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'I been coming over here most of my life': Horse racing returns to Churchill Downs after string of horse deaths

The consensus? Everyone was happy to be back at the famed track.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Live horse races have returned to Churchill Downs.

Horse racing fans from near and far were happy to see the stands full again after races were temporarily moved to Ellis Park in June. 

This move comes after 12 horse deaths during the spring meet.

A report released Tuesday from the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) found no single cause for the deaths. It also found no red flags with the Churchill Downs track.

"I'm glad to see them back since they cut the meet short early last month," fan Tom Heichelbech said.

Heichelbech and his friends have been waiting for the start of the September meet.

He has been looking at races on his phone and is happy to see live racing.

"I been coming over here most of my life and there is nothing like Churchill Downs," Heichelbech said.

Same for Ted Carlisle and his friends, who came to the famed track early to get their favorite spot next to the bar.

"This track is one of the best -- if not the best -- in the United States that I know of," he said.

Carlisle said there is nothing like the Churchill experience.

"I did the simulcasting and don't get me wrong, if you want to bet, you know, live racing is where it's at. I been coming here since the late 70's," he said.

A group of friends from Saint Xavier High School also came to see what the hype was all about.

They didn't have high hopes to win any money, they were just happy to be at the track together.

"Sometimes you'll go a little too far, lose money but you don't call it winning, you call it gambling for a reason," student Trip Newell said.

Now, horse racing fans hope the horses and jockey have a safe racing year.

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