08/05/2009 11:00PM

Training resumes following flood


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Two days after a torrential downpour dumped a record six inches of rain on Churchill Downs in about an hour, leaving large portions of the track's dirt and turf courses under water, horses returned to training there Thursday.

Track spokesman John Asher said track maintenance crews worked Tuesday and Wednesday to clear drainage systems, and dumped 25 truckloads of dirt to fill rough spots or wash-outs from Tuesday's rainfall.

The sudden rain - which caused rising water in some barns, and flooding in some neighborhoods in the Louisville area - led to at least 40 horses being evacuated from their regular stalls. Eighteen horses were moved to different barns on the Churchill backstretch, and 22 others were shipped to Churchill Downs Trackside, a training facility approximately 10 minutes from the track.

Those 22 horses have been able to train over the Trackside dirt surface, and were to begin returning to Churchill Downs on Friday, Asher said.

Yet to reopen is the Kentucky Derby Museum, located adjacent to Churchill Downs. The Museum experienced extensive flooding in its basement, where many historical artifacts were stored. No timetable for its reopening has been announced.

w With Ellis Park struggling to fill better quality races, particularly those scheduled for dirt, the Saturday feature at Ellis is a six-horse $20,000 claiming race with a $15,000 purse.

Carded as the seventh race on a 10-race card, it sets up for Moyers Pond, who drops in for the lowest claiming level of his career.

Two of Moyer's Pond's three victories have come at six furlongs, the distance of the seventh race. Fabio Arguello Jr. rides.