09/20/2007 12:00AM

Octave can step into spotlight

EmailOvershadowed by her more celebrated stablemate Rags to Riches during the spring and summer, Octave has the opportunity to take center stage this fall in the 3-year-old filly division.

Octave's march to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff continues on Saturday when she heads a field of eight entered in the $750,000 Fitz Dixon Cotillion at Philadelphia Park. Octave, the 123-pound highweight, will break from the rail under John Velazquez.

This is the third straight year the purse of the Grade 2 Cotillion has been increased. It was bumped from $250,000 to $300,000 in 2005 and to $500,000 last year.

Octave, trained by Todd Pletcher, had an active summer, running in three Grade 1 races in seven weeks. She won the Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont before finishing a troubled third, 1 3/4 lengths behind Lady Joanne, in the Alabama at Saratoga.

In the Alabama, Octave tried to rally up the rail, but was shut off in deep stretch by Lady Joanne.

"The room was there, the room was closed," Velazquez said. "She's not going through there when they put her over the fence."

Octave has had five weeks to recover from the Alabama, and Pletcher feels she is doing extremely well entering the Cotillion, run at 1 1/16 miles.

"I thought her breeze was exceptionally good," said Pletcher, referring to a five-furlong move on Sunday in 1:00.41 over Belmont's main track.

Octave figures to be farther off the pace than she was in her last two races, both at 1 1/4 miles. There appears to be ample speed in this field with the likes of Bear Now, Exchanging Fire, and Moon Catcher entered. Silverinyourpocket is likely to show speed in her first start around two turns.

Talkin About Love, a New Jersey-bred daughter of Not for Love, has won all five of her starts this year, all at Monmouth Park. She successfully stretched out to 1 1/16 miles when she won the Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks in her last start.

"When she trained she always looked like she wanted to do a little more," said Kevin Sleeter, the trainer of Talkin About Love. "She looked like she wanted to go two turns. She'll have to move up a little bit more, but if she's on the board, I'd have to say yeah, I'd give the Breeders' Cup [Distaff] a shot."

Bear Now has won 3 of her last 4 starts, all on Polytrack. Mooncatcher won the Delaware Oaks on the lead but was inexplicably last early in the Alabama before finishing fourth. Humble Janet, Syd N Carly's Rose, and Exchanging Fire complete the field.