06/28/2017 3:26PM

ICE arrests eight Indiana Grand backstretch workers

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Eight backstretch employees at Indiana Grand Racing and Casino were arrested June 23 by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, multiple sources confirmed this week.

The arrests were restricted to allegedly undocumented workers who had outstanding legal matters such as DUI charges or failure to appear in immigration court.

The arrests were strictly targeted, sources said, and a more general sweep of the backstretch community was not undertaken. The arrested backstretch workers were transported to Chicago and are being held without bond.

Reports that a substantial number of backstretch workers had subsequently left Indiana Grand could not be specifically confirmed. Indiana Grand is located in Shelbyville, about 23 miles southeast of central Indianapolis and located in a rural area. In the best of times, horsemen don’t have a surplus of qualified employees from which to choose.

“It’s hard to get help anyway,” trainer Tony Granitz said. “People are on edge here. It’s a concern.”

Indiana Grand is in the midst of its marathon annual meeting that this year runs from April 18 to Oct. 28. The season’s biggest day of racing, featuring the Indiana Derby and Indiana Oaks, is July 15.