LAUREL -- Jazema is known as the $1 daughter of a Kentucky Derby winner.
That's the price Nancy Alberts paid for the crippled filly nearly one year ago. The horse's sire, Bold Forbes, won the Derby in 1976.
But yesterday, Laurel's leading trainer, King Leatherbury, thought enough of Jazema that he put up $25,000 of a client's money to claim her out of the ninth race. The filly won, netting Alberts $33,100 in one day.
After the race, Jazema looked almost broken down when she cooled out in the detention barn.
Alberts was nearly in tears.
"What he [Leatherbury] did was buy an awful lot of love for $25,000," she said. "I can't believe I will go to my barn this morning and she won't be there."
Alberts remembers seeing Jazema for the first time almost three years ago. The Pennsylvania-born horsewoman has worked for trainer Jim Simpson off-and-on for nearly 30 years, and went to his farm in Boyce, Va., to see the young horses.
"Jazema was this tiny, little black ball of fuzz," Alberts said. "She was born with crooked legs and stood pigeon-toed. She was backward and wouldn't run with the other foals."
Alberts said the filly's owner, Ahmed Foustok, is a wealthy Saudi Arabian who lives in England and boards his breeding stock with Simpson.
"The filly's legs were operated on in the hopes they'd eventually straighten up," Albert said.
But when Jazema came into Laurel as a 2-year-old last spring, Simpson gave up on her.
"She just couldn't keep up with the other horses, even galloping, and she was so rough-going, no one wanted to ride her," Alberts said.
Foustok and Simpson agreed to sell her to Alberts -- for $1.
"I put her in my barn and worked like the devil on her legs," Alberts said. "She wings out so badly when she walks around the shed, she trips me. I had plans to move her on, but I just fell in love with her."
Alberts said that eventually, with the help of Butazolidin and daily bandages "that went from her ankles to above her knees," she began to improve. "I think basically, she just had more time to grow," she said.
The filly won twice last fall and even placed fourth in a stakes until Alberts dropped her down for a claiming tag yesterday. "It never entered my mind that anyone would claim her. She runs in four bandages and four other protective patches. Anyone that watches her move is horrified," Alberts said.
The filly's future concerns Alberts.
Alberts was reminded that she had grossed $51,611 and won three races with the $1 filly and that she was no longer her responsibility.
"I hope she doesn't get lost in the shuffle in such a large barn," Alberts said. "I only have one other horse and could devote a lot of attention to her. Her story was a fairy tale, until yesterday."
NOTES: Ky Lord is entered in tomorrow's Private Terms Stakes, but is also being entered in the Swift Stakes at Aqueduct, "and could run there," owner Israel Cohen said yesterday. . . . Trainer Carlos Gracia said he plans to run Western Miner next in the Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct, but is being represented in the Private Terms with America The Free. . . . Maryland's OTB bill is expected to come up for a preliminary vote this morning on the Senate floor.