Jockey Miguel Mena Killed In Vehicular Accident

Jockey Miguel Mena



Miguel Mena, one of the winningest jockeys in Churchill Downs history and a two-time winner of the prestigious Stephen Foster Stakes, was killed in a pedestrian accident on westbound I-64 between Blakenbaker Parkway and Hurstbourne Lane in Louisville on Sunday night. He was 34, just days shy of his 35th birthday on Saturday.


“This news is absolutely shocking, terrible and heartbreaking,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Mike Anderson. “Our team is devastated to learn of Miguel’s passing. He was such a courageous rider who fought to overcome several challenges and adversity. We’ll miss his bright smile. Our deepest condolences are extended to his many friends, fellow riders and family, and our immediate thoughts are with his wife April and his daughters Naelah and Montserrat.”



Mena won 2,079 races in North America and his mounts in 16,234 races earned $72,483,396 in prize money. He recorded 136 career stakes wins, including 37 against graded stakes company led by the 2010 Test (Grade 1) aboard Champagne d’Oro and 2011 Stephen Foster (G1) on Pool Play.

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Jockey Mena Records 2,000th Career Victory

Popular rider Miguel Mena hit milestone win number 2,000 after taking the fifth race July 3 at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky. The victory came aboard Michael Langford’s Substantial ($6.80) in a one-mile maiden special weight on the turf for trainer Randy Morse.

“People on Twitter had told me I was one win away,” said Mena, a native of Peru. “I’ve been riding since I was 16 and I came to the U.S. when I was 17… so it’s been awhile … I’ve been here 15 years. I feel good about 2,000. I’ve put a lot of hard work into it and it has paid off. I came with a lot (of) dreams and I was very hungry and worked my ass off. I’m very grateful for this country and it has given me a better life, not only for me but (for) my family. I’m very grateful to America.


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First Randy Romero Pure Courage Award to Mena

The group of nine friends from Louisiana that launched the Randy Romero Pure Courage Award this year to honor the Racing Hall of Fame rider who died in 2019, as well as current jockeys who overcome adversity, announced their first winner Feb. 20: Miguel Mena.

Mena battled back from severe injuries suffered in a spill March 18, 2018, at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, where he suffered multiple fractures in his right heel and ankle. At the time, he was the meet’s leading rider. He returned to riding later that year and earned a pair of grade 3 wins in 2019 at Keeneland, guiding Bobby’s Wicked One to victory in the Commonwealth Stakes and Peace Achieved to a score in the Dixiana Bourbon Stakes. Organizers noted that Mena prevailed in a close vote that included finalists Tim Thornton, Victor Espinoza, and Kendrick Carmouche.

The Pure Courage Award will be presented between races at Fair Grounds March 21, which is Louisiana Derby Day. The trophy is being designed by Steve Gibson of Gibson Artworks, and the presentation will be made by Dan Schneider; his wife, Annie; and their daughter, Kristi. The Schneiders are the focus of the highly acclaimed documentary “The Pharmacist.”

Romero, a winner of 4,294 races and $75.2 million in earnings from 1973-99, was the regular rider of such elite distaffers as Go for Wand and Personal Ensign, with whom he teamed to win the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) in 1988 to complete an unbeaten career. He won 122 graded stakes and riding titles at 10 tracks.

Mena, Clark Suffer Multiple Fractures In Spill At Fair Grounds

A three-horse spill in Thursday’s eighth race at Fair Grounds Race Course & slots injured a pair of riders. Kerwin Clark was aboard ill-fated Ellashoo when the 4-year-old filly broke down nearing the five-sixteenth’s pole, setting off a chain reaction that resulted a pair of other horses falling – A Fashion Affair (Miguel Mena) and Queen Bernardina (Gabriel Saez).

Clark complained of pain in his neck, jaw and ribs and Miguel Mena, who entered the day as Fair Grounds leading rider at the meet with 55 victories, suffered an injury to his right ankle. Both were transported to University Medical Center of New Orleans for further evaluation.

Mena was diagnosed with multiple fractures in his right ankle and heel, according to The jockey could miss as much as six months because of the injury.

Clark suffered a collapsed lung, a broken jaw, and at least one broken rib, per his agent, Charles Ashy Jr.

Saez got up under his own power and rode the next race. Ellashoo had to be put down. Trainer Bret Calhoun reported that his Queen Bernardina “appears to be fine”. Andrew Valenzuela, trainer of A Fashion Affair, was unable to be reached.

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