Churchill Downs released a statement on Monday confirming news of Mena’s tragic death.
“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.”
Jeffersontown Police Chief Rick Sanders told the Courier-Journal that Mena was apparently exiting a rideshare vehicle and walked up a ramp onto Interstate 64. He was struck just after 7:30 p.m. after attempting to cross traffic lanes.
According to the report, there are “no charges pending.”
“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 was born in Peru where he grew up around horse racing before attending the famed Jorge Bernardini Yori Jockey School. At 17, he traveled to the United States to compete, winning his first-ever North American win at Calder Race Course in 2003.
Despite being one of Churchill Downs’ most winningest jockeys, he never claimed a riding title.