LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — An exercise rider died after being thrown from a horse at Keeneland’s training track.

Callie Witt, 20, died Friday morning after being thrown from an unraced 2-year-old filly, Keeneland track spokeswoman Amy Gregory confirmed to The Associated Press. Keeneland’s vice president of equine safety, Stuart Brown, said Witt was dismounted after the horse shifted stride during a routine gallop. Witt landed on the track’s inner synthetic material.

On-site medical personnel immediately tended to Witt for life-threatening injuries before Lexington Fire and Emergency arrived within 6 minutes and took her to the University of Kentucky Hospital Emergency Department, according to a Keeneland press release. Witt was later pronounced dead from blunt force injuries.

A Nebraska native, Witt was an aspiring jockey who worked nearly a year for trainer Joe Sharp. She had been attending Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington and was about to graduate from North American Racing Academy.

“She had been making great progress toward her goals and had a work ethic that was second to none,” Sharp said in a release. “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.”

Keeneland president and CEO Shannon Arvin said the track was “heartbroken by this tragic loss” and expressed prayers for Witt’s family, friends and the racing community.

Brown said the horse was evaluated and showed no signs of unsoundness or injury.


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