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.