08/23/2006 11:00PM

Midwife finds a spot to use her speed

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ALBANY, Calif. - It has been some time since Midwife has made it to the winner's circle, but that could change in Saturday's $50,000 Marina at Golden Gate Fields.

Midwife holds a pace advantage over her five rivals in the 1 1/16-mile overnight stakes on turf for fillies and mares. That could be all the 5-year-old Midwife needs to end an eight-race losing streak.

Midwife will make her third start following a two-month layoff as she returns to her home track.

Midwife ran third in the Redondo Beach at Hollywood Park after setting the pace in her first start following the layoff. She faded to seventh in her most recent start in the Osunitas at Del Mar on Aug. 7.

"She did have pressure that day," owner-trainer Jedd Josephson said. "I was disappointed the way she ran her final sixteenth."

Although her best efforts have come on the front end, Josephson says Midwife doesn't necessarily need the lead to win.

"It would be nice if she were sitting there easy," he said. "You have to grab hold and don't let her run off early."

Midwife has met the likes of Megahertz and Moscow Burning since her last victory. Her worst effort came when she opened up by eight down the backstretch in the Grade 2 Santa Barbara last year and lost by 10 3/4 lengths.

She ran third in the Grade 3 Yerba Buena here in 2005 and seventh in this year's edition of the Yerba Buena.

Those who could provide some early pressure on Midwife include Ghurra, who is making her U.S. stakes debut for trainer Ben Cecil; the Beau Greely-trained Toupie; and Private Banking, who seems to alternate between running close early and sitting well off the pace. Private Banking has been off since coming from last to win an allowance race June 29 at Hollywood Park.

Graded stakes winner Katdogawn and Bend, runner-up in the Luther Burbank at Santa Rosa, will be sitting well back early.

Toupie was favored when she lost to Midwife by less than two lengths in the Redondo Beach.

Katdogawn has not won since the WinStar Distaff at Lone Star on May 20, 2005. She has run in only graded races since and will likely be favored.