`Weisner' named top Md.-bred horse of '02

LAUREL NOTEBOOK

Alberts hopes gelding racing again by May-June

Laurel notebook

Horse Racing

March 09, 2003|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Magic Weisner, the fairy-tale horse, has been named Maryland-bred horse of the year for 2002 by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.

Nancy Alberts, a veteran Maryland horsewoman, bred, owns, gallops and trains the gelding who, after finishing second in last year's Preakness, contracted the West Nile virus. Magic Weisner, 4, has returned to training at Laurel Park, and Alberts hopes to have him back racing by late May or June.

"It's fabulous," Alberts said about Magic Weisner's latest honor. "It's an overwhelming feeling to have this horse.

"I go down the horse path on him and everybody just talks about him. They bring their horses over and tell them: `Why can't you be like him?' He's so cool."

Alberts breezed Magic Weisner yesterday for the third time since his recovery. He traveled three furlongs in a slow 39 seconds.

"He won't work," Alberts said, laughing. "He's just out there playing, having a good time. Pretty soon I'll hook him up with another horse. He just needs a little competition."

Magic Weisner won four races in 2002: two stakes for Maryland-breds, the Private Terms and the Ohio Derby. He finished second in the Federico Tesio Stakes, Preakness and Haskell Invitational Handicap, and fourth in the Belmont Stakes.

Magic Weisner was also named champion Maryland-bred 3-year-old. A panel of eight Maryland racing writers selected the champions. Joe Clancy Jr., steeplechase reporter, selected the steeplechase champion.

Here are the winners.

2-year-old male: Cherokee's Boy; 2-year-old filly: Coquettish; 3-year-old male: Magic Weisner; 3-year-old filly: Willa on the Move; Older male: La Reine's Terms ; Older female: Shine Again; Sprinter: Shine Again; Turf runner: La Reine's Terms; Horse of the year: Magic Weisner; Steeplechaser: Tres Touche.

Powers Prospect victorious

Powers Prospect powered to victory in the $50,000 Wide Country Stakes yesterday at Laurel Park. The front-running filly is a New Jersey-bred by Allen's Prospect trained and owned in part by Cathal Lynch, who is stabled at New Jersey in the summer and Pennsylvania in the winter.

Dale Capuano, the Maryland trainer, entered two horses, Grace Bay and Demetra's Love. They finished third and sixth, respectively, ending an eight-race win streak for Capuano. He saddled one winner Wednesday, four Thursday (three at Laurel, one at Charles Town), two Friday and one yesterday.

"I have never had a streak like that," said Capuano, who has won 21 training titles at Pimlico and Laurel. "We started out a little slow this year, but now we're gearing up for the Pimlico meet."

Johnston heading west

Mark Johnston, a leading Maryland jockey since 1990, will relocate to Southern California at the end of this month. Johnston, 32, has won 3,038 races, and his mounts have earned $55 million. He won the Eclipse award in 1990 as outstanding apprentice jockey.

"I've always wanted to take the step to the next level," Johnston said. "I feel like it's the best time for me to make the move."

Johnston has sold his home in Columbia. He will be represented at Santa Anita Park and then Hollywood Park by Michelle Barsotti, who books mounts for Garrett Gomez.

"She says there's room for a rider right now in Southern California," Johnston said. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity. The hardest thing is leaving my longtime agent and longtime friend Gordon Becraft."

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