03/19/2002 1:00AM

Blondaway back to main track

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The last time Manny Azpurua switched Blondaway from the turf to the main track he was rewarded with a one-length victory in Calder's Cherokee Frolic Stakes. Azpurua will use the same tactic again with Blondaway, this time against second-level optional claiming company in Thursday's $36,000 feature. The nine-race program also includes the meet's first 2-year-old race.

Blondaway had made four consecutive starts on grass against stakes company when she moved to the main track for her 3-year-old finale. She responded by rallying from just off the pace to win by a length. After a couple of poor tries at the beginning of the year on dirt, Blondaway returned to the turf, where she finished fourth and sixth against mid-priced claiming company.

Blondaway, who already has a victory over the Gulfstream Park main track, should be able to sit a stalking trip, just off the likely pace of Regal Countess and perhaps Me Gotta Go.

Regal Countess steps up in company after registering a wire-to-wire, three-length victory over $40,000 claiming foes in her 2002 debut. The win was all the more impressive considering she was the only horse with a front-running victory on the Feb. 17 card. Claimed for $25,000 by owner-trainer Alan Iwinski out of her 2001 finale at Calder, Regal Countess will be dangerous again if allowed to relax on the lead.

The class of the field is Southern Fiction, who has been stakes placed on three occasions, including last year's Grade 3 Tampa Oaks. A homebred daughter of Brocco, Southern Fiction comes off a one-length win over Banderia under preliminary allowance conditions here on Jan. 24. Banderia flattered that performance by returning 17 days later to easily defeat similar competition and will be back to challenge Southern Fiction once again on Thursday.

Fafnir and Princess Paleface round out the starting lineup.

- A field of seven juveniles - five colts and two fillies - will go three furlongs in the opening race on Thursday. Since 2-year-olds were not allowed on the grounds at Gulfstream until earlier this week, all seven members of the lineup have trained up to the race on the farms of Ocala. Sweet Promises, an End Sweep colt, will break from the rail and may be the horse to beat for trainer Larry Pilotti.

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