Horse racing in mourning following tragic death of jockey Avery Whisman, aged 22

The death of young jockey Avery Whisman has sent the horse racing world into mourning.

News of the 22-year-old’s death was made public this week. No cause of death was mentioned for Whisman, who had 16 successes last year and was most recently a member of the Presque Isle Downs jockey colony in the United States.

Top American jockey Mike Smith was among those to have paid tribute to the rider, calling him his “little brother” in an emotional social media post.

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The Triple Crown champion shared a picture of the pair together with the caption: “R.I.P my little brother you will Always be so Loved.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Maryland Jockey Club said: "We are deeply saddened to hear the news about Avery Whisman. Our hearts are with his family and friends."

Fans on social media also paid tribute, with one Twitter user writing: "Horrible news today to learn of the death of Avery Whisman. Just a great all around kid in the Jockey Colony.

"He always had a smile on his face and was always fun to be around. He was a very talented rider winning a stakes this year at Presque Isle."

Whisman grew up near Keeneland Racecourse and later started riding for trainer Joan Scott, where he learned how to become a jockey.

A former three-day eventer, Whisman followed his mother and father into the sport before switching to racing. He had ridden on the Mid-Atlantic circuit in Maryland and Delaware and in Southern California for trainer Carla Gaines before meeting his eventual mentor Smith.

The horse racing prospect had 90 wins out of 810 starts, with 96 second places and 98 thirds. He earned $2.7million (£2.2m) in prize money, despite being out of the saddle from August 2020 until May 2022, according to Equibase statistics.

His last win came in August last year on Indian Spider for owner-trainer Matthew Kintz. His final ride was two weeks later on August 23, where he finished fourth on Barola – also owned by Kintz.

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