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Sport Model Uses High-Octane Finish To Win NYSSS Statue Of Liberty
Credit: NYRA

Sport Model Uses High-Octane Finish To Win NYSSS Statue Of Liberty

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Sport Model surged in deep stretch and overtook Funwhileitlasted in the final jumps for a victory by a nose in Wednesday’s $150,000 New York Stallion Stakes Series (NYSSS) Statue of Liberty at Saratoga.

The 19th running of the Statue of Liberty, for eligible Empire State-sired 3-year-old fillies going 1 mile on the inner turf, saw Sport Model best Funwhileitlasted for a second consecutive time in a NYSSS contest, with the duo also running 1-2 in the Cupecoy’s Joy on June 19 over the Belmont Park turf.

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Unlike that race, Sport Model was not as forwardly placed, with the Freud filly tracking in fifth position as Shesadirtydancer led the six-horse field through the opening 1/4-mile in 24.66 seconds and the 1/2 in 49.98 over firm going.

Sport Model, trained by Christophe Clement, remained in fifth out of the final turn but quickly picked off rivals one by one from the outside under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. in the stretch, Sport Model pressed on to bypass Show Me the Honey and bring Funwhileitlasted in her sights.

Under Ortiz Jr.’s aggressive hand ride, Sport Model continued to close the gap before collaring her rival in the shadow of the wire, completing the course in 1:37.91 for her third consecutive win overall.

“I got a perfect trip,” Ortiz Jr. said. “I broke out of there and sat on her and relaxed my filly behind some horses on the backside. I saved all the ground on the second turn and when I tipped her out, she responded very well. I wasn’t looking at the other horse. I was riding and she was running, but the last couple jumps, I looked and the other horse was still in front. I was like, ‘I don’t know,’ but she kept coming and she got there on time.”

Sport Model, the 9/5 second choice behind slight favorite Funwhileitlasted, notched her third win in five starts, returning $5.70 on a $2 win wager. After graduating at third asking in a 6-furlong state-bred maiden-claiming sprint in May over the Belmont turf and following with a 1/2-length score in the 7-furlong Cupecoy’s Joy, Sport Model aced her first test going 1 mile.

“She trained well, she looked good and she’s getting better,” said Clement, who also won the 2020 NYSSS Statue of Liberty with Fresco. “She got a very good ride from Irad. I told him before that I wanted him to relax in order to finish. She’s coming from 6 and 7 furlongs and he did a great job and switched her off.”

Sport Model was bred in New York by Mr. and Mrs. James P. Curran and Dr. and Mrs. John McDermott. She increased her career earnings to $190,050.

“You have to run where they can win,” Clement said. “It’s a New York-sired stakes, so you have to be careful and see how much improvement we get. I’m not exactly sure where she’ll go next – 7/8 to a mile, not anything further at the moment.”

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Funwhileitlasted, trained by Kent Sweezey and ridden by Jose Lezcano, hit the board for a fourth straight race, besting Byhubbyhellomoney by 1 1/4 lengths for second.

“She ran well,” Lezcano said. “I put her in the position I wanted. I wanted to be forwardly placed. My filly put in a good run, the other filly just got me right at the wire.”

Big Time Lady, Show Me the Honey, and Shesadirtydancer completed the order of finish. Exact Change scratched, as did Main Track Only entrant Shaker Shack.

Thursday will feature a 10-race card at Saratoga headlined by the $120,000 Birdstone for 4-year-olds and up going a marathon 1 3/4 miles on the main track in race 9 at 5:39 PM Eastern. First post is 1:05 PM.

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