The National HBPA Foundation and HBPA state affiliates are rallying to assist trainer Eric Reed and his wife, owner Kay Reed, after 23 horses in their care were killed in an early-morning barn fire Sunday.
The large barn, believed to have been struck by lightning, is one of three at the Reeds’ Mercury Equine Center on Russell Cave Road in Lexington, Kentucky. Another 13 horses were saved by the Reeds’ employees who risked going into the burning barn at the private training facility.
Through its charitable foundation, the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association will match HBPA affiliated-organizations contributions to help the Reeds. The foundation’s contribution will cap at $10,000, but the hope is that much more than $20,000 is donated overall.
While Reed is based in Kentucky, he also races extensively in West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Illinois. He told Kentucky HBPA Executive Director Marty Maline that he had lost almost everything, including substantial tack and supplies.
The HBPA contributions will go into an account for the Reeds at Horse Cents tack shop in Versailles, Kentucky, where the trainer does considerable business, allowing him to buy what he needs.
“Benevolence is the core of what the National HBPA stands for,” said Leroy Gessmann, president of the National and Iowa HBPA and chair of the organization’s National Assistance Committee. “We are first and foremost here to help horsemen. In this instance, Eric Reed and his stable have undergone a severe tragedy, a nightmare for any trainer. We are here to help him, as we know he would do for us.”
There are several ways that individual horsemen and the public can help:
- Donations to Reed’s fund through the National HBPA, a tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) fund, are tax deductible. Contributions can be made online via credit card at https://nationalhbpa.com/donate/. Checks made out to the National HBPA Foundation, with “Eric Reed fund” written in the memo, can be mailed to the National HBPA, 870 Corporate Dr., Suite 300, Lexington, KY 40503-5419.
- Donations also can be mailed to, or dropped by, Horse Cents, 199 Markham Drive, Versailles, KY, 40383. Such checks should be made payable to Horse Cents-Eric Reed fund. Credit card contributions can be made over the phone by calling Horse Cents at 859-873-4707. These donations are not tax deductible.
- Donated tack and supplies can be dropped off at Horse Cents or any of three Kentucky HBPA offices: the main office at 3729 S. Fourth Street, Louisville, 40214, or the backside offices at Turfway Park in Florence and The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington.
- A GoFundMe account has been set up by the Reeds’ close friends Mike, a steward in Ohio and the 1970 Kentucky Derby-winning jockey, and Kitty Manganello at http://bit.ly/2icnkYO