02/19/2013 3:58PM

Pete Anderson, trainer and jockey who rode Forego, dead at 82

Bob Coglianese
Pete Anderson, shown with Delightful Kiss at Gulfstream Park in 2010.

Pete Anderson, a jockey who once rode Forego and a trainer who had strings of horses for top Florida breeders, died on Tuesday at Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah, Fla., after suffering a heart attack, according to his daughter, Aggie Ordonez. Anderson was 82.

Anderson rode Forego for 10 of the three-time Horse of the Year’s first 11 races, including the gelding’s maiden win and his fourth-place finish in the 1973 Kentucky Derby. But Anderson, who was short but relatively stocky, had trouble making weight on the colt, and he was replaced by Heliodoro Gustines, who rode the horse until being replaced late in 1976, first by Jacinto Vasquez and then by Bill Shoemaker.

Anderson won most of the major stakes races of his time, including the Acorn, Ashland, Top Flight, and Gazelle, and he regularly rode the top horses Bold Bidder, Verbatim, Cannonade, and Stupendous. When telling the story of his 1958 Belmont win, he often said that Cavan’s victory was given short shrift because of the breakdown of Tim Tam in the stretch.

“Cavan was leaving Tim Tam before he took that bad step,” Anderson told Jay Hovdey of Daily Racing Form in 2010. “No way he was beating my colt that day.”

Following his retirement as a jockey, he took out his trainer’s license and settled in Florida, where he was a fixture at Calder Race Course. During his second career, he trained horses for John Nerud, John Brunetti, Hobeau Farms, and Tartan Farms, Ordonez said. Ordonez is a trainer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In recent years, Anderson trained the stakes winners Delightful Kiss, Chary, and Wild Mia. Delightful Kiss, a multiple stakes winner, won more than a million dollars during his 36-race career. When he was shipped to California, Anderson put the horse under his daughter’s name as a trainer. She took over ownership of the horse in 2012.

Ordonez said she had last visited her father with the rest of her family in Florida one week before his death. Anderson had a heart attack around New Year’s, Ordonez said, but he had been feeling better since being released from the hospital in late January before taking a turn for the worse this week.

“He had me drive him out to Calder to cash a ticket, because he had bet on a couple of my horses,” Ordonez said.

Ordonez said that her father was “devoted to horses” throughout his life. Born in Long Island in 1931, Anderson got his first job at Belmont Park when he was 12 years old.

“He loved horses so much, probably more than he loved people,” she said. “All animals, really – dogs and cats. If he found a stray, they wound up at our house. He always put the horse first. As long as he had a horse, I never worried about him.”