03/10/2006 12:00AM

Extra sixteenth aids Up an Octave

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The rubber match between Up an Octave and Mr. Silver in Sunday's $100,000 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park might come down to a matter of distance.

Trainer Todd Pletcher likes the 1 1/8 miles of the Palm Beach for the stretch-running Up an Octave, while his colleague Eddie Plesa Jr. is a bit wary of the extra ground his speedy Mr. Silver must negotiate for the first time in three meetings with Up an Octave.

finishing second behind Can't Beat It while Up An Octave rallied to finish another half-length back in third.

Both of those races were at 1 1/16 miles.

"My horse is doing well, but the distance on Sunday worries me a little," said Plesa, who trains Mr. Silver for the Thorobeam Farm and Henry Mast. "But the turf course over at Gulfstream has been very hard and fast lately, and hopefully that might help us carry our speed a little farther."

Pletcher was pleased with Up an Octave's performance in the Hallandale Beach, especially since his colt's chances were compromised by a slow start.

"I thought he ran well last time," Pletcher said. "He finished with interest, and hopefully he'll break better and not be too far out of it on Sunday. I'd like to see him racing in stalking-type position."

John Velazquez will be aboard Up an Octave for the first time in the Palm Beach, while Cornelio Velasquez retains the assignment aboard Mr. Silver.

A field of eight 3-year-old is entered in the Grade 3 Palm Beach. The others are Lord of Midnight, Diabolical, Go Between, Devil's Preacher, Lewis Michael, and Music From Heaven.

has not started since finishing a distant second behind the undefeated Barbaro while making his turf debut in the Laurel Futurity on Nov. 19. He was also second in the Grade 3 Sapling and third in the Grade 3 Nashua on dirt.

"I thought he ran a creditable race first time on turf, considering he lost substantial ground breaking out of the 13-hole," said Diabolical's trainer, Steve Klesaris.