Race of the Week 2017
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Bay Area Backstretch

Aggie Ordonez carries on her father's legacy

Nobody at Golden Gate Fields will argue the fact that trainer Aggie Ordonez knows her stuff. Although she has just a limited number of horses, she has always had good success.  Much of her “horse sense” came from her father Pete Anderson.

Anderson, who as a jockey piloted the great Forego to a 4th place finish in the 1973 Kentucky Derby, passed away February 19th in his home state of Florida at the age of 82. He not only made his mark as a jockey but as a trainer. His big horse, Delightful Kiss made over $1 million with seven lifetime victories.


Ordonez will now call on all her wisdom she got from her father, as she continues to excel as a northern California trainer. And lately, she has really been on a roll.

Since her fathers passing, Ordonez has run 10 horses with 5 wins, 3 seconds and a third. There is no doubt in her mind, that dad is up there enjoying her success.

“My dad and I were connected through the horses, that’s how I feel the closest to him,” Ordonez said when reflecting on the loss.  “He has always been very supportive of me. I know he’s up there getting these horses home.”

Anderson’s riding career was known for more than just his rides on Forego. He also won the 1958 Belmont Stakes on Cavan and also rode such horses as Bold Bidder, Sword Dancer and Cannonade. As a trainer, he not only brought Delightful Kiss to prominence, but also saddled Sorry Lookin who ran second in the Grade 1 Widener Handicap and third in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap in New York.

“One of the most meaningful things he ever said to me was, If he could turn back time and ride my horses,  we would knock’em dead,” Ordonez said. “And that meant a lot to me because it meant I was doing a good job with my horses.”

Lately, Ordonez’ success has come with jockey William Antongeorgi III in the saddle. On her current hot streak, he rode 8 of those last 10 horses for  her. Admitting her dad “loved” Billy as a rider, she feels the jock has a connection with her horses.

So now left on her own in the training world, Ordonez feels this is the time to make her star shine even brighter.

“I feel like I’m carrying the torch from my dad and following in his footsteps.” She said. “Right now I just want to submerge myself in my barn. That’s the way I feel the closest to him.” 

Golden Gate Fields again has a rooting interest in the Derby

Last year, GGF personnel rooted on I’ll Have Another to victory in the Kentucky Derby. It wasn’t the horse, but the jockey that the track could lay claim to. Mario Gutierrez used to ride at GGF a couple years prior to his historic run for the roses.

This year, it appears they will have a rooting interest yet again. When Goldencents  won the Santa Anita Derby two weeks ago, it not only assured Doug O’Neill of a return trip, but it will give a derby debut to jockey Kevin Krigger.

Krigger rode at GGF during two different stints of his career, as a bug boy and more recently a year ago before he moved to Southern California. Krigger, was and still is, very popular at GGF and he will no doubt have plenty of supporters from the bay on the first Saturday in May. 


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Older Comments about Aggie Ordonez carries on her father's legacy...

Great article about Aggie. The more hear about Golden Gate the more I'd like to visit some day.

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Meet Don August

I have been involved in horse racing, from a fan to sportswriter, for the past 30 years. The first time my dad took me to the track, I picked a horse named "Black Tornado" and when he won, I was hooked.  From then on, I spent weekends and occasional school days at the race track, and my enjoyment of the sport led me to try my hand at being a jockey agent, which i did for 3 years. When that didn't work out as I had hoped, I concentrated on my writing career by covering big races and doing summer fair handicapping, off and on, for the Contra Costa Times.

Today, I stay involved in the sport by being part of a group that currently owns two horses stabled at Golden Gate Fields. As all owners, we have dreams of someday having that special horse.  Besides writing about horse racing I enjoy covering many sports and have had the honor of meeting and writing about some incredible athletes.

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