Octave Scales New Heights in CCA Oaks

Octave Scales New Heights in CCA Oaks
Photo: Coglianese Photos
Octave holds off a closing Lear's Princess to take the Coaching Club American Oaks.
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There may have been questions about Octave's winning desire after five consecutive runner-up efforts dating back to last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). But not after the quality filly made it back-to-back grade I victories Saturday in the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) (VIDEO) for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park.

Octave has now won the first two legs of the Triple Tiara, a three-race grade I series for sophomore fillies in New York. The final leg is the Alabama at Saratoga on Aug. 18.

Trained by who else -- Todd Pletcher -- for owners Starlight Stables and Donald J. Lucarelli, jockey John Velazquez had the 1-2 favorite Octave sitting a perfect trip just off the flank of pacesetting Folk on the outside. The gray filly ground her way to the lead in the final furlong and under steady urging through a long drive, put away Folk while holding off an erratic Lear's Princess, who drifted in late, to win by a half-length. The final time for the 1 1/4-mile main track test was 2:02.

“It turned out to be a great race," said Pletcher via phone from Chicago. "This filly’s been a gem of consistency. Back-to-back grade I wins three weeks a part is huge. 

"To win the Mother Goose and come back three weeks later in the Coaching Club at a mile and a quarter is a real nice accomplishment. She’s had a great career.  I thought Johnny rode her perfectly. He didn’t let Folk get away too easy, but he kept her fresh enough to hold off Lear’s Princess. We’ll keep our options open with her. I’m not sure where she’ll go next.”

Folk, hustled to the front after breaking a little slowly on the turn from the extreme outside post in the field of seven, ran with her head high for the opening quarter mile to get the lead in :23 4/5, then tried to slow it down under Mike Luzzi, getting a half-mile in :48 and three quarters in 1:12 1/5. Octave was never in a hurry to challenge but kept up enough pressure on the front-runner. Racing on the inside after being challenged by Octave, Folk kept fighting before giving way in deep stretch. Lear's Princess appeared to have every chance while bidding on the extreme outside for Eibar Coa but ducked in late and didn't get corrected until too late.

"She ran so many races and she had tough beats," Velazquez said of the winner. "But now, she’s figured it out and she’s won twice. She runs her heart out each time. When she gets to the front, she tends to wait on other horses. But I know she won’t let them by.”

"In the last 100 yards, I thought I had a chance to win because that is when she got it all together.” Coa said.

Folk was three parts of a length farther back in third.

Octave, a daughter of Unbridled's Song--Belle Nuit (Dr. Carter), won the 1 1/8-mile Mother Goose (gr. I) over the course June 30, ending a long string of second-place showings, including the Ashland (gr. I) and Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) this spring. She was freshened by Pletcher after finishing 4 1/4 lengths behind Rags to Riches in the Oaks May 4, laying off for nearly two months before her win in the Mother Goose. Never worse than second in 10 starts, with four wins, she has banked $1,227,934.

Mr. and Mrs. Martin Wygod bred Octave, a $350,000 Keeneland yearling, in Kentucky.

She paid $3, $2.10 and $2.10.

Lear's Princess, jumping from a turf win while making her fourth lifetime start for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, returned $3.30 and $2.50.

“Our filly ran a great race," McLaughlin said. "Maybe we’ll have to look at the Alabama now.”

Godolphin's Folk, who had raced in the United Arab Emirates this year, was $2.50 to show as the second choice in her return stateside.

Humble Janet, Wow Me Free, Coy Coyote and Rosie's Attitude followed.

(Chart, Equibase)

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