10/07/2004 12:00AM

Midwife headed right way


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Nine 3-year-old fillies create an interesting wagering proposition for bettors in Saturday's $55,000-added Palo Alto Handicap at Bay Meadows.

The 1 1/16-mile turf test includes the fillies who finished second (Dawn's Angel), third (Go Ask Daisy), fourth (Secret Corsage), and fifth (Crozet) in the Carmel Handicap at one mile over the turf on Sept. 12.

Stakes winners Coke's Melody and Swingn' Notes as well as stakes-placed Secret Corsage will also compete. Awesome Lady and Midwife round out the field.

With no standout in the field, Midwife, a $12,500 maiden winner, has as strong a case as Crozet, who won the Bay Meadows Oaks at this distance last spring.

Midwife, a $3,200 Ocala purchase, is the one to catch.

"She's out of a Dynaformer mare, and that's all grass," said trainer Jedd Josephson, who purchased Midwife for himself. "She's crooked, but she has a nice shoulder and girth."

Midwife showed little in her first three starts, all sprints on the main track. Stretched out to a mile in her fourth start, on Nov. 5, she won her maiden for a $12,500 tag.

"She's bred to run all day on the dam's side," Josephson said.

Midwife came out of that race with a problem that kept her sidelined until June, when she ran third in a $16,000 sprint prep. She was then fifth in a $12,500 race at one mile in July.

Josephson then decided to wait for the Bay Meadows Fair so he could try Midwife on the turf.

"I always wanted to run her on the turf, and she sure ran a big race," he said, referring to Midwife's 5 1/2-length wire-to-wire victory in a $32,000 starter allowance Aug. 13. Midwife came right back to win an allowance race, again in wire-to-wire style.

"She's a wants-to-go filly," said Josephson. "I'd like her to rate, and I think if somebody really went hard for the lead, she'd relax."

All three of her victories, however, have come in wire-to-wire style.

Josephson said he cannot fully explain the turnaround in Midwife's form, but said she is bred to be better on the grass.

"It's the bottom side, the dam," he said. "Usually, the mare's side is more dominant. She's a different filly on the turf. It's like when John Henry was introduced to turf."

Swingn' Notes, who won her maiden in her lone turf start last November, finally gets a chance to try the grass again for trainer Bud Klokstad. Since her maiden win, she has won three stakes races on dirt.