Kentucky Derby

Body found at Churchill Downs identified

LOUISVILLE — A man's body was found early Sunday in the stable area of Churchill Downs, less than a day after the Kentucky Derby. The death is being investigated as a homicide, police said.

The man was identified as Adan Fabian Perez, 48, said Alicia Smiley, spokeswoman for Louisville Metro Police.

She said authorities were trying to determine the cause of the death.

"He did sustain injuries that lead us to believe he was involved in some type of altercation," Smiley said. "Our investigation is ongoing as to why he would have specifically been at this location."

Churchill Downs security called police shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday, Smiley said.

Rob O'Connor, who trains horses at Churchill, told The Courier-Journal of Louisville that the body was found in a barn he shares but did not comment further because the investigation is ongoing. Louisville trainer Angel Montano Sr. also occupies the barn; he did not immediately return a call seeking comment Sunday.

Marc A. Guilfoil, deputy executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, told The Courier-Journal that Perez, a native of Guatemala, was a groom for trainer Cecil Borel. He lived on the backside and had been licensed by the commission since 2008, Guilfoil said.

Borel, brother of three-time Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel, could not confirm Guilfoil's account, the newspaper reported on its Web site.

About 200 people live at Churchill Downs at any given time, in dormitories on the edge of the property or in apartments above the barns.

The barn where Perez's body was found is about 150 yards from where this year's Derby winner, I'll Have Another, is kept.

Smiley said there appears to be no connection between Perez's death and the racetrack or the Derby.

"At this point we don't have anything pointing to the fact that this had any association with Churchill Downs or the Derby itself," she said. "We are still investigating at the stables and at the barn."

Perez's body was removed by stretcher from the barn at 9:50 a.m., and police were seen packing about a dozen large paper bags into the back of a crime scene unit van.

Smiley said an autopsy was tentatively scheduled for Monday.

No arrests had been made as of Sunday.

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.