|Looking for a Preakness long shot?|
Magic Weisner has home turf edge in Preakness
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
May 10, 2002
BALTIMORE (AP) -- Looking for a Preakness long shot? Try Magic Weisner, a horse with the home turf advantage.
Although Magic Weisner hasn't won a graded stakes race and is coming off a second-place finish in the Federico Tesio Stakes, the bay gelding has run four times at Pimlico Race Course and is stabled just 18 miles away at Laurel Park.
``Definitely, it's a positive,'' said Nancy Alberts, owner and trainer of the Maryland-bred horse. ``He's won at Pimlico -- he broke his maiden there -- and knows the track. Plus, I think it helps when you don't have to ship him a great distance.''
Trainer Nick Zito's Preakness prospects, Crimson Hero and Straight Gin, arrived earlier this week after a 9 1/2 -hour ride from Kentucky to Baltimore. Most of the other Preakness runners, including Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem, are set to ship from Churchill Downs to Pimlico on Wednesday.
Alberts plans to put her horse in a van the morning of the Preakness.
``No reason to get there any sooner,'' she said.
Magic Weisner has more going for him than familiarity with his surroundings. He has finished in the money in eight of 10 races and earned $233,110.
His lineage can be traced to 1976 Kentucky Derby winner Bold Forbes, and he was named the top Maryland-bred 2-year-old male in 2001. The son of Ameri Valay won three straight races this year, and six of seven races overall, before falling by two lengths to Smoked Em in the Tesio on April 20.
``He was supposed to be with the leaders in the Tesio, but the jockey got him out too late,'' said Alberts, still perturbed at jockey Phil Teator.
Alberts will probably stick with Teator, who has been aboard Magic Weisner for six straight races and appears to have learned his lesson.
``We'll know better in the Preakness to lay a little closer,'' he said.
Magic Weisner has turned out to be the best horse Alberts has ever owned, but he gave her a serious scare as a 3-month-old when he developed an infection in his left front ankle.
He was cured by Dr. Allen Wisner, and Alberts was so grateful she named the horse after the doctor. She misspelled his name on the application, a blunder Alberts sheepishly terms a ``clerical error.''
But she's convinced that entering the relatively untested Magic Weisner in the Preakness is no mistake.
``I like my chances, I like my horse,'' she said. ``It costs a lot of money to run in this race; we're not in it for fun. I think he'll run a competitive race.''
The key is the start.
``When you run at Pimlico, speed is very dominating,'' Alberts said. ``He has to stay on pace. If he does that, then I think he's going to be close at the finish.''
Harlan's Holiday, seventh in the Derby, is headed to the Preakness, owner Jack Wolfe said ... Trainer Bobby Frankel named Jerry Bailey as his rider on Medaglia d'Oro, who was fourth in the Derby ... Pat Day will ride Booklet, who skipped the Derby. Day has five Preakness wins, one short ofEddie Arcaro's record.