UPDATE: New details released in exercise rider’s death at Keeneland

The incident occurred shortly after 8:00 a.m. when Callie Witt was thrown from a 2-year-old filly on the training track

Update from 7:00 p.m. on April 29, 2022:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/NEWS RELEASE) – Safety and medical teams have released new details in the tragic incident that resulted in the death of exercise rider Callie Witt, 20, on Friday morning on the Keeneland training track. Witt was an exercise rider for trainer Joe Sharp.

Keeneland Vice President of Equine Safety Dr. Stuart Brown provided this description of the accident: “At approximately 8 a.m., while performing a routine gallop of an unraced 2-year-old filly, the horse shifted her stride causing Callie to be dismounted, landing on the inner synthetic training track material.”

Callie was immediately attended to by the Alpha Event Medicine personnel, Keeneland’s on-site medical team, who were supported by Lexington Fire and Metro Police within minutes of reporting, but unfortunately passed away from her injuries shortly thereafter.

The horse involved in the incident has been evaluated and has demonstrated no signs of unsoundness or injury, reported Dr. Brown.

A native of Nebraska, Callie Witt was an aspiring rider with a promising future in racing. She had worked for Sharp for nearly a year.

“We are devastated by the loss of Callie as she has grown near and dear to our barn,” Sharp said. “Callie aspired to be a jockey and was about to graduate from the North American Racing Academy. She had been making great progress toward her goals and had a work ethic that was second to none. She was unique … you don’t see many in her generation with that level of grit and determination. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family.”

“We are heartbroken by this tragic loss,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said. “Our prayers go out to Callie’s family, friends and our collective racing community at this difficult time.”

Ongoing efforts to provide support and grief counseling are available through Keeneland’s Chaplaincy program.

According to Keeneland, Witt’s death was the first riding accident at the track since May 5, 1982, when 62-year old trainer Del Carroll died after falling from a horse while galloping.

 

Original story below from 11:18 a.m. on April 29, 2022:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/NEWS RELEASE) – Callie Witt, 20, an exercise rider for trainer Joe Sharp, died Friday morning following a training accident on the Keeneland training track.

The incident occurred shortly after 8 a.m. when Witt was thrown from a 2-year-old horse.

Alpha Event Medicine, the track’s on-site medical team, immediately attended to her life-threatening injuries. Lexington Fire and Emergency arrived at the scene within 6 minutes and transported Witt to the University of Kentucky Emergency Department, where she was pronounced dead from blunt force injuries.

“We are heartbroken by this tragic loss,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said.  “Our hearts and prayers go out to Callie’s family, friends and our collective racing community at this difficult time.”

Witt, a native of Nebraska, was studying at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.  More information will be shared as it becomes available.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission released the following statement:

“The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission is heartbroken by the news of the untimely death of exercise rider, Callie Witt. The horse racing community is a family and the loss of any member is devastating. Her family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers.”

 

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