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Foul play suspected in Churchill Downs death

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:33 AM EDT, Mon May 7, 2012
Churchill Downs hosted the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky.
Churchill Downs hosted the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The victim appears to be a Latino man in his 30s or 40s, police say
  • The body was discovered Sunday morning at Churchill Downs
  • Police suspect foul play, a police spokeswoman says
  • The track hosted the Kentucky Derby on Saturday

(CNN) -- A body discovered at Churchill Downs on Sunday, a day after the storied Louisville racetrack hosted the Kentucky Derby, may have been the victim of a homicide, police said.

Workers in the barn area discovered the body early in the morning and notified track security, which called police, said Robert Biven, a spokesman for the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department.

"We just got the call just prior to 5 a.m. to respond to the backside" of the racetrack, Biven told CNN.

Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said police suspect foul play.

The body, which has not been identified, appears to be a Latino man in his 30s or 40s, Biven said.

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About 400 people were located Saturday night in the rear of the racetrack, he said. "So we are trying to speak with as many people as we possibly can," he said. "We do have a few leads coming in."
An autopsy is to be carried out Monday morning.

Biven described the track's backside as "like a mini city," with 48 barns, workers' dormitories and areas where trainers live. "It's a 24-hour operation," he said.

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Operations at the racetrack were to continue normally on Sunday, Churchill Downs spokesman John Asher said. No races are scheduled at the track for three days, but cleanup from Saturday's race was to continue and the racetrack museum was to be open, he said.

CNN's Kara Devlin and Christine Sever contributed to this report

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