12/12/2001 1:00AM

Break at Mountaineer benefits sprinter


The three-week break in the action at Mountaineer Park might prove most beneficial to sprinter Jeanies Rob.

Normally, Mountaineer schedules prep races two weeks before its stakes. But with no live racing from Dec. 4 through Christmas Day, the six-furlong allowance prep for the $55,000 Christmas Handicap on Dec. 26 was held Dec. 3.

Jeanies Rob, a 5-year-old based at Thistledown with trainer Alan Sobol, won the prep, but usually prefers five weeks between starts. The 23-day window might be enough for Jeanies Rob, winner of the Mountain State Handicap at this track in July, to compete.

If Jeanies Rob goes in the Christmas, his chief challenger should be 9-year-old Holdin All Cards, who was beaten just three-quarters of a length by Jeanies Rob in his return to Mountaineer after a stint racing in Kentucky and Illinois. Last winter, Holdin All Cards reeled of five wins in a row at this track.

* Marciann's best Beyer Speed Figure this season was a 73, nearly 20 points slower than Scioto Bootski ran in her most recent win at Beulah Park. But Marciann jumped up to a career-best 86 Beyer to win a six-furlong allowance prep Dec. 4 for the $55,000 New Year's Eve Handicap for fillies and mares.

Trained by Tracey Wisner, the 4-year-old Marciann has now won 11 of 16 lifetime starts.

Scioto Bootski, who had won 5 of 7 lifetime starts coming into the prep race, finished third and returned lame as the even-money favorite.

* Making the most of his soon-to-expire eligibility, Runto the Mountain led wire-to-wire to win a 5 1/2-furlong starter allowance Dec. 3. Over the past two seasons since qualifying for the series restricted to horses which have started for a claiming price of $4,000 or less, the 6-year-old Runto the Mountain has won 10 starter allowance races. Come Jan. 1, he is no longer eligible for the series.

* Dale Baird has all but mathematically clinched the leading trainer title for the fall meet with 35 wins, 14 more than runner-up Don Roberson. Gary Johnson, who ended Baird's long-time reign as top trainer during the summer meet, has scaled back his operation at Mountaineer and has dropped out of the top five in the standings.