Amanda Kopel fought back tears as the horse named after the Frank’s Law campaign made its track debut on Tuesday.
She said her late husband’s spirit was with the two-year-old colt which was a rank outsider at Hamilton where it was competing in the Maiden Stakes (Plus 10) (Class 4) at the Scottish Trophy Race Day over six furlongs.
Frank’s Law started at 40/1 in the on-course betting but dropped to 28/1 just before the starting gates opened in the nine-strong field in the 1.20 race.
Promising jockey Rowan Scott did well on board but failed to get close to the leaders and Frank’s Law eventually finished in eighth place with Happy Power first past the post in just one minute and 13 seconds.
Mrs Kopel, from Kirriemuir, met the horse for the first time after the race, alongside her son Scott, and she said the experience was “very emotional”.
Mrs Kopel said: “My heart was in my mouth for most of the race but he did so well.
“Look how long it took for the Frank’s Law campaign to become a success so we can’t expect miracles on day one.
Frank's Law has entered the parade ring. The horse is number 2. pic.twitter.com/Ss9ZfF4fHF
— Graeme Strachan (@C_GStrachan) August 21, 2018
“As Jimmy (Fyffe) said it was like a wee boy going to school for the first time and we can all relate to that but he’ll be all the better for today.
“It was very emotional watching the race and I know Frankie’s spirit was with us.
“Seeing the horse after the race and getting to talk to him was incredibly moving.
“I was lost for words which doesn’t happen often. Today has been an experience and a half and something I’ll never forget.”
Dundee businessman and racehorse owner Jimmy Fyffe last year decided to name one of his promising racers after the successful Frank’s Law campaign.
Mr Fyffe, who is well known in Dundee for his wholesale alcohol business, JF Kegs, invited Mrs Kopel and Scott to Hamilton to watch the race.
Mr Fyffe said: “It was a great education and we’ll try and get him another two rides before the end of the season and hopefully bring him through next year.
“I’m confident we’ll see the best of him next year when he is a three-year-old.
“It’s a long journey and Rome wasn’t built in a day but Frank’s Law is going to be around for a long time.”
Frank’s Law spent the summer in Carluke with champion trainer Keith Dalgleish who notched up nearly 300 winners as a jockey before his riding career was brought to a premature end.
Mr Fyffe wasn’t expecting Frank’s Law to win the race but believes the experience of getting his first start under his belt in front of a crowd will stand him in good stead for the future.
Among those watching the horse’s debut was former Dundee United midfielder Gordon McLeod who played at Tannadice during Frank Kopel’s spell on the coaching staff in the 1980s.
“As a young man at the time Frank was a big influence on my football career,” he said.
“If the Frank’s Law horse has the same determination as Frank then he’ll go on to be a winner.”
Former Scotland international goalkeeper Alan Rough and Rangers legend Willie Henderson were among those from the footballing family who stopped to pass on their best wishes.
“It’s a fantastic campaign and I wish the horse well,” said Mr Henderson.