05/07/2007 11:00PM

Go West Madam has speed to ride bias


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Two weeks into the spring-summer meet at Hollywood Park, handicappers and horsemen continue to struggle with the fluctuating nuances of Cushion Track.

Although the new surface is widely perceived to be bias-free, it has become increasingly favorable to front-runners in six-furlong races and the inside at all distances. The shifting profile may directly influence the race-7 feature Thursday, a first-level allowance for

3-year-old fillies at six furlongs.

Go West Madam is stepping up in class after a fast, 6 1/4-length romp in a $62,500 claiming race on dirt at Santa Anita. Barring a radical change in Cushion Track, the 3-for-6 filly looks tough right back in her first start at Hollywood.

"Fortunately, she has speed," trainer Jeff Mullins said. "I think what it boils down to is how they handle the track."

The second week of the meet, speed horses handled it best. Seven of the 13 races at six furlongs were won by horses positioned within a half-length of the lead after the opening quarter-mile. Many winners raced inside.

Go West Madam has never started at Hollywood, but jockey Michael Baze worked her on Cushion Track and said, "She's quick. She just glided right over it."

Go West Madam began her career at Hawthorne in Chicago, where she won 1 of 3 before joining Mullins in California. She won a maiden-40 starter allowance, tired going two turns next out, then rebounded in an April 6 sprint with a fast-paced claiming win. She earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 88.

A main rival for Go West Madam is Kitten Exchange, who may not be as good as the Beyer Figure of 95 she earned last out. Kitten Exchange pressed a slow pace in that four-horse race, and finished second. Her figure was a

19-point improvement over her debut win. Third-place finisher Cheyenne Queen improved 14 points higher over her previous best. The race may not be as good as the number.

Queen Ofthe Castle can win if the pace collapses. She tired second out, after which trainer Howard Zucker changed her style. "We

re-schooled her in the morning," he said. "She showed she wanted to come from out of it."

Taken off the pace in her third start, on Mayo18, Queen Ofthe Castle beat maidens by a length.