05/06/2012 12:38PM

Churchill Downs: Police investigate death in barn area

Barbara D. Livingston
The Louisville Metro Police Department investigates the death of a man whose body was found in the Churchill Downs barn area on Sunday morning.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Homicide detectives from the Louisville Metro Police Department opened a death investigation Sunday after a man’s body was discovered in Barn 8 in the Churchill Downs stable area just before 5 a.m. Eastern, some 10 hours after the 138th Kentucky Derby was run.

Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said the identity of the dead man was being withheld pending a coroner’s report and notification of kin. He was of Hispanic descent, but no further details were available for release, she added. Smiley said it is possible that the man died of natural causes, but that foul play was suspected and the death is being treated as a homicide.

The Associated Press reported that there is no apparent connection to Churchill or the Derby. The barn in question has housed horses trained by Angel Montano Sr. for years. Montano told police one of his employees found the body when he arrived for work. The barn is located next to the backstretch near the 4 1/2-furlong pole and is just a few barns away from where the Derby winner, I’ll Have Another, has been stabled at Churchill.