Updated on 09/16/2011 8:22AM

Colt: $1. Dream? Priceless.


LAUREL, Md. - There once was a slogan for a state lottery that said, "All you need is a dollar and a dream."

When Nancy Alberts purchased the mare Jazema for $1 several years ago, she had a better chance of hitting the lottery than getting a future Preakness horse. But, on Saturday, the 56-year-old Alberts will be on the Pimlico turf course, standing shoulder to shoulder with Bob Baffert, D. Wayne Lukas, and Nick Zito, saddling longshot Magic Weisner in the 127th Preakness Stakes.

Intimidated, Alberts will not be.

"That doesn't bother me because I like my horse," Alberts said outside her Laurel Park barn Wednesday morning. "It's going to be fun."

Alberts has certainly had fun this past week, doing countless interviews. A native of Westchester, Pa., Alberts worked more than 30 years for trainer James P. Simpson and was the groom for Cormorant when he finished fourth to Seattle Slew in the 1977 Preakness.

"I'm taking it as it comes and enjoying it," Albert said of the attention. "You don't get popular very often, right?

Alberts began training on her own in 1993 and maintains a small stable - she currently has five horses - and breeds most of her own stock. She is not only the trainer of Magic Weisner, Alberts is also the breeder, owner and - before breaking her shoulder in late March - the exercise rider.

Although Magic Weisner figures to be one of the longest shots on the board, he earned his Preakness ticket with four stakes victories and is one of just two horses in the 13-horse field to have won at Pimlico. And, the fact he's made it this far shows Magic Weisner's ability to overcome long odds.

Magic Weisner, named for the doctor who helped save the gelding's life when he was a foal, is the second foal from the mare Jazema. Alberts purchased Jazema from owner Ahmad Foustock, who did not think the filly would make it to the races after she was slow to recover from surgery to correct a conformation problem.

Alberts persevered and eventually brought Jazema to the races in 1991. She had a long career, winning 14 races from 68 starts and earning $83,199. When King Leatherbury claimed Jazema, Alberts claimed her back. When Penn National-based trainer William Ecker claimed Jazema, Alberts attempted to claim her back, but the night she went to Penn National, Jazema was scratched.

"I left a note with the trainer that had her, and a year late he called me and was going to sell her," Alberts said. "I bought her for $1,500."

Alberts said she chose to breed Jazema to Ameri Valay because she noticed how the two interacted when they were stabled next to each other in Leatherbury's barn. Ameri Valay, a multiple stakes winner, went 16-10-10 from 68 starts, and earned $742,779.

"He was so tough and so sound and Jazema had a big heart and no legs, I thought the combination had to click," Alberts said.

Three months after he was foaled, Magic Weisner had an infection that threatened his life. Alberts said Dr. Alan Wisner, of the Green Glen Equine Center in Pennsylvania, treated the foal, which is why she named him Magic Weisner. (Alberts said she couldn't account for the misspelling of Wisner's last name on the foal papers.)

"He saved him, but said he didn't know if he'd ever be a racehorse," Alberts said.

Magic Weisner debuted last summer and did not make much of an impression in two sprints. But, when Alberts stretched him out, Magic Weisner won his maiden by 8 1/2 lengths.

"From then on, it was all good," Alberts said. "Every time he won, he won easier. Even though we haven't been in a graded stakes, I don't think we're going to be outclassed."

After finishing second in his first allowance race, Magic Weisner went on a five-race winning streak that included three Maryland-bred stakes and the Private Terms. Magic Weisner finished second in the Federico Tesio, a result Alberts blames on the ride of Phil Teator, who is being replaced in the Preakness. Though Alberts did not name a rider at entry time, she said she would probably choose Richard Migliore.

Alberts said she would like to see Magic Weisner close to the pace in the Preakness. She believes, with the right trip, Magic Weisner can have an impact on the race, and perhaps make Weisner the first female to win the Preakness.

"Wouldn't it be fun to win it and go down in history?" Alberts said.

It doesn't cost anything to dream.