Taken off the rail by jockey John Velazquez as the compact field made its way down the backstretch in the one turn event at nine furlongs, Octave rallied three wide on the turn and eventually got the edge over a determined Lady Joanne, who fought back in the final strides to lose by a half-length. The final time was 1:47 on a fast track.
Octave, a gray daughter of Unbridled's Song--Belle Nuit (Dr. Carter), went over the $1 million mark in career earnings.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Octave was 4 1/2 lengths behind stable mate Rags to Riches while finishing second in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) in her last start May 4. She was the bridesmaid in the Ashland (gr. I), Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and Matron (gr. I) consecutively since her last victory, which came in the Adirondack (gr. II) at Saratoga in August.
“That was a big race and she’s a deserving winner," Pletcher said. "She’s had a grade I coming for a while, so it was great for her to do it.”
Breaking from the inside post, Octave settled third as Bold Assurance, anxious to get the lead under Garrett Gomez, set a solid opening pace of :23 2/5 and :46 1/5. Octave was able to angle off the inside and continued to stalk patiently as Lady Joanne, ridden by Calvin Borel for trainer Carl Nafzger, increased the pressure on Bold Assurance. Lady Joanne grabbed the lead coming off the turn and after giving way grudgingly in the stretch, fought back along the inside to keep it tight approaching the wire.
“She ran really good," Velazquez said. "For a four-horse field, it was a solid field. I knew I was going to have to be right with (Lady Joanne) and I was hoping my horse would have enough left, which she did. I didn’t want to be too far behind to make sure I was going to put pressure on her and it worked out good for me.”
Octave, never worse than second in nine lifetime starts, won for the third time. The gray filly has earned $1,047,934 for owners Starlight Stable and Donald J. Lucarelli.
She paid $3.20 and $2.10.
Lady Joanne returned $2.60.
“She ran a hell of a race," Borel said of the runner-up. "I can’t fault her. When we turned for home, (John Velazquez) opened up a good length and a half, but my horse kept digging in and came back to her, but I can’t fault her. She ran a good race and she’ll step up to the plate next time.”
There was no show wagering. Boca Grande rallied belatedly for third, nearly eight lengths behind the runner-up, followed by Bold Assurance, 38 1/2 lengths further back.
Mr. and Mrs. Martin Wygod bred Octave, a $350,000 Keeneland yearling buy in 2005, in Kentucky.
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