12/09/2004 1:00AM

Magic Weisner gets in work for return


Magic Weisner's promising career was short-circuited when he contracted West Nile virus in August 2002. Although veterinarians were able to save his life, Magic Weisner sustained nerve damage that weakened his hind end and made it difficult to regain his normal gait.

Following 10 months of recuperation, Magic Weisner made an initial comeback that lasted just one race, a last-place finish against allowance runners in July 2003.

The story may yet have a happy ending, however.

Magic Weisner, runner-up in the 2002 Preakness and Haskell Invitational, worked out last Saturday for the first time since last spring, breezing a half-mile in 49.80 seconds at Pimlico. It was 15th-fastest of 39 works at the distance that day.

Nancy Alberts, Magic Weisner's breeder, owner, and trainer, said the 5-year-old gelding is a long way from being ready to race. But she is optimistic Magic Weisner might be able to run competitively in early 2005.

"He's coming around," Alberts said. "He is not dragging his rear end anymore, and that is encouraging. But I don't want to get ahead of myself. It might be another six to eight weeks before he is ready to race. We are going to take it slowly."

Magic Weisner has won 7 of 15 starts and $888,830. It was a race he didn't win, however, that caused his popularity to swell among Maryland race fans.

Considered outclassed and given no chance by bettors, who sent him off at 45-1, Magic Weisner ran a huge race in the 2002 Preakness to finish second, beaten three-quarters of a length by War Emblem. He proved that was no fluke by running second in the Ohio Derby and the Haskell.

Magic Weisner went on to be named Maryland-bred horse of the year by the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.

Geisha a good spot for Silmaril

Silmaril's four-race winning streak ended when she stepped up to try graded stakes company, but she fits well against Maryland-bred competition in Saturday's $100,000 Geisha Handicap at Pimlico. The 1 1/8-mile Geisha is restricted to statebred fillies and mares.

Although Silmaril finished fifth in the Grade 3 Anne Arundel Nov. 29, her Beyer Speed Figure of 89 was nearly identical to the 90 she earned for winning the Maryland Million Oaks in her previous start.

Last February, Silmaril won the seven-furlong Jameela in her only other stakes appearance against Maryland-breds.

Another Anne Arundel also-ran, Pour It On, is capable of improvement, making her second start off a layoff and returning to the statebred ranks.

Pour It On, the winner of last year's Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, ran third in a pair of statebred races around two turns earlier this season.

Chrusciki was sharp during the summer, when she won the Lady's Secret and just missed in the Monmouth Beach, both at Monmouth Park. She returns to the main track at Pimlico, where she is 4 for 7 lifetime, for the first time since May.

Blind Canyon is eligible to improve after an extremely wide trip from post 11 led to a ninth-place finish in the Anne Arundel. A return to the form she displayed when she ran second in the Maryland Million Oaks three starts ago would make her dangerous in this spot.