Benwill Scores Upset Victory in John Henry Stakes


John Henry S.
April 23, 2016
1 1/16 miles, Turf, for 3-Year-Olds and Upwards, $60,000

Leestown-Dynaspice, by Dynaformer
Breeder: E. O. Pickett
Owner: Royce Roberts
Trainer: Jose Mendez
Jockey: John Jacinto
Time: 1:45.03
Margins: 1, 2 1/4, 1 2nd: Easy Crossing 3rd: Next Event

OPELOUSAS, LA- Royce Roberts’ Benwill made a decisive move in the stretch of the $60,000 John Henry Stakes at Evangeline Downs on Saturday night to win by a length under the ride of John Jacinto. It was a reversal of fortune for the Jose Mendez trainee, who had not won a race since winning the Unbridled Stakes at Louisiana Downs in September 2014 following a disqualification.

Benwill sat sixth in the field of nine during the early stages of the race, behind the pace-setting pair of Solitary Ranger and Next Event. That twosome carved out solid fractions of 23.51 seconds for the quarter-mile and 48.42 seconds for the half-mile. The betting favorite, Easy Crossing, had sat just off the pace before making his move on the far turn. He and Next Event went on to run together until mid-stretch where Benwill found the running room he needed to storm by both of them and win in a final time of 1:45.03 for the 1 1/16. 

Benwill paid $48.60 to win, $12.60 to place and $7.60 to show. Easy Crossing came home second, returning $3.80 to place and $2.60 to show. Next Event held third and paid $4.20 to show.

The victory by Benwill in the John Henry Stakes was the eighth in his 31-race career. The $36,000 first-place purse pushed his lifetime earnings to $281,663. The 7-year-old horse was bred in Louisiana by E.O. Pickett. Benwill was sired by Leestown and is out of the Dynaformer mare, Dynaspice.

Evangeline Downs will resume live racing on Wednesday evening with a 9-race program. The program will include a Super Hi 5 carry-over of $5,058.70 in the fifth race, which will be the first of three Super Hi 5 wagers offered on the card. Post time on Wednesday will be 5:50 pm Central time.

For more information on the Thoroughbred season at Evangeline Downs, visit the track’s website at Evangeline Downs’ Twitter handle is @EVDRacing and the racetrack is also accessible on Facebook at


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