Freud filly Sport Model hangs tough in NYSS Cupecoy’s Joy

Saturday, June 19th, 2021

Sport Model racks up another stakes win for Freud in Cupecoy’s Joy division of NYSS Saturday at Belmont Park. NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

Sport Model couldn’t catch a break in her first two starts.

The 3-year-old daughter of Freud caught a sloppy track on the dirt in late February and finished 11th in a field of 12 New York-bred maidens. Two months later in her turf debut against 11 others at 5-2 odds, Sport Model clipped heels, lost her rider and caused a three-horse pile-up in a state-bred maiden claimer.

Since then, including Saturday’s Cupecoy’s Joy division of the New York Stallion Stakes at Belmont Park, Sport Model has done everything right. She won a 6-furlong state-bred turf maiden for a $40,000 tag May 7 and came back Saturday to win the $150,000 Cupecoy’s Joy to add another highlight bullet to her sire’s flush resume.

Sport Model edged Funwhileitlasted by a half-length in the 7-furlong Cupecoy’s Joy under Luis Saez for trainer Christophe Clement and owners Reeves Thoroughbred Racing. Shaker Shack, the pacesetter hounded most of the trip by the eventual winner, held second by 1 ½ lengths over Shesadirtydancer with the 5-2 favorite Ava’s Grace ninth of 10. Sport Model won over the firm Widener Turf Course in 1:21.16.

“Luis gave her a great ride,” Clement said. “He was always very comfortable and she was the best horse today, which is nice.”

Saez, aboard Sport Model for the first time after Eric Cancel, Junior Alvarado and Trevor McCarthy rode the filly in her first three starts, also came away impressed.

“She’s progressing,” he said. “She was very good today. I needed the pony going out because she’s so strong. I knew I had a lot of horse and when we got to the top of the stretch, she just took off. She was battling. When she felt the pressure coming, she gave me another gear.”

Sport Model and Saze set up shop just off the pace of Shaker Shack in the early stages and were just a half-length back through the opening quarter-mile in :23.22. Ava’s Grace, making her turf debut off a second in the Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes in early April at Oaklawn Park, Sport Model’s stablemate Proper Grammar and Big Time Lady, chased the top two up the backstretch while Shaker Shack made the bend and ran past the half in :46.15 with a 1-length lead.

Sport Model holds off Funwhileitlasted to win the Cupecoy’s Joy. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo.

Sport Model took over after the field turned for home and opened up a 2-length lead past 6 furlongs in 1:09.29. Saez stayed busy on Sport Model in deep stretch while Funwhileitlasted, a daughter of War Dancer who shipped in from Monmouth Park for Kent Sweezey, ran on well to finish second.

“I liked both fillies going in, but obviously one was very disappointing and the other ran very well,” Clement said of the winner and last-place finisher Proper Grammar.

Bred by Mr. and Mrs. James P. Curran and Dr. and Mrs. John McDermott and foaled at Emerald Isle Farm in Hebron, Sport Model is the fourth foal out of the winning Rockport Harbor mare Just Say Hey.

Jonathan Thorne purchased the filly as a weanling for $70,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga fall mixed sale, not long after Just Say Hey’s second foal, the Twirling Candy filly Twirling Devon, won her debut and finished second in the Barbara Shinpoch Stakes at Emerald Downs. Thorne resold the Sport Model through his Thorndale Farm consignment for $100,000 to Dean and Patti Reeves’ Reeves Thoroughbred Racing at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred yearling sale.

Just Say Hey, who won three of 17 starts with three seconds and $46,784, was purchased in foal to Wicked Strong by Christopher Shelli, agent, for $14,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. She later produced her third foal and a filly by that sire, the New York-bred Boston Girl. Just Say Hey is also the dam of a 2-year-old Mohaymen filly named Sterling Mistress.

Sport Model is the second stakes winner in 2021 and 68th overall for Freud, a 23-year-old son of Storm Cat who stands for $5,000 at Sequel Stallions New York in Hudson. A multiple leader on New York’s general sires list, Freud came into Saturday ranked third with $866,361 in progeny earnings. He’ll be represented in 2021 by a crop of 46 2-year-olds, including one that has already started in Market Dynamics.

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