Louisville Metro Police Lt. Barry Wilkerson said at a news conference the medical examiner was conducting an autopsy on Adan Fabian Perez, a 48-year-old native of Guatemala who was found shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday by a track security officer, The Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
Wilkerson said Perez suffered wounds that suggested foul play but did not elaborate on the condition of the body. The lieutenant said the location of the body in the back part of a barn "wasn't a natural place to be."
He wouldn't say whether the body was hidden or covered.
Police said Perez's death did not appear to be linked to the Derby, which was run Saturday.
Wilkerson said police were looking into several "altercations" that occurred on the track's "backside" before the body was found. Police were interviewing witnesses to determine if Perez had been involved in any of the incidents.
Perez, a groom for trainer Cecil Borel, brother of Derby jockey Calvin Borel, lived on the backside and had been licensed by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission since 2008, said Marc A. Guilfoil, deputy executive director of the commission.
Perez was identified by his 19-year-old son, who also works at Churchill Downs, said Jo-Ann Farmer, the Jefferson County chief deputy coroner.
The backside at Churchill Downs includes 48 barns and workers' dormitories, and some trainers' employees live in tack rooms in barns, the Courier-Journal said.