05/04/2011 3:23PM

Maryland trainer Nancy Alberts dies at 65

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Nancy Alberts was best known for finishing second in the 2002 Preakness with a horse she owned, trained, bred, and exercised, Magic Weisner.

Nancy Alberts, 65, best known as the trainer, owner, breeder, and exercise rider for 2002 Preakness Stakes runner-up Magic Weisner, died late Tuesday night at Georgetown Medical Center, where she had been hospitalized since suffering a stroke on April 17.

Alberts was one of just 13 female trainers ever to start a horse in the Preakness. Her horse Magic Weisner, a Maryland-bred gelding, rallied from far back at 45-1 odds to finish three-quarters of a length behind War Emblem in the Preakness nine years ago.

Magic Weisner won three stakes races during the Laurel Park winter meet in 2002 and was a game fourth in the Belmont Stakes, his only out of the money finish all year.

After the Triple Crown campaign, Magic Weisner captured the Grade 2 Ohio Derby and was second in the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth Park. Unfortunately, he came down with West Nile virus while preparing for the Pennsylvania Derby and competed just one more time.

Alberts was named trainer of the year by the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association in 2002 and was the Honorary Postmaster for the 2003 Preakness.

During a career which began in 1976, Alberts trained 161 winners who earned $3 million. Her final runner, Ameri Weber, finished sixth on April 23 at Pimlico.

“My mother was just proud to be a horseman,” said her son, Will Alberts. “She was never star struck by being in the limelight. She was proud her horse was good enough to get her to the Preakness and then finish second. She was very humble with it and there was never anything extravagant. I think she bought a new washing machine that year. Magic’s success eventually allowed her to purchase the farm in Sykesville. She always wanted to wake up in the morning and look out a window to watch her horses and that’s what she did.”

In addition to her son, Alberts is survived by three sisters, Shirley Hickman, Linda Meister, and Wilma Reese, and one brother, David Hickman.

A celebration service will be held at 10:30 a.m. next Wednesday at Laurel Park in the International Room, located on the third floor of the clubhouse.