Veteran Horse Racing Jockey Miguel Mena Dies After Being Hit by Car Just Days Before His Birthday

Miguel Mena won almost 2,100 thoroughbred races in North America and earned more than $72 million in prize money

Miguel Mena
Photo: Garry Jones/AP/Shutterstock

Miguel Mena, a legendary horse jockey who twice raced in the Kentucky Derby, was killed on Halloween after he was hit by a car in Louisville, Kentucky.

According to Churchill Downs, Mena was killed in the pedestrian accident on Sunday night, just days before his 35th birthday on Saturday.

"This news is absolutely shocking, terrible, and heartbreaking," Churchill Downs Racetrack President Mike Anderson said in a statement. "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," Anderson continued.

Miguel Mena
Bill Frakes /Sports Illustrated via Getty

Throughout his career, Mena won 2,079 races in North America and earned $72,483,396 in prize money, the organization said of the native Peruvian.

At Churchill Downs, Mena has 481 wins, which ranks him 15th all-time at the track.

"He was a talented rider and a very likable guy," trainer Al Stall Jr. told the Louisville Courier-Journal of Mena. "He worked my best horses in the mornings and rode some in the afternoon."

"He had a tremendous amount of talent and he delivered for us over the years," he continued.

Mena was pronounced dead at the scene following the accident, and no charges are pending, police told CNN. His death has been ruled an accident, the outlet said.

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"He was always really intelligent on horses and knowing what horses were going to be in what races," jockey Brian Hernandez told the Courier-Journal of Mena.

"A really smart rider I guess is the best way to put it," he added, "just knowing what horse ran well the time before and knowing what horse he needed to beat."

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