06/28/2007 12:00AM

Octave aims to take one step up


ELMONT, N.Y. - Octave hopes to end one trend while continuing another when she runs in Saturday's Grade 1, $250,000 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park.

Since winning the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga last August, Octave has finished second in five consecutive graded stakes, including four Grade 1 events. Most recently, she was beaten 4 1/4 lengths by Rags to Riches in the Kentucky Oaks, a race that has produced five next-out stakes winners, including Rags to Riches's historic victory in the Belmont Stakes.

Other horses coming out of the Kentucky Oaks to win stakes include Dreaming of Anna (Double Delta), Tough Tiz's Sis (Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks), Cotton Blossom (Acorn), and Sealy Hill (Woodbine Oaks).

Octave, a daughter of Unbridled's Song, will face only three rivals in the Mother Goose, run at 1 1/8 miles. The Mother Goose, which goes as race 8, shares billing with the Grade 1 Suburban for older males at 1 1/4 miles on the 10-race card.

The last time Octave raced at Belmont Park, she finished in a dead heat for second with stablemate Featherbed as both were a head behind Meadow Breeze. In each of her races, Octave has come with her usual late run, but has simply found one horse better.

"She's doing very well," said trainer Todd Pletcher, whose filly will break from the rail under John Velazquez. "She always consistently runs hard so I would expect her to show up and run her 'A' race."

Lady Joanne and Boca Grande provide the major competition Saturday.

Lady Joanne, trained by Carl Nafzger, has won three consecutive starts, including both of her races this year. After winning the Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill last fall, Lady Joanne shipped to south Florida, where Nafzger said she took a while to come around.

"Just like the colt," Nafzger said, referring to Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense. "They weren't doing good. They ran enough. She's a big filly and we had to wait on her."

After running six furlongs in 1:09.30 to win a second-level allowance race May 1, Lady Joanne overcame a slow start to run down High Again in the Grade 3 Dogwood. Calvin Borel, who rode Lady Joanne the last two times, has the call from post 3. If she breaks better than she has in her first two starts, Lady Joanne could be part of the early pace along with Bold Assurance.

Boca Grande won the Grade 2 Comely while in close attendance to the pace. She finished a well-beaten fourth in the Acorn while moving into the teeth of a hot pace, according to trainer Shug McGaughey.

"If there's no pace she won't be that far back," said McGaughey. "I just want him to let her get into the flow of the race and see what happens."

Trainer Mark Hennig entered Bold Assurance after learning that Pleasant Rhapsody was not entered due to an illness.