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Former Kirkwood Stables rider Fry gets first win as a jockey

Posted: December 19, 2013 8:33 a.m.
Updated: December 20, 2013 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Lou Hodges/Fair Grounds/

FORMER CAMDEN RESIDENT Vanessa Fry is all smiles as she prepares for a ride at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

Camden has a well-deserved reputation for sending out successful four-legged athletes onto race courses. But the stables here also send out those of the human variety.
On Dec. 7, Vanessa Fry won her first race as a jockey as the former rider at Kip Elser’s Kirkwood Stables rode H M Rising, a 2-year-old filly, to victory in a $14,000 race at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans for trainer Theodore Arndt.
Fry came to Kirkwood after having attended Texas A&M University where she was on the rodeo team as a barrel racer. Before coming to Camden in 2011, Fry had never sat on a Thoroughbred. After leaving Elser’s barn, she went on to work with Tony Dutrow, Hillary Pridham and Mike Stidham, with whom she finished her riding prep.
In Fry’s first win, the apprentice jockey and her mount were never worse than third in the 5 ½ furlong race and sat in second place, 2 ½ lengths behind the race leader, at the top of the stretch. The pair came on strong in the stretch run to win by 1 ¾ lengths. The win was also the first for H M Rising in three career starts, but its first with Fry in the irons.
Another Kirkwood graduate, Dancin’  Lil, won a $30,000 allowance race at Remington Park on Dec. 16.
The 4-year old Fusaichi Pegasus filly came five-wide in the stretch and wore down the leader to win by a length and a half for trainer Federico Villafranco who had Jose Medina in the irons.
In 18 career starts, Dancin’ Lil has three wins, three seconds and seven third for $85,593 in earnings.
Fenwick grads score in Kentucky and New York: Kiss Moon, a graduate of Wilhelmina and Fred McEwan’s Fenwick Farm in Camden, won at first asking by running to victory in a $21,000 maiden race at Turfway Park in Kentucky on Dec. 13.
Trained by David Vance, who gave Rodney Prescott a leg up, the 2-year-old Malibu Moon filly was fifth after the first half-mile of the six-furlong race on the All-Weather Track before roaring home to a two-length victory.
Another former Fenwick pupil, Bake Shop, won a $69,000 allowance race at Aqueduct on Dec. 1.
Trained by Juan Vazquez, Bake Shop was fourth in the field of 11 at the top of the stretch before going along the rail to win by a neck.
A 4-year-old Patriot Act gelding, Bake Shop has four wins in 15 starts to go along with a pair of seconds and five third place finishes which have earned $146,375 for its connections.
Third time the charm for CCE graduate: After having finished third in her first two starts, Donna Freyer’s Custom Care Equine graduate, Takeoff Your Hat, found her way to the winners’ circle in her third start from the gates.
The 2-year-old Cosmonaut filly came from fourth place at the top of the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length in a $34,500 maiden race for 2-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 13.
Luis Saez was aboard for the winning ride in the one mile run over the dirt course for trainer Philip Serpe.
In three starts, Takeoff Your Hat has earned $32,600.
One day later, another CCE grad, Speedy Lee D stepped into allowance company and came back a winner with a wire-to-wire score in a $16,000 5 1/2-furlong race at Finger Lakes in upstate New York.
Trained by Chris Englehart, the 4-year-old Frost Giant filly won over a sealed, muddy course in a time of 1:06.23.
Speedy Lee D, a New York-bred, has four wins, four seconds and three thirds in 17 starts while having earned $62,755.
 (Turned from Home is a regular feature in the sports pages of the Chronicle-Independent spotlighting Thoroughbred flat horses, which were sent to the track from Camden, as well as local owners and trainers. Any persons having racing information which they would like to pass along and be included in this column should call the C-I sports department at 432-6157 or, via e-mail at


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