Opening day at Laurel could feature return of Magic Weisner

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The return of Magic Weisner and King Leatherbury's pursuit of his 6,000th win could highlight an unusually spicy opening day at Laurel Park. Racing returns Thursday to the Maryland track after a six-week break for competition at Colonial Downs.

Leatherbury, 70, is two wins shy of becoming the third trainer to win 6,000 races. Dale Baird and Jack Van Berg are the others. Leatherbury, who saddled his first winner in 1959, has 51 training titles at Pimlico and Laurel Park.

"What can I say? We've been grinding down to it one by one," Leatherbury said. "It's important for me to reach the milestone in Maryland."

Opening day at Laurel also could mark the return of Magic Weisner, last year's Preakness runner-up who nearly died of West Nile virus. Nancy Alberts, his owner, trainer, breeder and exercise rider, plans to enter him in a race on Thursday. She says her goal is to have him primed for the Maryland Million Classic on Oct. 11 at Laurel.

"He's getting better," Alberts said. "He hasn't worked as good as he did before, but he feels as good. It's time to get a race into him."

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