Flash flood hits Churchill Downs, horses evacuated

Flash flood hits Churchill Downs, horses evacuated

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Aug 05, 2009
By dvm360.com staff
Louisville, Ky. -- Flash flooding from a record six inches of rain in one hour flooded parts of Churchill Downs racetrack yesterday, forcing the evacuation of 30 to 35 Thoroughbred racehorses.

There were no reports of injuries to humans or horses from the massive storm that produced torrential rain, high winds, hail and lightning. It struck about 8 a.m. EST, halfway through the morning training session. Churchill is between live racing meets and the track was closed.

The 30 to 35 horses were evacuated from two barns in which water began to rise and taken to a nearby training center.

Parts of the famed track where the Kentucky Derby takes place were under water, and several vehicles in the main track parking area were submerged.

Training and other activities were suspended today so that crews can inspect for damage and make repairs. “I’ve been here 42 years, and this is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said Butch Lehr, track superintendant.