December 10, 2022

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Jockeys wear white armbands at Churchill Downs to honor late exercise rider Callie Witt

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An exercise rider at Churchill Downs wore a white arm band during morning workouts in honor of the late Callie Witt, a rider who died recently at Keeneland. May 5, 2022

An exercise rider at Churchill Downs wore a white arm band all through early morning workout routines in honor of the late Callie Witt, a rider who died not long ago at Keeneland. Might 5, 2022

Friday’s Kentucky Oaks marks one particular 7 days since the dying of Callie Witt, and the jockeys at Churchill Downs honored the 20-year-aged physical exercise rider whom they regarded as household.

“We were being just like ‘what can we do to clearly show everyone our assist, particularly appropriate now?'” rider Isabella Leslie said. “There wasn’t definitely just one certain individual who came up with it. It was just a team of us that wanted to know how could we present our assistance and appreciate for Callie and her household.”

In recognition of Witt — who died immediately after getting thrown off a 2-12 months-previous horse at Keeneland on April 29 — riders wore white armbands for the duration of their exercise routines Thursday early morning and they are hoping spectators will also don bands in tribute all through the weekend.

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Leslie, who operates for America’s Finest Racing, explained that just after deliberations on how to honor Witt, they made the decision to hold it uncomplicated so spectators at the Oaks and Kentucky Derby could conveniently participate.

Exercise rider Joseph Santiago, seen wrapping a horse's leg at Churchill Downs, wore a white arm band in honor of the late Callie Witt, a rider who died recently at Keeneland. May 5, 2022

Training rider Joseph Santiago, witnessed wrapping a horse’s leg at Churchill Downs, wore a white arm band in honor of the late Callie Witt, a rider who died lately at Keeneland. May perhaps 5, 2022

Following chopping the strands of ribbon, Leslie despatched them about the stables. The strategy was to wear the bands on Thursday, but when word bought out, Leslie obtained a connect with from excellent pal and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.

“(Smith) known as me this morning and stated ‘bring some ribbons by the home tomorrow and I will make absolutely sure all the jockeys wear them on Oaks Day,'” Leslie reported. “That’ll be excellent but I think everyone’s just seriously trying to be there for each other and exhibit that (Witt) intended a little something.”

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Leslie states that she and Witt weren’t finest friends, but talked everyday through their time together past winter season in New Orleans. Witt was coaching to become a jockey herself and was acknowledged for her appreciate of the activity as an work out rider for coach Joe Sharp.

Considering that she was 18 months outdated, Witt felt destined to trip horses. She started out driving thoroughbreds when she was 14 and even enrolled in the North American Racing Academy.

“We preached to her from the time she was 18 months old to the day we lost her about the dangers of this sport and we constantly got the exact reply: ‘if I am likely to die, I want to be doing what I really like.’ Our newborn lady did just that,” Witt’s moms and dads Jennifer and Tim claimed in a joint statement. “She was creating all those dreams a fact. We are so happy of her – who she was, what she was and where by she was likely. She will without end be in our hearts.”

Exercise rider Hannah Sandwick at Churchill Downs wore a white arm band in honor of the late Callie Witt, a rider who died recently at Keeneland. May 5, 2022

Workout rider Hannah Sandwick at Churchill Downs wore a white arm band in honor of the late Callie Witt, a rider who died not long ago at Keeneland. May possibly 5, 2022

Leslie stated that soon after finding the simply call that Witt had crushed her chest in an incident, jumping back again on major of a horse that identical working day did not make items less difficult.

“It can be type of like dropping an individual in your loved ones,” Leslie said. “We constantly say that ‘it’s not how but when’ and typically that is referring to like just slipping off, or you break a bone. It never crosses your intellect that you could finish up losing your existence.”

Witt’s loss of life puts factors into point of view for individuals competing. This weekend is maybe the most important of the yr for the activity and Witt’s family wishes her to be a portion of it.

Thanks to a special piece of ribbon and the thoughtfulness of her friends, she will be.

Follow Courier Journal reporter J.L. Kirven on Twitter @JL_Kirven for extra updates on Louisville prep sports.

This short article initially appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Jockeys dress in white armbands at Churchill Downs to honor Callie Witt

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