name Just My Guy will be discarded. All registration papers will be corrected accordingly.

Hettel said the investigation is still pending and that disciplinary action is possible.

Meeker home just in time

It was very considerate of Pat Day to wait until Tom Meeker showed up before he proceeded to record his 8,000th win Thursday.

Meeker, president of Churchill Downs Inc., left Tulsa, Okla., at 6 a.m. Central on Thursday morning, "because I wanted to make sure I was here when Pat did it," he said.

But after his early-morning flight from Tulsa landed in St. Louis, Meeker was stuck in the airport, victimized by a lengthy delay.

Finally, Meeker arrived at Churchill just before Day captured the sixth race, at about 5:35 p.m. Eastern. If Day had won with any of his three earlier mounts, Meeker would have missed all the pomp and circumstance.

"Air travel these days can be pretty rough," said Meeker.

A matter of priorities

To some horseplayers, the sentimental stuff is strictly secondary. As Pat Day's voice emanated from television monitors throughout the Churchill plant during his elaborate 8,000-win ceremony, trainer Tom Amoss noticed a group of bettors who weren't exactly paying attention.

"Pat's talking, and it's all thoughtful and everything, right?" said Amoss. "Well, about five guys are watching Belmont or some other track, and they all start screaming, 'Come on with the 1! Come on with the 1.' "

Camden Park to run on grass

Camden Park, the A.P. Indy colt who carried Day to his 8,000th win, could run next in the $250,000 Kent Breeders' Cup Stakes at Delaware Park July 22, said trainer Elliott Walden.

"His future's probably on the grass," said Walden.

Last year, the same connections - Walden, Day, and owner Mark Stanley - won the Kent BC with Three Wonders on the Delaware Handicap undercard.

Sellers on hand for celebration

Among the many friends and colleagues who crowded into Day's winner's circle ceremony was Shane Sellers, one of the few jockeys to defeat Day for a Churchill meet title in the last 20 years.

Sellers is still recuperating from reconstructive surgery on his knee, which was injured in December. He is awaiting word from his doctor to see whether he can begin riding later this summer.

Close, but no car

The good news for trainer Joseph Schlich: He made a hole-in-one during Churchill's annual horsemen's golf tournament on Tuesday.

The bad news: He made it one hole too late.

A local automobile dealership offered a free car for a hole-in-one scored on the second hole at the Polo Fields, the course where the tournament was held. Schlich made his ace on No. 3. Both holes are par 3's.

Schlich, who trains a string for Calumet Farm, was acknowledged at the dinner held afterward and given a $250 gift certificate.

* Walden reported that Mr. John, who finished second in the Lexington Stakes, then last in the Preakness, will have an ankle chip removed in surgery scheduled for June 11.

* Evelite, a two-time winner at big mutuels over the Churchill turf course, is among a field of nine fillies and mares entered in the $52,000 Sunday feature, a one-mile turf race. Evelite is trained by Roger Anderson, the Tennessee-based trainer who gained notoriety earlier this year with Bonnie Scot.

* Apprentice Chris Rosier scored his first Churchill victory when he gave Shanty Creek a ground-saving ride to win the last race Thursday. Rosier, 20, is a Louisiana native whose book is handled by former jockey Randy Romero.