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Hokie Spirit Wins Meadows Series Final

Published: April 30, 2010 11:24 pm ET

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In the wake of the horrific 2007 mass shootings at Virginia Tech, breeder Ron Mersky, who earned his doctorate at the university, wanted to express his solidarity in a special way. So he named two babies he intended to campaign Hokie Spirit and Hokie Heart to embody the nickname of the school’s sports teams, Hokies.

On Friday at The Meadows, Hokie Spirit symbolically carried the Maroon and Orange of Virginia Tech across the finish line as she captured the $30,000 final of the Jans Luck series for sophomore pacing fillies.

Mike Wilder hustled the daughter of Dragon Again-Yankee Fresca to the pocket behind Smoke Pan Mirrors and Doug Snyder but found it prudent to abandon the two hole in short order.

“I wanted to be behind Doug,” Wilder said, “but there were three shadows in the first turn; his horse jumped every one of them. I didn’t want to take the chance of sitting in and having that horse jump the shadows again in the last turn. I didn’t know what my filly would do on the front, but she just gamed it out.”

Hokie Sprit was an unknown quantity on the lead, as she usually features a late brush. But when O Lucky Me and Ray Paver challenged her first over down the backside, Hokie Spirit dug in. The two dueled for the balance of the mile, with Hokie Spirit a neck better at the wire in 1:54.4. Smoke Pan Mirrors settled down to save show while Hokie Heart was a rallying fourth.

Dan Altmeyer trains both Hokie girls for Mersky. Wilder called Hokie Spirit a logical candidate for Pennsylvania Sires Stakes events that begin next week.

“She’d never been on the front end yet paced the back half in :56.3 with a horse at her throat for a half mile,” Wilder said. “She’s a lightly raced horse with definite potential, but time will tell.”

Alladorable took the $15,000 Jans Luck consolation in front-end fashion, scoring in 1:54.3 and shaving 2.3 seconds from her lifetime mark. SJs Blissful Lady finished second, 1-1/4 lengths back, with Elegant Girl third. Dave Palone drove, Norm Parker trains and Bob Key owns Alladorable, a daughter of Allamerican Native-Mattadorable.

Palone drove five winners on the 14-race card while Wilder and Eric Ledford each enjoyed a triple.

(The Meadows)

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