Updated on 10/09/2011 10:38AM

Finger Lakes jockey found dead at home


Jockey Jose David Osorio was found dead in his Henrietta, N.Y., home 20 miles west of Finger Lakes Racetrack on Tuesday morning, an apparent suicide, according to two people who knew the rider. He was 34.

Finger Lakes officials canceled Tuesday’s racing program.

According to Jeff Smith, who until two months ago had worked as Osorio’s agent for approximately five years, Osorio was found in his basement by his fiancé, Brenda Ortiz. No other details were available.

“I’m really shook up, it’s mind-boggling to me,” Smith said. “He was a strong kid. You wouldn’t ever know if he had a bad day or not. I’m really devastated. I can’t see how he could take his own life.”

Jeremiah Englehart, a Finger Lakes-based trainer, said Osorio – whose nickname was “El Gato,” the Cat _ always seemed upbeat.

“He was a really, really good kid, always smiling,” Englehart said. “You’d never think that this was something you’d run into with him.”

Englehart said that Osorio and Ortiz had two children together and that Ortiz had a third child from a previous relationship.

According to Daily Racing Form records, Osorio rode 421 winners from 3,228 mounts in his career. He first rode in 1996 – going 2 for 114 – but didn’t ride again until 2002. His best year statistically was 2006 when he rode 79 winners from 482 mounts. In 2007, he won his only stakes, the Finger Lakes Juvenile Fillies, with Say Toba Sandy.

Osorio ranked 15th in the Finger Lakes jockey standings in 2011 with 30 wins from 197 mounts.