Miguel Mena is only 23-years-old. Why would a young man need to be getting a second chance? All young men and women are trying to get it together at this age. But, for Mena, things were coming fast. As for all athletes, fast success can be dangerous….
On July 30, Mena won aboard Backtalk at Saratoga Race Course. This was one of the best things that could have ever happened to a rider, and for him it was the worst. He came from a poor Peruvian family that was entrenched in the racing game. Money for him was new. Then came the parties, friends, and everything mom warned you about… Things were hitting the fan….
He overslept for a flight to West Virginia the next morning. If he had awoken, he would have been aboard the West Virginia winner. The world was drawing a breath about the young man who had just rode a flawless ride the day before…. A month later, he gets thrown in the hole for a D.U.I in Louisville, Kentucky… Business was bad, and racing can have a long memory for those who don’t make it better.
Well, it is too early to crown him back in the saddle. He is attending A.A. meetings, and is getting back in the groove at Fair Grounds. He has not missed any morning assignments, and things are turning slowly. That was Mena aboard Jody Slews yesterday in the Silver Bullet Day Stakes at Fair Grounds, for three-year-old fillies. He scored going four wide, and had the look of a new man. I think if Mena stays the course, he may have a nice Kentucky Oaks mount. I was watching today, and I caught him winning three races. I didn’t catch all of the card, but I knew he was definitely changing.
We all find ourselves in a bad way. If you have not, you have not lived an eventful life. Men are judged by the way they handle the tough things that come their way. Anyone can lose, but winning is hard. It takes dedication, hard work, and most of all, focus. Something tells me as this blog is being stamped with a date and time, that we can look back and check on my words. Miguel Mena is back. Don’t buy all of the stock you can, but he is on the rise. Bad things happen to good people. It is what they do to come out of that tailspin that defines the man. I think at 23- years-old, Miguel Mena will make his family proud, and will make a mark on the game.