Champion horse jockey and millionaire Miguel Mena died Halloween night after a car hit him as he walked along the interstate in Louisville, Ky.
Jeffersontown Police ruled the man’s death as accidental and still under investigation. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the man exited a rideshare vehicle near an intersection and walked up an I-64 ramp onto the interstate. He reportedly was trying to cross the interstate when a car hit him at 7:30 p.m.
Miguel Mena, who is survived by his wife and two daughters, was 34. One of his trainers, Al Stall Jr., later confirmed his death.
Miguel Mena earned $36k on Oct. 24 at Keeneland. Overall, he made $72 million in his career.
Jockey’s Unfortunate Accident
Born in Peru, Mena became a jockey at age 24 and started in two Kentucky Derby races. He rode 2,079 winners, including 481 at Churchill Downs, good for 15th all-time among jockeys.
Mena rode Masqueparade in the Ohio Derby and Dalika in the Robert G. Dick Memorial race recently.
The jockey community expressed their sadness after hearing about the man’s death.
“My heart hurts right now. I can’t believe this,” jockey Alex Canchari said. “RIP my friend Miguel Mena.”
Canchari called the jockey a devoted father and fearless rider while being a role model to many. He added that his heart was broken for Mena’s family and signed off his message by saying, “Rest Easy Cholo.”
Churchill Downs Racetrack president Mike Anderson released a statement, saying the news was “absolutely shocking, terrible and heartbreaking.”
Anderson talked about Mena’s courage and determination to overcome challenges and adversity. The track president said many would miss his smile.
Anderson added, “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 Montserra.”
Trainer: Mena A Likeable Guy
Stall said Miguel Mena had talent, and many liked the jockey.
“He worked my best horses in the mornings and rode some in the afternoon,” Stall said. “He had a tremendous amount of talent, and he delivered for us over the years.”
Mena had two career Grade 1 victories during his career — on Champagne d’Oro in the 2010 Test Stakes at Saratoga and Pool Play in the 2011 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs.
In 2015, Mena took wins at the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes, the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes, and the Louisiana Derby with International Star.
Mena talked to the Evansville Courier and Press after he got his 2,000th career win at Ellis Park.
“I’ve been riding since I was 16,” Mena said. “I came to America when I was 17 years old. Two thousand wins, a lot of hard work went into it, and it has paid off.”