04/17/2002 11:00PM

Tesio could launch 'Weisner'


Nancy Alberts isn't caught up in Derby fever.

But Alberts, the trainer of Magic Weisner, the likely favorite in Saturday's $125,000 Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico, is up for giving the Preakness a whirl.

Magic Weisner, a winner of his last five races at Laurel Park, including four stakes, could earn a berth to the May 18 Preakness, depending upon his performance in the 1 1/8-mile Tesio, which drew six runners.

The Tesio, one of five stakes on the 10-race card, will be run as the eighth race and will be followed by the $100,000 Jennings, in which Include makes his 2002 debut. The Tesio will be shown on tape-delay during an ESPN2 telecast that also features Keeneland's Lexington Stakes, from 6 to 7 p.m. Eastern.

Alberts, who bred and owns Magic Weisner, said she has been trying to keep her colt on a three-to four-week racing schedule, which would put him on target for the Preakness.

"I've been trying to stay where the races are easy for him because he's not a great big, strapping horse," Albert said in a national teleconference earlier this week. "He's got a big heart, and he wants to run."

There are several factors in Magic Weisner's favor in the Tesio. He is the only horse who has been tested over the Pimlico surface and, with the exception of The Sewickley Kid, the only runner to have navigated the Tesio's distance. Magic Weisner is 2 for 2 at 1 1/8 miles.

Magic Weisner, who will be ridden by Phil Teator, won his maiden by 8 1/2 lengths at Pimlico last year.

Magic Weisner meets a couple of new challengers in the Tesio. Heir D' Twine and Smoked Em, a pair of New York shippers, are both winners around two turns. Heir D' Twine was a well-beaten fourth in the Gotham in his last start. Smoked Em, in his last start, finished third as the favorite in an allowance race that Heir D' Twine won.

- The $75,000 Caesar's Wish gets Saturday's stakes action rolling. The likely favorite is Touch Love, last year's champion 2-year-old filly in Maryland. Touch Love faces five other 3-year-old Maryland-bred fillies in the 1 1/16-mile Caesar's Wish.

- Case of the Blues and Your Out are the top contenders in the $100,000 Geisha Handicap, which drew 10 fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles.

- Seven 3-year-olds entered the $60,000 Star de Naskra Stakes at six furlongs. The top threats are No Pressure and Private Opening.