09/03/2009 11:00PM

Mena to appear before Kentucky licensing panel

Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Miguel Mena was arrested Tuesday in Louisville for driving under the influence.

Jockey Miguel Mena was taken off all mounts Friday at Ellis Park because of alcohol-related issues but has been allowed to ride the final three days of the meet at the Henderson, Ky., track, pending an appearance Tuesday before a licensing review panel of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in Lexington, Ky.

On Friday morning, Kentucky chief steward John Veitch said Mena would not be permitted to ride until he appeared before the commission panel, but after consultation with Mena's attorney, Joel Turner, the decision was made to allow Mena to ride Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at Ellis "because we had arrived at a comfort zone," said Veitch. He added that Turner provided documentation Friday that Mena has been enrolled in substance-abuse programs in Louisville, Ky., in recent weeks.

Veitch said Mena will be "subject to the appropriate amount of testing to ensure that he is free and clear of anything to influence his professional ability" during closing weekend at Ellis.

Prior to being taken off his Friday mounts at Ellis, Mena rode in two races Thursday evening at Hoosier Park in Anderson, Ind., winning the second race aboard Canook and finishing seventh aboard Charming Model in the eighth.

Mena was arrested Tuesday and jailed overnight for driving under the influence in Louisville, his second alcohol-related incident in the last several weeks. On Aug. 1, Mena missed a morning flight from the Saratoga area to ride Soul Warrior, the eventual winner of the $750,000 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer Park, following a night of partying. Dale Beckner picked up the ride on Soul Warrior.

Mena rode in two more races at Saratoga before returning to Louisville, where he has a home. Veitch said Mena agreed on Aug. 5 to provide documentation to New York racing officials that he had enrolled in a substance-abuse program to allow him to continue riding at Saratoga. Veitch said Mena did not follow up and therefore has not been eligible to ride in New York.

Mena, a native of Peru, won with 7 of his first 59 mounts at the Ellis meet.

The next track where Mena likely would ride if cleared by the commission is Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. The 22-day Turfway fall meet begins Wednesday night.