Leon Reed, an assistant starter at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack, died Saturday evening due to injuries suffered as the result of an accident that occurred while he loaded a horse into the starting gate for the fifth race earlier that day."This tragic accident has left all of us at Finger Lakes in stunned disbelief. As a tightly knit racing community, this shocking and sudden loss leaves all connected with the racetrack with extremely heavy hearts. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family during this difficult time," said Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack president and general manager Chris Riegle.Reed, 47, suffered the injuries after the horse he was loading into the gate kicked him in the chest area. Despite retaining consciousness, complications from the injury several hours later led to his passing.
The incident marks the first time in the 44-year history of the track that an employee, horsemen or jockey has obtained fatal injuries while performing their duties.A long-time employee of the track, Reed worked at Finger Lakes since April 1984 and is survived by his wife, Lisa. He had no children.Out of respect for the family, Finger Lakes has cancelled live racing originally scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. Racing is scheduled to resume on Friday, November 25 with a 12:15 p.m. post time.