09/13/2002 11:00PM

Magic Weisner's return delayed


Magic Weisner, the Preakness runner-up, who was diagnosed with West Nile virus on Monday, will remain at a Pennsylvania clinic for several more days instead of returning to his Maryland barn.

Magic Weisner was expected to be released from the New Bolton veterinary clinic on Thursday, but doctors at the clinic decided to keep the horse until at least Saturday because he had not made any improvements over the past couple days, according to Dr. Robert Vallance, the horse's regular veterinarian. Despite the setback, Magic Weisner is still expected to fully recover, Vallance said.

"It's just a precautionary measure," Vallance said on Friday. "They didn't want him to feel uncomfortable at all in the van for the ride back home" to Laurel Park.

Magic Weisner, who is trained and owned by his breeder, Nancy Alberts, has won seven of his 14 starts, including the Grade 2 Ohio Derby, and earned $888,110.

Blood tests performed on Magic Weisner revealed that the horse contracted West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne disease that attacks the central nervous system and is sometimes fatal. Young horses, however, normally recover from the disease because of their relatively strong immune systems. Magic Weisner's recovery is expected to last at least a month, Dr. Vallance said.