03/08/2008 12:00AM

Duel a danger for Swiss Blend

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - Swiss Blend may be wheeling back quick in her second start off a four-month layoff, but trainer Angelo Tekos Jr. thinks the pace could be the biggest issue in Monday's Bay Meadows feature, a $25,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares at six furlongs.

Swiss Blend comes into the race against five rivals after recording a career-high 81 Beyer Speed Figure against allowance foes on Feb. 18 in her first start since October 2007.

"We may be coming back a little quick," said Tekos, who watched Swiss Blend open a big lead early before faltering in the lane and losing by two lengths to A P Charlie. She held second by a nose over Lucky Rylie. "Sometimes you run them back quick and do have some concerns."

But he is not overly worried about Swiss Blend.

"She came out of the race good," he said. "I had her real fit coming into the race, and she didn't come out of the race dead tired. She stayed on her grain, and she's had two works."

Smokin Danielle, who looms as Swiss Blend's main pace rival, also is making her second start off a layoff. She ran fourth on Feb. 3 in a $32,000 optional claimer, leading into the lane before faltering. She was bumped at the start in that race.

Fama Y Dinero also flashed speed in her last start, and it's the pace factor that concerns Tekos most since Swiss Blend is pretty one-dimensional, needing the lead.

"You need to get her relaxed, but the last thing you should do is try to choke her down," he said.

Tekos claimed Swiss Blend for Blue Moon Racing for $16,000 last July 19 at Del Mar. She won the race in wire-to-wire fashion and has not finished off the board in four starts for Tekos. Two of the races were wire-to-wire wins.

Swiss Blend's four-month layoff came after her second straight

victory. The day after the win, she was totally lame behind.

Tekos shipped her to Once Over Farm in nearby Morgan Hill and had chiropractor Marvin Stevinson work on her.

"I've been training 20 years, but up until five years ago, I never thought of using a chiropractor," Tekos said. "I finally sent one colt to one and couldn't believe how much good he did."

Swiss Blend responded immediately, and Tekos brought her back very slowly, not using medication.

"I went about it real cautiously," he said. "If there had been any signs of soreness, I would have stopped."

Instead, she seems to have come back better than ever.