ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ The most valuable item at McDonald's restaurants is a special promotional basketball card featuring Orlando Magic rookie Shaquille O'Neal. Even the police have been involved.

The card, included in packs available only in the Orlando area, can bring up to $40 each from collectors.

Since the chain began distributing Upper Deck cards with food orders this month, two McDonald's employees and two others have been arrested in the theft of O'Neal cards.

The 250,000 packs available in Orlando contain two cards from a 50-card national set and either a Magic player card or a prize card. Collectors nationwide want the Magic cards featuring O'Neal.

Deputies arrested three people in one case Tuesday.

Nanette Marrero, a 24-year-old employee of an Orlando McDonald's, was charged with grand theft and dealing in stolen property. Investigators say she took at least one case of 1,500 cards featuring Magic players and arranged to sell the box to a friend at a card shop for $100.

A sheriff's commander who happened to be in the store became suspicious when he saw Marrero, still wearing her McDonald's uniform, walk in with the box of cards.

The owner of the card shop, Kendall Loyd, 28, was booked on the same counts, as was Paul Hossler, 25, who investigators said was the friend who aided Marrero in the sale. All three were released from the Orange County jail on $2,500 bail.

McDonald's is offering special team sets in only four other cities.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Steve Cauthen will be at the Kentucky Derby on May 1 for the first time since 1978, when he rode Triple Crown winner Affirmed.

This time, he will be an TV announcer for ABC.

Cauthen split with thoroughbred owner Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum in January and, for the first time since 1979, will not be riding a full schedule in Britain this year. He said in a conference call Wednesday that although his riding future was still undecided, his shortterm future was clear. He and his wife Amy have moved from England back to Cauthen's hometown of Walton, Ky., and she is expecting their first child on May 13, two days before the Preakness.

''All I'm hoping for is good timing, really,'' Cauthen said.

Cauthen's deal with ABC is for the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes on June 5. He will join Al Michaels and Jim McKay as an expert analyst.

''I've done a lot of interviews, but that was from the other end of the mike,'' said Cauthen, a broadcast rookie. ''I've always had an interest in trying to get involved from a different aspect.''

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NEW YORK (AP) - Dan O'Brien, world record-holder in the decathlon and the indoor pentathlon and heptathlon, will try to become the first athlete to own all four major multi-event records simultaneously.

O'Brien will seek to add the world outdoor pentathlon mark to his collection when he and 11 others compete April 5 in the inaugural VISA Gold Medal Athlete Pentathlon at Southern Methodist University.

O'Brien set the indoor pentathlon record of 4,497 points in February 1992, the decathlon record of 8,891 points in September 1992 and the indoor heptathlon mark of 6,746 points this month.

The outdoor pentathlon record is 4,282 points, set by Bill Toomey in 1969. The pentathlon consists of the long jump, javelin, 200 meters, discus and 1,500 meters.

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FORT WORTH, Texas - Tom Kite's two victories in February won the golfer the designation as Hickok Pro Athlete of the Month on Wednesday. Kite, winner of the Bob Hope Classic and the Los Angeles Open, receive 32 first-place votes from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters.

Stock car driver Dale Jarrett was second with 14 first-place votes after his victory in the Daytona 500.

The monthly winners will be on a year-end ballot to select the Pro Athlete of the Year.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Lawrence Taylor, Warren Moon, Jim Kelly and Randall Cunningham will be among a large group of NFL officials and players honoring John Bello, president of NFL Properties, April 14.

The occasion will be the Scouts in Sports Dinner at the Plaza Hotel. The event will benefit the Boy Scouts of America's Greater New York Councils, which serves more than 110,000 inner-city youths in the city's five boroughs.