The Maryland racing community lost one of its most interesting personalities when trainer Nancy Alberts passed away late Tuesday night at Georgetown Medical Center. The 65-year-old, who suffered a stroke April 17, is just one of 10 female conditioners to saddle a Preakness Stakes starter.
Alberts was the trainer, owner, breeder and exercise rider for 2002 Preakness Stakes (Grade 1) runner-up Magic Weisner. The Maryland-bred gelding just missed winning Maryland's signature race at odds of 45-1, rallying from far back to finish just three-quarters of a length behind War Emblem.
The son of Ameri Valay won three stakes races during the Laurel Park winter meet that year and was a game fourth in the Belmont Stakes (Grade 1), his only out of the money finish all year.
After the Triple Crown campaign, Magic Weisner captured the Ohio Derby (Grade 2) and was second in the Haskell (Grade 1) at Monmouth Park. Unfortunately he camedown with West Nile virus while preparing for the Pennsylvania Derby and competed just one more time.
Magic Weisner retired with seven victories in 15 career starts with earnings of $888,830, 25th on the all-time Maryland-bred list.
Alberts was named trainer of the year by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen'sAssociation in 2002 and was the Honorary Postmaster for Preakness 2003.
The Philadelphia native purchased Magic Weisner's dam Jazema from boss James Simpson for $1 and guided her to 14 victories.
Alberts finished with 161 winners with earnings of $3 million, according to Equibase, during a career that began in 1976. Her final runner, Ameri Weber, finishedsixth in the Pimlico opener on April 23.
“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 her son, Alberts is survived by three sisters, Shirley Hickman,Linda Meister and Wilma Reese and one brother, David Hickman.
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).
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