Denise (Boudrot) Hopkins, who won over 1,000 races while riding on the New England circuit, died May 19 at her farm in Grafton, Vt., due to a long illness. She was 57.
According to information from Suffolk Downs, Hopkins 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 when she took the Suffolk Downs title. Retiring in 1985, she married Roland Hopkins, a newspaper publisher who also owned racehorses.
In 1972, Hopkins rode in her first horse race at a time when there were few female riders. According to an obituary from Suffolk Downs, Hopkins proved that she could also get to the track before sunrise, put in 18-hour days, and ride nine mounts a day. Recently, she was elected to the New England Turf Writers Association Hall of Fame. She is the fifth jockey recognized by the NETWA with this honor, and the only woman.
Hopkins formerly lived in Duxbury, Mass. and had a farm in Ocala, Florida. A private ceremony will be celebrated in Vermont on Memorial Day.
In addition to her husband Rolly, Hopkins is survived by stepdaughters Tracey and Kathi and stepsons Stephen and Rock.