Octave, whose timing could have been better in terms of her standing within her own barn, much less the three-year-old filly division, won her second consecutive Grade 1 of the session yesterday, a small footnote given stablemate Rags To Riches 102-yearold historical achievement earlier in the meet.

Both fillies are now on a collision course as each is being considered for Saratogas storied Alabama Stakes, although one of them should run in the Travers. But more on that later. Were just glad the Belmont winner has gotten over the sniffles and is back in training full time.

The effort by Johnny Velazquez was a thing of beauty on the Pletcher favorite at Belmont Saturday. He simply didnt allow lone speedster Folk to get away, then timed Octaves winning move perfectly, opening just enough ground to hold off Lears Princess late.

And wasnt Lears Princess good in her real dirt debut? She has a lot of quality but probably will prove better on grass. At least now her connections know they have options.

Folk was good, too. While she had to work just a tad to secure a clear lead, she battled back gamely despite making her first start in four months and while going a mile and a quarter for the first time.

It was Octaves stablemate, however, that made this Belmont meet memorable: First the stumbling start and brilliant recovery by filly and rider. Then her trip. Its one thing to like it out there in the clear; its quite another to fire wider off the turn and widest into the stretch before withstanding the resurgence of a brilliant classic winner.

It makes you wonder whether Rags To Riches might be the best three-year-old in the country over any distance. Her pedigree was her edge in the Belmont, no question. But her talent and obvious class make her, to use a much overused and abused description, something truly special.

At this point, it cant only be about the money for her connections. The career of Rags To Riches, in the recent past, present and future, is now about historical context every time she races. Anything less would do the filly a disservice.