02/04/2002 12:00AM

Group now glad sale fell through


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - You didn't have to be a Patriot to realize it was a weekend for surprises.

Maybry's Boy, the Spectacular Bid winner, was the solid even-money favorite for Saturday's $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes for 3-year-olds, but was never a factor. On the other hand, Showmeitall was always a factor, never had a chance to draw a deep breath, yet prevailed by a nose under Jorge Chavez. Monthir, the second choice, challenged vigorously outside Showmeitall and the finish was something to see.

Showmeitall, by the Fappiano stallion All Gone, was not a complete surprise. In seven previous starts he had finished in the money six times, and he was runner-up to Maybry's Boy in the Spectacular Bid. But the mindset at Gulfstream Park was as firmly fixed as at the Super Dome in New Orleans, and as a result, a lot of folks got rammed.

"This is a nice colt," said Showmeitall's trainer, Manny Tortora. "He's got a very even temperament and is pleasant to be around. He won at a mile last fall so we don't feel distance will be an immediate problem. There are no plans at this time but we'll be talking to the owners in the next few days."

Tortora knows what to do with a good horse, having developed Mecke to earn almost $2.5 million a few years ago. It is also worthwhile to note that Hutcheson winners, as a group, have quality, whether they go short or long.

The list includes Spectacular Bid, Swale, Housebuster, Fly So Free, Holy Bull, Frisk Me Now, More Than Ready, and Yonaguska.

Showmeitall races for the Take Five Stable, an eight-person group with members from New York to California. The managing partner is Mike Koop of Jupiter, Fla., who is involved in the processing of credit cards through terminals of the sort seen in many restaurants and retail stores.

"I'm a life-long racing f`an," Koop said. "I grew up on Long Island and went to the track with my father. A friend purchased a farm in Ocala and I had an opportunity to visit. I saw a side of racing that was new to me and I loved it.

"Toward the end of 1996 I decided I wanted to put together a small group to race a few horses. Some of the people involved in syndication - Terry Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds and Cot Campbell of Dogwood - were very helpful."

Their first horse, Stark Reality, in 1998, had six owners. Purchased privately for $32,000, he won, was second three times, and had three thirds before being claimed in New York for $20,000.

"It was a good start," Koop said. "We now have two 3-year-olds, including Showmeitall, and three 2-year-olds. We originally bought Showmeitall at the Eastern October sale for $6,000. We tried to sell him in June of his 2-year-old season and he missed his reserve by only $500. How lucky we were."

The most impressive 3-year-old winner last weekend was Came Home, who finished strongly to win the seven-furlong San Vicente at Santa Anita. A promising winner of last summer's Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga, Came Home was making his first start since the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He didn't distinguish himself that day but he trained well in California in recent weeks and ran to his training Saturday.