06/01/2007 12:00AM

Hystericalady a single in Milady


LEXINGTON, Ky. - If you are having trouble choosing among the contenders in the 1 1/16-mile, Grade 2 Milady Handicap at Hollywood on Sunday, you might want to take a look at the recent Cushion Track results at that venue. During the six racing cards from May 25 through Thursday, a healthy 29 percent of the first-call leaders won their races. A check of the 1 1/16-mile races shows 3 wins from 9 starts, a 33 percent win rate.

Who stands to benefit most from this trend in the Milady? Hystericalady led early in both of her races at this distance and was only a head behind at the first call going a mile. She has more natural speed than her opponents and should be difficult to catch if the fractions are moderate. Even if someone chooses to keep Hystericalady honest during the early going, she doesn't necessarily have to have the early lead to win.

Hystericalady was an impressive winner of the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill going seven furlongs on Kentucky Derby Day, with a 108 Beyer Speed Figure. Judging by her 7 1/2-length win going 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood last year, the added distance should not be a problem. Her 1:00.40 work at Hollywood suggests that she should be able to handle the move to Cushion Track.

Balance appears to be the primary threat. She won the Grade 2 La Canada at Santa Anita two races ago, then beat Grade 1 foes in the Santa Margarita. The concerns are that she has been on the sidelines for nearly three months, and that she has run her best recent races from off the pace. Balance would have to leave her comfort zone to press Hystericalady early, and would probably dilute her late kick if she does.

Nashoba's Key is a perfect 3 for 3, but those wins were all on turf, a surface on which she was bred to excel. The surface switch might cause her to regress in a situation where improvement will be needed, as she steps up in class and moves from California-bred to open company.

Cantabria finished second here as the favorite in the Grade 3 Hawthorne, but didn't run very fast while earning an 87 Beyer.

I'll bet Hystericalady to win, and will single her in all of the pick three races she's in. I'll play a pick three starting with race 1 on the card, using Bold Chieftain, Corazondelcampeon, and Gotaghostofachance. I'll take Flower Fusion, Robot Woman, After Curfew, Stellina, and Nushka Babee in race 2. Hystericalady is a single in the Milady, which is race 3. That is 15 $1 bets.

Bettors looking to play a pick three starting with race 2 should bet the second and third races as described above, with Company Secret, Wicket Wager, and St Wager in race 4. That ticket will also cost $15 for a $1 bet.

The last pick three ticket begins with the single of Hystericalady in race 3, continues with Company Secret, Wicket Wager, and St Wager in race 4, and ends with More Shine, Vice Admiral, Frank the Barber, Monte Bajo, and World News in race 5. This ticket also costs $15 on a $1 bet.