Tightly Twisted pulls the upset to give Team Bennet big win in Big Dreyfus

July 24, 2021

BALTIMORE, Md. – Trainer Juanita Bennett admitted when she saw the entries for the $100,000 Big Dreyfus, including Klaravich Stables Inc.’s 4-5 favorite and stakes-placed filly Counterparty Risk, “I was like ‘Oh my gosh.’ “

But Bennett’s 5-year-old mare Tightly Twisted, owned by Fiasco Farms, Ltd and ridden by Jhonatan Mendoza, proved every bit up to the task by defeating Counterparty Risk by a half-length Saturday at Pimlico Race Course while covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.05. It was another 5 ¾ lengths to pacesetter Sailingintothewind in third.

A daughter of Hard Spun, Tightly Twisted came into the Big Dreyfus off a two-length win at Delaware Park Jun 28. A winner of five of 21 starts, Tightly Twisted had finished second in the Robert Dick Memorial last year and won the George Rosenberger in 2019.

It’s a family and group effort,” said Bennett. “We bought her out of the Keeneland sale, one of the few we could afford, and she’s just performed for us, and we hope we keep going on this ride. It’s been a great ride this month.”

Mendoza rated Tightly Twisted a length in front of Counterparty Risk in fourth along the inside while Sailingintothewind set fractions of :24.52, :47.96 and 1:11.44. Around the far turn, Mendoza continued to save ground while moving into second while Counterparty Risk followed. But inside the final eighth Tightly Twisted took a clear lead from Sailingintothewind and had plenty left to hold off Counterparty Risk.

“She broke a little bit slow, and I put her in the race,” Mendoza said. “She was traveling good right into the stretch, and she kicked on. I was worried a little bit when [Counterparty Risk] was coming but she just kept going. I knew I had a nice filly, too.”

Tightly Twisted, bred by Normandy Farm, returned $21.20.

Maryland Jockey Club Press Release

Photo: Tightly Twisted (MJC)

@jonathanstettin Thank you. This is a truly beautiful tribute to a racing legend. Good to hear the true story of what happened that day.

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