LEXINGTON, Ky. — A horse exercise rider for trainer Joe Sharp has died following a training accident on the Keeneland training track Friday morning.
According to a spokesperson for Keeneland, the incident occurred Friday morning, shortly after 8 a.m.
The 20-year-old exercise rider, Callie Witt, was thrown from a 2-year-old horse.
"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," Keeneland Vice President of Equine Safety Dr. Stuart Brown said.
Alpha Events Medicine, the track's on-site medical team, quickly responded to Witt's life-threatening injuries. Lexington Fire and Emergency arrived at the scene within six minutes and was taken to the University of Kentucky's Emergency Department.
Witt was pronounced dead due to blunt force injuries while at the hospital.
"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."
Sharp said he is devastated to learn of Witt's passing "as she has grown near and dear to our barn." He said Witt has aspirations of one day becoming a jockey herself 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," Sharp said in a press release Friday. "You don't see many in her generation with that level of grit and determination."
Witt, a native of Nebraska, was also studying at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
MORE LOCAL STORIES LIKE THIS ONE:
Sign up for the WHAS11 newsletter: "WHAS Up Kentuckiana." Get the latest headlines and videos from around Kentuckiana delivered daily to your inbox.