07/31/2002 11:00PM

Alberts enjoying her season in sun


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Most of the trainers saddling horses in Sunday's Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park have been there and done that. Not so for Nancy Alberts, whose fresh entrance onto the national stage has come this year with Magic Weisner, the Preakness Stakes runner-up whom she bred, trains, and owns.

Magic Weisner is by far the best horse Alberts, 56, has ever trained, and he has taken her along the uncharted waters of the Triple Crown and now the beginning of a midsummer campaign that starts with the $1 million Haskell. But if you speak with Alberts, she will tell you she's just enjoying the ride, which has taken her to tracks where she has never before run a horse - Belmont Park for the Belmont Stakes and now Monmouth.

"He's doing wonderful and I've been very lucky with this horse," Alberts said Thursday afternoon on a cell phone, while driving along the New Jersey Turnpike with Magic Weisner en route to Monmouth. "He is just happy as can be right now."

A native of West Chester, Pa., Alberts worked for trainer James P. Simpson for more than 30 years before going out on her own in 1993. Alberts maintains a small stable of five horses in Maryland, and she has bred the majority of her stock. She bred Magic Weisner, but from his low-profile breeding, his rise to the top of the 3-year-old division is surely amazing.

Amidst the well-bred colts heralding from barns that consistently send out solid 3-year-olds, Magic Weisner will be running for the little guys on Sunday. Alberts bred the mare Jazema, whom she purchased for $1, to Ameri Valay at Shamrock Farms in Maryland. Ameri Valay, who had 16 wins in 68 career starts and earned nearly $750,000, stands for $2,500.

Yet from fighting a life-threatening infection three months after his birth, to a slow start to his career as a 2-year-old with two starts before winning his maiden, Magic Weisner has defied all the odds against him.

"When he was real young, before he ever ran, he just hadn't grown into himself yet," Alberts said. "I didn't know exactly how good he would be. But when I started to run him, I knew he didn't want to go short. He's really matured now and we can do anything we want with him."

Once Magic Weisner stretched out to longer distances in his third start, the foundation was there for future success. He won by 8 1/2 lengths in that maiden race Oct. 11 and has since thrived with the added distance. He strung together five consecutive wins at Laurel, including four in stakes, before running second in the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico.

Then in his biggest career start, the Preakness Stakes on May 18, Magic Weisner came flying from the clouds to get up for second behind War Emblem at 45-1. As for her initial appearance on the Triple Crown scene, Alberts said, "It was very busy, a lot of pressure. But it was fun."

A fourth in the Belmont Stakes and then an incredibly hard-fought victory in the Grade 2 Ohio Derby two weeks ago bring Magic Weisner, a gelding, up the road from Maryland to Monmouth on Sunday.

Alberts has never won a Grade 1 before, and her only graded-stakes starts have come with Magic Weisner. It has been a year of firsts for Alberts, but she is enjoying every second of it.

"I feel real confident about this horse heading into the Haskell," she said.

'Milliondollar' has experience edge

In comparison to the six other 2-year-old fillies entered in the featured $50,000 Colleen Stakes on Saturday, Milliondollarlady is a seasoned veteran.

While the Colleen field, with the exception of Milliondollarlady, are just maiden winners and have only one or two career starts, Milliondollarlady already has made four starts for trainer Mary Hartmann. After starting her career with two three-furlong maiden races at Gulfstream Park in April, the second of which she won, Milliondollarlady has run third in the Fashion Stakes and fourth in the Astoria, both at Belmont.

Milliondollarlady's experience heading into the Colleen, the prep for the Grade 3 Sorority here Aug. 25, is something Hartmann believes will give her filly an added advantage Saturday.

"It's a definite plus," she said. "She got ready quickly this year and was very precocious. She is already very professional in her races."

Milliondollarlady always comes charging late and Hartmann said she eagerly awaits the opportunity to stretch her out down the road. But for now, at the 5 1/2-furlong Colleen distance, Milliondollarlady will need a quick pace to set up her closing kick.

Three starters in the field ship in from New York for the Colleen. Dance Hall Girl comes off a nearly two-length win in the Belmont slop and trainer Rusty Arnold has sent live horses here all meet. D. Wayne Lukas is always lethal when shipping in for Monmouth's juvenile stakes and he will saddle I'll Be the One off a New York-bred maiden victory June 11. Grand Natalie Rose also comes in for trainer Mike Sedlacek.

Flame Tetra, Forever Partners, and Skipper's Mate complete the field.