11/27/2012 5:50PM

Golden Gate notes: Starter escapes serious injury


No, assistant starter Victor Ordonez wasn’t auditioning for Cirque du Soleil when he shot head first over the starting gate and somersaulted to the ground when a horse acted up in the gate Friday.

Ordonez, the husband of trainer Aggie Ordonez, miraculously escaped serious injury, although his wife said, “He was walking around like an old man the first day.”

Ordonez had gotten longshot Ramonsky in the gate when the 5-year-old mare became unruly. Ordonez helped apprentice jockey Juan Sanchez escape to safety and thought he had the mare held down.

But the panicked horse kept thrashing and flipped. Her front hooves hit Ordonez and catapulted him over the front gate.

Ordonez made it back to his wife's barn. She took him to nearby Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley where X-rays were negative.

There was some collateral damage. Aggie Ordonez said her thumbs were so sore from responding to text messages she had trouble with them Saturday.

“You can’t imagine the concern and messages I received,” she said. “It made me realize all the good hearts out there and that we are such a close community.”

Unbeaten filly tries stakes

Ciao Bella Luna, the Dennis Patterson-trained filly who has looked so impressive winning her first two starts, will get her toughest test yet as she makes her stakes debut in Saturday’s $50,000 Golden Gate Debutante at six furlongs.

Two Steve Specht-trained fillies are also expected to run: Marks Mine, who ran second to Ciao Bella Luna after setting the pace in an allowance race last out, and debut winner My Lil Shamrock. The steadily improving Power of Ten, a half sister of the stakes-winning Power of Nine, also is probable.