09/15/2007 12:00AM

'Spell' stays perfect with Matron win

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - Proud Spell stretched her unbeaten streak to three and moved squarely into the 2-year-old filly divisional picture with an impressive victory Saturday in the Grade 2, $250,000 Matron Stakes at Belmont Park.

Bred and owned by former Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones, Proud Spell was fifth between rivals in the early stages of the seven-furlong Matron before swinging widest of all for the stretch run.

Needing only two cracks of Gabriel Saez's whip, Proud Spell pulled away to a 4 1/4-length victory over Armonk, with Dagger, the longest shot in the field at 32-1, third. The win was Saez's first in a graded stakes.

Proud Spell was timed in 1:24.20 over a fast track. So far, Proud Spell shows no distance limitations. She won at five and six furlongs at Delaware Park before making her graded stakes debut in the Matron.

Proud Spell ($5.40) was one of two fillies in the race trained by Larry Jones. Maren's Meadow finished fourth as a separate betting interest.

Jones was unable to savor the victory in person. He watched the race at the Keeneland yearling sales, while wife ,Cindy, saddled both runners.

They shared a brief, but happy, moment on the cell phone after the race.

"I kept hearing him say 'thank you, thank you' as people came by to congratulate him," Cindy Jones said. "He hated not being here."

It will take a lot to keep Jones from the filly's next start: the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27.

"She's come home pretty quick in every race she's been in," Jones said from Kentucky. "Most of the time, it's under a hand ride. We really haven't had to ask her to do a lot. More than likely, the Breeders' Cup will be her very next start. We'll probably train straight to that from here.

"We were able to bring her along the way we started out Hard Spun, with a natural progression of distances without having to make a big jump. With her running style, we're sure not expecting two turns to be a problem."

Sabooh was fifth followed by Syriana's Song and Miss Red Delicious.