Maryland trainer Nancy Alberts, who saddled her homebred Magic Weisner to run second in the 2002 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), died Tuesday, May 3, from complications following a stroke April 17. She was 65.
Alberts, who also served as a groom and exercised her horses, achieved a measure of fame when Maryland-bred Magic Weisner contested the Preakness. One of 13 women to train a Preakness starter. she is the only woman to saddle a Preakness contestant that finished as high as second.
Magic Weisner, who was beaten 1 3/4 lengths by Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner War Emblem in the Preakness, finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in his next start. He then captured the Ohio Derby (gr. II) and ran second in the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), won by War Emblem.
Magic Weisner, a gelding, was voted 2002 Maryland Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old male. Alberts was honored that year by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association with a special achievement award.
Magic Weisner raced as a 4-year-old. He was retired from racing because of West Nile Virus. He resides at a West Chester, Pa., farm owned by Alberts’ sister.
Magic Weisner wasn’t Alberts’ first brush with the Preakness. She had worked as a groom for trainer James Simpson, whose charge Cormorant ran fourth in Seattle Slew’s 1977 Preakness score. It was from Simpson that Alberts bought Magic Weisner’s dam, Jazema, for a $1.
Alberts also was the breeder/owner/trainer of stakes winner Clark’s Clone and the trainer of Termsofengagement, who won the 2008 Woodlawn Stakes at Pimlico the day before that year’s Preakness.
“My mother was just proud to be a horseman,” said her son Will Alberts. “She was never star struck by being in the limelight. She was proud her horse was good enough to get her to the Preakness and then finish second. She was very humble with it and there was never anything extravagant. I think she bought a new washing machine that year. Magic’s success eventually allowed her to purchase the farm in Sykesville. She always wanted to wake up in the morning and look out a window to watch her horses and that’s what she did.”
In addition to Will, Alberts is survived by three sisters and a brother. A celebration service will be held at Laurel Park, next Wednesday, May 11 at 10:30 a.m. in the International Room (Third Floor, Clubhouse).