09/12/2007 11:00PM

Proud Spell has right style for Matron

EmailLOUISVILLE, Ky. - Just six weeks before the Oct. 26-27 Breeders' Cup, the 2-year-old filly division is up for grabs. Spinaway winner Irish Smoke might rank as the leader for division honors at this point, with Set Play, winner of the Del Mar Debutante, being one of the other notable names in contention.

But come Saturday, my guess is that we will be talking about another juvenile filly to watch - the winner of the Grade 2 Matron at Belmont Park. And if my analysis is correct, that winner will be Proud Spell.

Proud Spell, a winner of each of her two starts, is not a well-known name, at least nationally. But that is largely because she raced this summer at Delaware Park, not at Saratoga or Del Mar.

What she did at Delaware Park for trainer Larry Jones was striking. Racing first time out July 30, she gamely outran stablemate Sheriff's Choice to win by a half-length. Less than a month later, she returned to win an overnight stakes on Aug. 25 there by five lengths under regular rider Gabriel Saez.

Improving with experience and the addition of Lasix, she ran much faster than in her debut, rating off blistering fractions of 21.64 and 44.43 seconds in the six-furlong race, and then kicking clear from the opposition to complete six furlongs in 1:09.15. The performance earned her a 95 Beyer Speed Figure, up from the 76 she posted in her July 30 debut.

Beyond the time she displayed in winning that race, the rating ability she displayed in both starts suggests she is poised for a winning race in the Matron. Unlike some of her speed-burning opponents, such as Syriana's Song, she is proven running from a few lengths off the pace.

A daughter of Proud Citizen, she looks like the type that should benefit from being stretched out in distance. Proud Citizen, horseplayers may recall, won the 1 1/16-mile Lexington in 2002 before running second to War Emblem in the Kentucky Derby that year.

My hope is that by coming from Delaware and off a slow half-mile breeze in 52.20 seconds, bettors will not pounce on her, despite the fact that she is one of just two stakes winners in the seven-horse field.

Super Frolic finds good spot

It is difficult to find a horse better suited to a race Saturday than Super Frolic is to the Presque Isle Mile.

A graded stakes winner of more than $1.4 million, he would likely be carrying high weight if the race were a handicap. But it's not. Under the conditions of the race, Super Frolic gets in at 110 pounds - receiving weight breaks of between nine to 12 pounds from his chief opponents.

He is also the fastest horse in the race, having posted Beyers of 100 or higher in four of his last seven starts. None of his six rivals displays better than a 98 Beyer in their past performances, which cover their last 12 starts.

Super Frolic is not without faults. He has not won since taking the Hawthorne Gold Cup in the fall of 2005, a streak of 11 straight losses. He has never raced over a synthetic surface, either - making him an unknown over the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle.

He does show two recent works over the Polytrack at Arlington Park, however - and his presence in the Presque Isle Mile would suggest he handled the synthetic surface satisfactorily.

St. Hildegard capable off drop

Lastly, St. Hildegard is the play of the Pleasant Temper Stakes at Kentucky Downs - one of the deepest and most competitive stakes from across the country Saturday.

Outclassed in finishing a distant fourth behind Quite a Bride in the $100,000 Ellis Park Breeders' Cup Turf, she should appreciate a class drop into the $45,000 Pleasant Temper. Excluding her last race, she consistently posts Beyers in the mid to upper 80s - numbers that suggest she has a great opportunity to pick up the first black type of her career.