07/21/2007 12:00AM

Octave scores in CCA Oaks


ELMONT, N.Y. - Following Octave's victory in last month's Grade 1 Mother Goose, owner Jack Wolf was trying to convince trainer Todd Pletcher to run the 3-year-old filly in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes next month at Saratoga.

After watching Octave win Saturday's Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park, Wolf reiterated his desire to run his filly against Rags to Riches - the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes in 102 years - in the $600,000 Alabama on Aug. 18.

"Yes we would," said Wolf, whose Starlight Stable owns Octave along with Donald Lucarelli.

Octave gave Pletcher - who is also the trainer of Rags to Riches - something to think about in the next four weeks as she won Saturday's $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks by a half-length over the previously undefeated Lear's Princess. It was three-quarters of a length to the pacesetter, Folk, in third.

Pletcher was planning to run Rags to Riches in the CCA Oaks, but called an audible when that filly developed a fever last weekend. He had been pointing Octave to the Grade 1 Test on Aug. 4, but decided to run here with Rags to Riches out.

Under John Velazquez, Octave stalked Folk through fractions of 23.91 seconds, 48.00, 1:12.25 and 1:36.47. Octave wrested the lead from Folk at the eighth pole, then held off a game Lear's Princess for the victory. Octave, who finished second to Rags to Riches in the Kentucky Oaks, covered 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.17 and returned $3.

Pletcher, who was in Chicago on Saturday, was noncommittal about Octave's next start. Wolf was the owner of Ashado, who won the 2004 CCA Oaks but who was beaten as the 3-5 favorite in the Alabama. He said he would leave the decision about Octave's next race to Pletcher, who also trained Ashado.

"If you try to second-guess this guy where he's putting horses, you're crazy," Wolf said. "If he wants to run these two against each other, Donny and I would be all for it."

One horse who may have earned a shot in the Alabama is Lear's Princess, who was making her first start on dirt after winning once on Polytrack and twice on turf. She rated well off the pace under Eibar Coa before coming with a mild bid.

"We're happy. The only thing is, Eibar said he could have been right there coasting on or close to the lead, but he got her off the pace," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "We might have to adjust how we ride her. She was still a little green switching leads, but it was her first time on dirt."