01/23/2002 12:00AM

Mountaineer Park


Handicappers should circle Saturday, Jan. 19, as a date when times were slow and speed stopped at Mountaineer Park.

Saturday's deep, tiring surface - labeled good - yielded just one front-running winner, a heavily bet invader from Turfway Park who raced unchallenged for the lead. Times were so slow that Dieago, a six-time winner last season, won a 5 1/2-furlong sprint in 1:10.04. Adjusted for the track variant, Dieago earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 65.

By Sunday, however, the track completely changed. In the first race, bottom-level nonwinners-of-two-lifetime horses ran nearly five seconds faster than Dieago did in Saturday night's last race. Five of the 10 winners led wire to wire.

* Gary Birzer rode four winners Sunday night, scoring on Great Future ($8.80), Departing Dynamo ($5.20), Black Olive ($9.60), and Resent ($8.20).

* Robert Guciardo sent out two winners Tuesday, both making their first start off long layoffs. Marja ($27) annexed a bottom claiming sprint in her first start since August at Thistledown. Pattison ($9.20), away almost nine months and, like Marja a Thistledown shipper, won a $4,000 claimer. The wins were the first of the winter meet for Guciardo, whose starters scored at a 28 percent clip at Mountaineer last year.