09/12/2007 11:00PM

Matron a proving ground

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - All of the fillies in the Grade 2, $250,000 Matron Stakes Saturday at Belmont face an important class test in the seven-furlong race for 2-year-olds.

Trainer Dallas Stewart is optimistic Syriana's Song can meet the challenge following two impressive five-furlong races in Saratoga.

"I'm pretty confident she's got the ability and the talent," Stewart said. "How far does she want to go? We'll have to run her and find out."

Syriana's Song debuted on Aug. 2, setting the pace before finishing second to Irish Smoke, who returned to capture Saratoga's Grade 1 Spinaway in her next start.

Syriana's Song cracked the win column in her second attempt on Aug. 22, a pacesetting victory that earned her a Beyer Speed Figure of 96.

"She ran a tremendous race and galloped out good," Stewart. "She's been great right from the start. Knock on wood, she's never had a bad day, no shin problems. She's got a real good attitude, a very kind filly to be around."

Syriana's Song remained at Saratoga after the meet concluded on Labor Day and arrived at Belmont this week, galloping over the track on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

John Velazquez was named to ride from post 2.

Dagger also will be making her third start, following two races at Monmouth Park. She won her maiden last time out on Aug. 18, a hard-fought victory in which she battled for the early lead and dug in to hold off a late challenge.

"She's a nice filly who ran a real hard race last time," said trainer Jim Ryerson."She was pressured early and fought off a late run from another horse. It looked like she was beat, but she was game."

Stewart Elliott has the return call.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin sends out an uncoupled pair: Armonk, a maiden, and Sabooh, a winner at seven furlongs at Saratoga last time out.

"She wants to run as far as they write the races, and this is as far as they're writing this one," McLaughlin said. "She's a very nice filly."

And a very well-bred one.

Sabooh is out of the dam Smolensk, a half-sister to Better Than Honour, the dam of Belmont Stakes winners Rags to Riches and Jazil. Both Rags to Riches and Sabooh are sired by A.P. Indy.

Larry Jones, Hard Spun's trainer sends out another uncoupled duo: Proud Spell and Maren's Meadow.

Ellis Park stakes winner Miss Red Delicious completes the field.

- additional reporting by David Grening