04/23/2003 11:00PM

Kentucky denies Meche


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Jockey Donnie Meche has been denied a jockey's license by the Kentucky Racing Commission pending resolution of his legal troubles in Louisiana. On Wednesday, Meche was replaced aboard Lady Tak, one of the favorites in Friday's Kentucky Oaks.

Meche said he is "pretty bummed out about how things have turned out" but that he is hopeful he will be exonerated Tuesday at a hearing before the Louisiana State Racing Commission.

"We're waiting to see what happens in Louisiana and will proceed from there," said Bernie Hettel, executive director of the Kentucky commission.

Meche's ride in a Jan. 23 trial race at Delta Downs is the subject of Tuesday's hearing in New Orleans. Meche's mount in that race, Cleaning House, finished third as a heavy favorite after stumbling at the break. Some two weeks after the race, Meche was ordered suspended for 180 days by the Louisiana Racing Commission for not putting forth his best effort, a charge Meche denies. Meche received a stay of the suspension from a civil district court.

Meche rode Lady Tak to five straight wins before the filly incurred her first career defeat in the Ashland Stakes on April 5, when he was serving the final few days of a 30-day suspension for a substance abuse violation. Corey Lanerie rode Lady Tak in the Ashland. Jerry Bailey will ride Lady Tak at Churchill Downs in the 129th Oaks.