Miguel Mena, one of the most successful jockeys in Churchill Down’s history, was killed in a pedestrian accident in Louisville, Kentucky, just six days after his 35th birthday, the racetrack said in a statement Monday.
Churchill Downs said Mena – whose full name was Jose Miguel Mena Rodriguez – was hit by a vehicle and killed.
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He was pronounced dead at the scene. There are no charges, police said. The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office has stated in a press release that Menas’ death was an accident and stated that he died of injuries.
“This news is absolutely shocking, horrific and heartbreaking,” President Mike Anderson of Churchill Downs Racetrack said in a statement.
“Our team is devastated to hear of Miguel’s passing. He was such a brave rider who fought to overcome numerous challenges and adversity.
“We will miss his bright smile. Our deepest sympathy is sent to his many friends, fellow riders and family, and our immediate thoughts go to his wife April and his daughters Naelah and Montserrat.”
The two-time winner of the prestigious Stephen Foster Stakes won 2,079 races in North America and has raced 16,234 races, earning him $ 72,483,396 in prize money, according to the race track.
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Mena reached the milestone with 2,000 wins aboard the Royal Commission in Ellis Park on July 4, 2020.
Mena, who was born in Lima, Peru, came from a horse racing background, Churchill Downs said. His father, Jose, was a jockey, and his uncle, Humberto, is a coach.
At the age of 11, Mena began grooming horses. He came to the United States as a 17-year-old and wanted to win his first North American race at the Calder Race Course in 2003, according to the racetrack.
In the fall of 2006, the Peruvian began riding at Churchill Downs, where he would win 481 times, placing him number 15 through time.
His last trip, according to Churchill Downs, was last Saturday at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky.
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