04/28/2013 7:02PM

Delta Downs: Exercise rider, Quarter Horse die during training accident


Jess Meche, a former Quarter Horse jockey working as a freelance exercise rider in Louisiana, died instantly April 11 along with the horse he was working, trainer Heath Taylor confirmed Sunday. The incident happened at Delta Downs in Vinton, La., and Meche’s death was also confirmed Sunday by the track’s director of racing, Chris Warren. Meche was 21.

“Both died instantaneously,” Taylor said. 

Taylor trained the horse Meche was working, Czech Revolution, a 2-year-old Quarter Horse preparing for his career debut. The work was conducted during one of several night training sessions that Delta, which races under the lights, had offered to familiarize horses with night-racing conditions. Czech Revolution dropped dead, Taylor said, from what he believes was either a heart attack or aneurysm. Meche died on the track, at 9:30 p.m., said Warren.

Meche is a Louisiana native whose father, Robert Meche, is an owner and trainer. Meche’s first win as a Quarter Horse jockey came at Louisiana Downs on Feb. 9, 2010. He rode 121 races and compiled a record of 3 wins, 8 seconds, and 17 thirds, according to Daily Racing Form statistics. Meche was most recently an exercise rider who worked on the Louisiana circuit, said Taylor.

Taylor, who has known Meche for five years, was an honorary pallbearer during Meche’s funeral Mass in Rayne, La., on April 15.

“We lost a tremendous individual,” Taylor said Sunday. “He was a very dear friend of mine, a very good person. You’d never meet a happier, more vibrant person.

“It certainly doesn’t help anyone as far as the pain of the loss, [but] you had to be around him to know how much he loved working a horse. He was doing what he loved more than anything in the world when it happened.”

Taylor said aside from Louisiana, Meche spent time riding races in Canada. He said Meche was also a champion rodeo competitor in high school. Meche was a member of the Louisiana High School Rodeo Association, as well as some Quarter Horse breeding and racing associations, according to an obituary from Gossen Funeral Home in Rayne, La.

Meche is survived by his parents, Robert and Annette, sisters Robi, Myke and Kasie, and brother, Robert, II.

John Stevelberg More than 1 year ago
Understand it took over two weeks for DRF to report this story. Perhaps they should run a banner headline as follows "WE ARE NOT A NEWSPAPER, BUT A SHILL FOR THE RACETRACKS". Something for their "editorial board" to ponder !
Bryan Langlois More than 1 year ago
Here is the email Ray Paulick put on his website that he got from the racing commission about the deaths, RayPaulick: Here is the email I received from the Louisiana State Racing Commission in response to my questions about this tragedy: "At Delta Downs on 4/11/13, during an evening workout session, exercise rider Jess C. Meche was aboard Quarter Horse Czech Revolution owned by Craig Lager, Trainer M. Heath Taylor. The horse suffered a catastrophic breakdown (fractured both front legs), fell and landed on Jess Meche’s head and upper body. He was pronounced at the scene." Would have been nice in my opinion if an autopsy was performed, if not ordered by the Stewards of commission, then at least by the family. That would at least give an answer to the question of whether drugs were in the system or not. Heartfelt condolences to the Meche family and friends.
Hail No More than 1 year ago
Lynn said "What took Daily Racing form so long to inform us of this loss?? Hey you guys at DRF. Don' t forget about the small tracks, and small towns. " This sure isn't the Racing Form from years (decades) past...
Hail No More than 1 year ago
I'm so sorry to hear this news, so sad, Blessings to all affected,
Lynn More than 1 year ago
What took Daily Racing form so long to inform us of this loss?? Hey you guys at DRF. Don' t forget about the small tracks, and small towns. That's where these world champions came from!! Ask Calvin Borel, Kent Desormeaux, Garrett Gomez, Mark Guidry, Randy Romero,Jon Court, Pat Day.. Small towns from all over AMERICA have produced world class jockey's. You guys in the front office should do a better job of keeping the real horse racing fans up to date!! Fabio A.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
Those of us that are against the excessive use of medication in horseracing are often accused of being unreasonable. the argument goes from everybody does it to todays thoroughbreds need the Lasix and other drugs to perform. But to me unreasonable is to numb an animal to pain and expect them to run while risking a human beings life. And at the end of the day that is what it comes down to. There is already an element of risk to riding a horse at full speed why multiply the risk to all involved ?.
Charles Levy More than 1 year ago
SLOW !!!!! IT took 18 days for this to hit the paper ???? Wow !!!
Katherine Leigh More than 1 year ago
This article says Taylor had obtained a stay of his suspension while he files an appeal: http://www.paulickreport.com/news/ray-s-paddock/louisiana-exercise-rider-killed-by-horse-from-suspended-trainers-stable/
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
My condolences to Meche's family and all who knew him. I'm confused to the details. The article states that Taylor trained the horse. Is that past tense as Taylor is under a five year suspension and is not allowed on the grounds. Sounds like he was training him and on the grounds. Is he, was he, and or who is the trainer of record and why is there no word from him?
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
HC, DRF needs to do a followup on this story an this guy Taylor. We know all eyes are on Churchill now but there are too many questions left unanswered. We need to keep after Staff writers and Crist as well. Prayers for the Meche Family.
Roy Roy More than 1 year ago
god bless