Magic Weisner's win streak ended yesterday at Pimlico, but his trainer's dream of running in the Preakness did not.
Despite her gelding's second-place finish in the $125,000 Federico Tesio Stakes, Nancy Alberts - breeder, owner and trainer of Magic Weisner - said she still planned on running her 3-year-old homebred in the $1 million Preakness Stakes on May 18 at Pimlico.
"I don't see why not," Alberts said after Magic Weisner finished two lengths behind the front-running Smoked Em. "He can lay a little closer in the Preakness."
The Laurel-based Magic Weisner may have fallen victim to a speed-biased racetrack, a surface that favored front-runners, especially those who hugged the rail. Smoked Em, a New York-based son of Smoke Glacken, bolted to the lead, slowed down the pace and easily held off the charging Magic Weisner.
"You just can't catch speed at Pimlico," Alberts said. "But we tried. We ran our race. He ran wonderful."
Phil Teator, Magic Weisner's jockey, allowed the handsome gelding to settle into fifth place rather than hustle him closer to the lead. Richard Migliore, the New York rider who earlier had piloted Madame X Ski to a gate-to-wire win, duplicated the feat with Smoked Em.
"It seemed pretty obvious that the best spot to be was in front and on the rail," Migliore said.
Trained by Todd Pletcher at Belmont Park, Smoked Em ran the 1 1/8 miles in 1 minute, 50.33 seconds. He paid $8.40 as the 3-1 second choice. Entering the Tesio with a five-race win streak, Magic Weisner raced as the 4-5 favorite. Heir D' Twine, another Belmont horse, finished third.
The Tesio for 3-year-olds headlined Maryland Spring Challenge Day, a feast of five stakes, four for Maryland-breds. But Include claimed the headlines with a smashing victory in the $100,000 Jennings Handicap.
In the $60,000 Star De Naskra Stakes, No Pressure charged down the stretch for a sharp victory over pacesetting Captain Chessie. A Maryland-bred son of Press Card and Shorcount, No Pressure prompted a joyous winner's-circle celebration by owner Lou Ulman, chairman of the Maryland Racing Commission.
Ulman also owns horses in partnerships, but this was only his third stakes victory with a horse he solely owned. He bought No Pressure for $5,000 at the Timonium yearling sale. The 3-year-old gelding has won two of four starts, finishing second in the other two.
No Pressure's first stakes win coincided with the first visit to a racetrack by Ulman's 10 1/2 -month-old granddaughter, Madeline Rose Ulman. Madeline's father, Ken Ulman, held the smiling girl in the winner's circle.
Acknowledging that he was superstitious, Ulman said he would make sure his granddaughter and other friends and relatives who joined him yesterday attended No Pressure's next race. Ulman pointed to the gelding's trainer, Dale Capuano.
"I'm sure that next time he runs, Dale will be wearing that same shirt and tie," Ulman said.
Jeremy Rose rode No Pressure, and the next race rode Shiny Sheet to an impressive win in the $100,000 Geisha Handicap. A Maryland-bred daughter of Press Card and Miss Otis, Shiny Sheet stormed past Winter Leaf in deep stretch for a half-length victory.
In the $75,000 Caesar's Wish Stakes, Migliore steered Madame X Ski, a Maryland-bred daughter of Polish Numbers and Miss Rudy T., to a neck victory over the game Tamayo.