01/31/2002 1:00AM

All eyes on Derby prep prizes


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Where do Kentucky Derby winners come from?

Most often from either the Florida Derby, like Monarchos and Thunder Gulch, or the Santa Anita Derby, like Charismatic, Real Quiet, and Silver Charm. The two features are in the mainstream of classic candidates, fit comfortably on the calendar, have an attractive value of their own, and boast significant tradition.

There are several preps for these features, two of them scheduled for Saturday. Here at Gulfstream, all eyes will be on the seven-furlong Hutcheson and its probable favorite, Maybry's Boy, winner of the Spectacular Bid Stakes on the opening day card of Jan. 3. At Santa Anita, the seven-furlong San Vicente commands the spotlight, with the Hopeful winner, Came Home, as the one to beat and the undefeated Werblin as the danger.

Maybry's Boy, a $220,000 Keeneland yearling purchase, hasn't run a bad race. He could just as easily be 4 for 6 instead of his 2 for 6 record. A Broad Brush colt, he looked particularly good coming from off the pace to win the Spectacular Bid.

"He's done everything I've asked him to do," trainer Shug McGaughey commented. "This is a nice colt. He's intelligent and he's easy to train. If you want a half-mile in 49 seconds, he'll give it to you. If you want five-eighths in 1:01, he can do that, too. He finishes well. We think he has a future."

Maybry's Boy is owned by Randy Hill, a Wall Street executive, a lifelong racing fan, and a new man in the game.

"His pedigree is in his favor. Broad Brush is an outstanding sire," said McGaughey.

The Phipps family is sending some of its best mares to Broad Brush this season, including the stakes winners Inside Information and Finder's Fee.

If Maybry's Boy runs to expectations, McGaughey plans to bring him back in the Fountain of Youth Stakes and the Florida Derby.

Racing at the Super Bowl

This is Super Bowl weekend, and racing is taking advantage of the opportunity to spread its message in enterprising fashion. Randy Moss, whose skillful commentary on ESPN racing telecasts has been well received across the country, is in New Orleans for the big football weekend. He was to be at the Superdome Thursday and Friday, visiting the broadcast booths of the many radio stations from across the country who are broadcasting the Super Bowl with updates on the 3-year-old division. This tour was arranged by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

In a similar vein, 50 prominent sportswriters and columnists have been invited to the Fair Grounds on Saturday for a day at the races. The NTRA has arranged for Chip Tuttle to present a seminar on 3-year-old racing and each guest will receive a Kentucky Derby future book ticket so that he can follow his horse in the Kentucky Derby. Once again, racing will receive considerable publicity for minimum cost.

The NTRA is also proceeding with details pertinent to the Eclipse Awards dinner to be held at the Fontainebleau Hilton Hotel in Miami Beach on Monday night, Feb. 18. More than 700 people are expected to attend the black-tie affair, which will be hosted by ESPN personality Kenny Mayne.

Sponsored by Daily Racing Form, the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, and the NTRA, the dinner honors champions in every division, and is considered the social highlight of the season.

The two-hour show will begin at 7 p.m. Halfway through the program, a five-minute video reviewing the 2001 season will be shown for those attending the dinner so that they can be served a course. The main course will not be served until the Horse of the Year announcement has been made at the end of the show. A large delegation from overseas is expected for the first time because of the strong showing of foreign horses in the Breeders' Cup. One of the highlights of the evening will be the presentation of the Special Eclipse Award to Sheikh Mohammed for his generous support of racing charities following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.