01/11/2006 12:00AM

Kuntzweiler arrested on drug possession charges


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Jockey Greta Kuntzweiler pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Wednesday in Jefferson District Court on multiple charges involving methamphetamine manufacturing and possession.

Kuntzweiler, 30, was arrested Saturday at her residence on Southern Parkway near Churchill Downs and was charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, tampering with physical evidence, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, and unlawful possession of an ingredient to manufacture the drug.

A Louisville Metro Police report said one other person was arrested along with Kuntzweiler: Bryan Beccia, a longtime exercise rider and jockey valet who also has worked sparingly as a jockey over the last 20 years. Beccia, 40, last rode competitively at Kentucky Downs in 2002.

Any person charged with a felony in Kentucky is required to enter a plea of not guilty at his or her arraignment. The case then is assigned to a grand jury, which determines whether there is enough evidence for the case to proceed through the judicial system. Kuntzweiler was free on bond Wednesday. No date has been set for a grand jury to hear the case.

Kuntzweiler began her riding career in 1999. Her two best seasons came during her apprentice season of 2000, when her mounts won 108 races and more than $1.9 million in purses, and in 2001, when her mounts earned just over $2 million. Her biggest career win came on Oct. 2, 2004, in the Grade 2, $750,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup aboard Freefourinternet.

Kuntzweiler, who was born in Iowa and raised in Montana, had the worst year of her career in 2005, when she rode just 12 winners from 244 mounts. She has ridden primarily in Kentucky, Illinois, and Arkansas, and normally would have begun preparing for the meet at Oaklawn Park, which begins this year on Jan. 21.