LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Detectives have no suspects in the slaying of a track worker at Churchill Downs just hours after the Kentucky Derby, but investigators stressed Monday that the killing had no apparent connection to the iconic horse race.
Louisville Police Lt. Barry Wilkerson said investigators are asking witnesses to come forward with information in the slaying of 48-year-old Adan Fabian Perez. Perez's body was found Sunday morning in the back portion of Barn No. 8, just a few barns away from where Derby winner I'll Have Another was stabled.
There were several altercations in that area of Churchill Downs on Saturday night, and police are trying to determine if Perez's death is connected to any of them, Wilkerson said.
Authorities were conducting an autopsy and planned to release the results Monday afternoon. Perez was a native of Guatemala and lived at the track's quarters for workers, according to Jo-Ann Farmer, chief deputy coroner for Jefferson County. But few other details about the man were immediately known.
"Our investigation is ongoing as to why he would have specifically been at this location," said Alicia Smiley, spokeswoman for Louisville Metro Police.
Churchill Downs security called police at 4:50 a.m. EDT, Smiley said. The body was found in a barn used by Louisville trainer Angel Montano Sr.
Montano did not have a horse running Saturday either in the undercard or the Derby, which saw a record attendance of more than 165,000. A telephone call, text and Twitter message left for Montano were not immediately returned.
About 200 people live at Churchill Downs at any given time — either in dormitories on the edge of the property or in small apartments above some of the barns themselves.
Although Montano's barn is near where this year's Derby winner is kept, there was little talk of the incident Sunday in the stable area.
Instead, I'll Have Another's trainer and owners were participating in the usual post-Derby media interviews and speculating about the next race in the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, in three weeks.
About a week after last year's Kentucky Derby, jockey Michael Baze's body was found in a vehicle near the stables at the famed Louisville track. His death was ruled an accidental drug overdose.
Associated Press writers Dylan Lovan in Louisville and Norman Gomlak in Atlanta contributed to this report.