07/23/2003 11:00PM

Magic Weisner last in return


In his first start in nearly 12 months, Magic Weisner finished last in a six-horse field in an optional claimer at Laurel Park on opening day of the summer meet Thursday.

Last year, Magic Weisner finished second in the Preakness at 45-1. After finishing second in the Haskell, he contracted West Nile virus and spent several months recuperating at an equine clinic in Pennsylvania.

In his return, Magic Weisner, the 6-5 favorite, trailed the field throughout the seven-furlong race after a slow break. He was beaten 21 lengths by the winner, Inner Harbour ($4.60).

"There's nothing wrong with him," said Magic Weisner's owner and trainer, Nancy Alberts. "He just couldn't get it in gear. . . . His rear end is still weak, and it looks like we'll just have to go back and give him some more time."

* In the opening-day feature, River Cruise won the $72,750 Twixt Stakes by seven lengths. Coquettish, the 4-5 favorite in the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, was second, 6 1/4 lengths in front of Grace Bay. Trained by Murray Lawrence, River Cruise ($7) ran the distance in a sharp 1:48.41 on a fast track.