03/17/2006 1:00AM

If it's three strikes you're out, how about four?


Calamity Jane strikes again!

No, that's not a line from the coming attractions for a new Hollywood comedy western, but a headline that ran throughout England last week, when placing judge Jane Stickels announced the incorrect order of finish in a race at Lingfield Park, then reversed her decision after the race had been made official and the bookies had begun paying off on the wrong winner.

It is the fourth time Stickels has been in hot water for an improper call. In October 1994, she had declared that Absolam's Lady and Large Action had dead-heated in a Grade 3 hurdle at Kempton, only to change her mind and make Absalom's Lady the sole winner.

In June 1999, after a disqualification in a Lingfield handicap, Stickels incorrectly moved the sixth-place finisher up to fourth instead of the fifth-place finisher who was in line for the promotion. Two bettors claimed they had been bilked of winnings in the four-figure region, but to no avail.

Three weeks later, Stickels was at it again at Newmarket when, following a close finish, she announced Full Flow as the winner of the Group 3 Superlative Stakes over Thady Quill. Less than a minute later, she realized her error and declared Thady Quill the winner. Fortunately for her, the stewards had called for an inquiry, so the bookies had not yet begun to pay out, but this time the stewards slapped Ms. Stickels with a suspension.

Stickels's latest fiasco came on March 6, when she announced that 9-4 favorite Welsh Dragon had nosed out 14-1 Miss Dagger in a seven-furlong handicap at Lingfield. Welsh Dragon's owners were about to receive their trophy when Stickels changed her mind and declared Miss Dagger the winner, causing bedlam in the bookies ring.

Officially, all bets were paid out on the wrong result, although many bookies paid on both results while calling for Stickels's head. The bookies estimated that her latest blunder cost the betting industry 2 million pounds ($3.5 million). The stewards are conducting an inquiry into the affair, but it is a safe bet that Calamity Jane has judged, or pre-judged, her last race.

The incident recalls the infamous day at Saratoga, on Saturday, Aug. 2, 1986, when the stewards disqualified the wrong horse. Allumeuse had breezed to victory down the center of the turf course shortly after Suntonic had dropped another horse over the hedge approaching the eighth pole. Second-place finisher Festivity was wrongly promoted to first, and Allumeuse was disqualified and placed last, creating the worst travesty in the history of racing in New York, or anywhere else, for that matter.

Silent Times ready to make noise in U.S.

While Godolphin's Discreet Cat will offer his Kentucky Derby credentials in the UAE Derby at Nad Al Sheba on March 25, we could have a second possible foreign runner in the Kentucky Derby in Silent Times.

Trained in Nottinghamshire, England, by Irishman Eoghan O'Neill, Silent Times departed for Kentucky on Friday. Silent Times shared first-place with Close To You in the seven-furlong, Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in his latest start on Oct. 9. Group 2 winner Cool Creek was fourth, and Group 3 winner Amigoni was fifth.

Silent Times had previously finished four lengths third in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes to Epsom Derby favorite Horatio Nelson.

O'Neill will run Silent Times in the Lane's End at Turfway Park on Saturday, with Robby Albarado booked for the ride. Silent Times worked successfully on Wolverhampton's Polytrack surface on Wednesday, after which he was given the go-ahead for his American adventure.

O'Neill, who says that Silent Times "has a very high cruising speed," is also thinking of the Blue Grass Stakes as a final Derby prep. Out of the Wild Again mare Recoleta, he is a full sister to Grade 2 Suburban Handicap winner Offlee Wild, so there is a good chance that he will act on dirt.