- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 15, 2002

The local son of a $1 horse awaits racing's royalty in Saturday's 127th Preakness Stakes.
Magic Weisner will try to become the first Maryland colt to win the Preakness since Deputed Testamony's 1983 upset in the slop, but he's hardly outmatched. The 2001 Maryland-bred juvenile colt of the year has dominated the local circuit enough to earn a chance at the black-eyed susan winner's blanket. Magic Weisner broke his maiden last year at Pimlico Race Course before later winning five straight at Laurel Park.
"I feel like I'm representing the state," trainer Nancy Alberts said. "So many people are clapping me on the back for running, but I don't want to go if we don't belong."
Magic Weisner is racing's version of a blue light special. She bought Jazema for $1 when the daughter of 1976 Kentucky Derby winner Bold Forbes seemed like a poor prospect. Instead, Jazema won 14 races over four years before being bred to respected local stallion Ameri Valley for $2,500. The first offspring was stakes-placed colt Deliver Hope. The next was Magic Weisner, who has become Alberts' best horse in more than 20 years by winning six of 10 with two seconds for $233,110. Now Magic Weisner is competing against the sports' bluebloods that regularly cost six to seven figures.
Ironically, Magic Weisner's career seemed doubtful when an ankle infection at three months caused bone damage. Alberts ignored the veterinarian's prognosis, though she later named the colt after him.
"I don't listen to the vets when they say those things when [the horse is] young," Alberts said. "The doc wouldn't guarantee he would race, but as young as he was I didn't think it would hurt him."
Magic Weisner's tactical speed will allow the horse to lay a few lengths behind expected front-runners War Emblem and Booklet. If the leaders tire in the stretch, Magic Weisner has to outkick Proud Citizen and Medaglia d'Oro to the wire.
Alberts will replace regular rider Phil Treator by today's post position draw because she believes the jockey's poor start caused Magic Weisner to finish second in the Federico Tesio Stakes on April 20. The colt must stay close to the lead without pushing hard until the stretch, a versatility Alberts felt requires a more experienced rider. Should War Emblem gain the same easy early pace as during the Derby victory, the front-runner will take the Preakness, too.
"It's going to be hard to catch [the leaders] because speed holds in Pimlico," Alberts said. "People say there's no standouts and there aren't, but no one made a run at [War Emblem]. I don't know what they were thinking."
Notes War Emblem, Booklet and Harlan's Holiday readied yesterday in Louisville, Ky., before shipping today. USS Tinosa and Crimson Hero worked at Pimlico.
War Emblem covered five-eighths of a mile in 1:033/5 at Churchill Downs. Trainer Bob Baffert said he's merely trying to keep the colt even-tempered before the race.
"He is learning to relax a little bit," Baffert said. "I'm not trying to change his style. I just want him to remain happy and enjoy his first flight."
Booklet worked a half-mile in 483/5 seconds under jockey Pat Day. Trainer John Ward said he expects to "ambush" War Emblem with Booklet's early speed.
"Everything looks to be in place for a good effort on Saturday," Ward said. "Our horse has the ability to control the race if that's what Pat wants to do. He definitely has legitimate speed."
Harlan's Holiday breezed a half-mile in 481/5 seconds.
At Pimlico, USS Tinosa worked a blistering half-mile in 46 seconds.
"I felt tears coming out of my eyes like I was on a motorcycle on a beautiful day with a stiff wind in my face," USS Tinosa exercise rider Craig McGurn said.
Crimson Hero worked five-eighths of a mile in 1:02 under exercise rider Jamie Sanders. Trainer Nick Zito claimed it was more like a one-minute lick.
"It may not look like a 59 [seconds] or a minute, but there were a lot of factors involved, like the headwind in the stretch," he said. "What I really liked was the way he galloped out. Jamie said she couldn't pull him up. He's a come-from-behind horse, so that's a good sign."
Meanwhile, trainer D. Wayne Lukas will enter Table Limit along with Derby runner-up Proud Citizen in the expected 13-horse field. Jockey Gary Stevens will ride Table Limit.

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