LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Safety and medical teams have released new details in the tragic incident in the death of exercise rider Callie Witt.
Keeneland Vice-President of Equine Safety Dr. Stuart Brown described the incident.
“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,” said Brown.
“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,” said horse trainer Joe Sharp, whom Witt worked under for nearly a year.
Brown evaluated the horse involved in the incident and confirmed the horse “showed no signs of unsoundness or injury”.
Callie Witt, a 20-year-old exercise rider for horse trainer Joe Sharp, died Friday morning after a training accident at Keeneland.
Shortly after 8 a.m., Witt was thrown from a 2-year-old horse, according to a Keeneland news release.
The on-site medical team at the track immediately tended to Witt’s life-threatening injuries, and Lexington Fire and Emergency arrived on the scene within six minutes of the incident.
Authorities said Witt was transferred to the University of Kentucky Emergency Department where she was pronounced dead from blunt-force injuries.
Kentucky state Rep. Andy Barr took to Twitter and said, “This is a devastating tragedy that no family should ever have to endure. Please join me in praying for the family and friends of Callie Witt.”
“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
Witt, who was a native of Nebraska, was a student at Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC).
The president of BCTC, Dr. Koffi Akakpo, shared the following statement on Witt’s death:
“We learned this morning our student Callie Witt passed away due to a tragic accident. Today, while working for trainer Joe Sharp at Keeneland, she was thrown from a horse. Callie was an experienced rider who had been working for Sharp for almost a year. She was due to graduate August 2022. Our hearts go out to Callie’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this very sad time.”