Hours after I’ll Have Another won the sacred Kentucky Derby at Churchill Grounds Saturday, a 48-year-old track worker was found murdered, just a few stables from where the champion colt was housed.
An apparent struggle led to the death of Fabian Perez in the rear section of Barn No. 8. Police have no suspects, but said the killing was not related to the iconic horse race.
Apparently, there were several altercations in that area of Churchill Downs on Saturday night, and police are trying to determine if Perez’s death is connected to any of them. A native of Guatemala, Perez lived at the track’s quarters for workers, according to Jo-Ann Farmer, chief deputy coroner for Jefferson County.
Carlos Gomez, a 28-year-old exercise rider, said workers were talking about Perez’s death, but it wasn’t disrupting their work with the horses.
“Nobody knows what happened,” Gomez said to the Associated Press.
Laura Belzia, a 38-year-old hot walker, said fights happen in the crowded horse barns, but this is the first murder. Belzia, she said some of her co-workers may be reluctant to talk to police, either out of fear of retribution and because many are in the country illegally.