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Trainers complain of rocks at Churchill Downs as equine experts test track

Dr. Mick Peterson said there are still no obvious signs of anything wrong with the track.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Horse racing at Churchill Downs will pause, and all races are being moved to Ellis Park in Henderson, Kentucky.

This comes as authorities and equine experts try to solve the puzzle surrounding the recent horse deaths at Churchill Downs.

When Churchill Downs requested a re-inspection of its track, FOCUS was there for an exclusive look at that testing last week, led by University of Kentucky professor and racecourse surfaces engineer Dr. Mick Peterson.

FOCUS has learned that the same equipment returned Thursday to check the track one more time, as well as to assist Dennis Moore with laser measurements.

Moore -- a renowned track superintendent out of California -- performed his own analysis at the request of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA).

Although that analysis is pending, FOCUS has learned from Peterson that there are still no obvious red flags of anything wrong with the track.

Read Churchill Downs's statement about races moving to Ellis Park here.

However, Peterson added trainers at Churchill have complained about small rocks on the track, concentrated by the new first-turn seating.

A trainer confirmed this to FOCUS and said crews were out on the track Thursday with buckets picking up the rocks.

He also said trainers have been concerned about rocks on the track for a few years for the obvious reason of horses, galloping at high speeds, stepping on them and causing injury.

Meanwhile, the investigation of the "cluster" of horse deaths, 12 of them, is ongoing with no clear answers on why it's happening.

Both Churchill Downs and HISA have announced measures aimed at better protecting the horses this week.

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