Denise (Boudrot) Hopkins: August 8, 1952 – May 19, 2010
For 13 years, Denise (Boudrot) rode the New England Thoroughbred Racehorse circuit winning over one thousand races. She earned the nickname "Longshot Lady" and in the fall of 1974, the 22-year-old, became the first woman to win a riding title at a major thoroughbred track – Suffolk Downs.
Retiring in 1985 she settled down to a simpler and safer life marrying Roland Hopkins, a newspaper publisher who also owned racehorses.
In 1972, Denise rode in her first horse race. She was a pioneer for female jockeys, at a time when there were very few of them at the track. Horse trainers were reluctant to employ a female rider. They were considered the weaker sex. But that attitude changed with the women’s liberation movement. Denise proved that she could also get to the track before sunrise, put in 18-hour days, and ride nine mounts a day. Plus, she was a winner.
Recently Suffolk Downs, celebrating its 75th anniversary, elected Denise to its Hall of Fame. Denise is the fifth jockey recognized by Suffolk with this honor, and the only woman.
Denise died May 19 at her farm in Grafton, Vermont due to a long illness.
Denise formerly lived in Duxbury, Mass. and had a farm in Ocala, Florida.
A private ceremony will be celebrated in Vermont on Memorial Day.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Springfield Humane Society, 401 Skitchewaug Trail, Springfield, VT 05156-8820 or the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth Hitchcock, One Medical Center Dr., Lebanon, NH 03756-0001
In addition to her husband Rolly, stepdaughters Tracey and Kathi and stepsons Stephen and Rock, son-in-laws Bryce and David, Denise leaves 6 grandchildren: Daryl, Delia, Gage, Tyler, Jayson and Jeffrey, and many friends, relatives and her beloved horses and dogs.
We send our sincerest condolences to Denise's family and many friends.