04/22/2002 11:00PM

Fair Grounds shortens meet

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Fair Grounds in New Orleans will not race Mondays in December this year as part of its 85-day calendar for 2002-2003 approved by the Louisiana Racing Commission at a meeting Monday. The season will begin as usual on Thanksgiving Day - this year on Nov. 28 - and run through March 31, 2003.

As it did last year, Fair Grounds will overlap with Delta Downs in Vinton, La., which was granted an 80-night Thoroughbred meet from Nov. 7, 2002 to March 23, 2003. Delta was also awarded 50 nights of Quarter Horse racing next year, from April 4 to June 29.

* In other business, owner-trainer Bradley Cathey was suspended six months and fined $2,500 for funding a claim on one of his own starters, Clinton Hunting, at Fair Grounds on March 14. Cathey supplied money to the account of owner Garrie Necaise for the $5,000 claim of Clinton Hunting. Necaise won a 13-way shake for Clinton Hunting, and after the race the horse was returned to Cathey's barn.

* Quarter Horse jockey Charles McMahon was suspended for five years for "possession or attempted possession"of an electrical device at Delta Downs. McMahon was not present Monday.