07/07/2006 12:00AM

Good year for young jockeys


In the last several years, no apprentice riding at Louisiana Downs has won as many as 10 races at the meet. But heading into this weekend, apprentices Cody Meche, 16 years old, and David Lee Bourque, 17, have already combined for 41 victories.

Both riders have good bloodlines. Meche, who had three wins on the July 4 card, is the younger brother of twins Donnie and Lonnie Meche, who have each won riding titles in the region. Bourque is the son of successful rider and longtime Midwestern regular Curt Bourque and the nephew of former rider Kenny "Chopper" Bourque.

David Lee Bourque enjoyed the biggest week of his short career during this past long holiday weekend when he booted home three winners on Friday and another two on Saturday. Bourque's agent is Ronald Ardoin, a winner of more than 5,000 career races and Louisiana Downs's all-time leading rider.

Hebert's chase put on hold

Journeyman rider Tracy Hebert is rapidly closing in on his 3,000th victory. Through the July 4 holiday, Hebert had 2,991 victories. That total stood briefly at 2,992 following last Tuesday's seventh race when Hebert guided Katie Wild to an apparent victory. The stewards ruled that Hebert caused his mount to drift out in the late going under a left-handed stick, however, and disqualified Hebert from first to second.

The infraction also resulted in a seven-day suspension, so Hebert's quest for a career milestone will have to wait.

Wide-open turf feature

Sunday's feature race, a first-level allowance for Louisiana-breds on turf, drew a field of 10, and the betting public appears to have their work cut out for them, not only in selecting a winner, but also establishing a favorite.

, a 4-year-old Zarbyev gelding, could be a slight choice off a third-place finish in a similar spot last time out. He also finished third in his only other turf start this year. Donnie Meche will ride.

defeated $25,000 maiden claimers over the local turf course two starts ago and most recently ran fourth in his first try against winners. He is trained by Pam Simpson and will have Lonnie Meche in the saddle.

Younger brother Cody Meche will attempt to complete the all-Meche trifecta with , who will be making his first start on the grass and comes into Sunday's race off a hard-earned neck victory in maiden special weight company on June 16. Bodacious Bob is trained by Andy Leggio.