06/13/2004 11:00PM

Meche cleared to ride again


The Louisiana State Racing Commission approved jockey Donnie Meche for licensing Monday, ending Meche's one-year suspension for failing to do his best to win a race at Delta Downs on the night of Jan. 23, 2003.

Meche must still formally apply for a license, and he is not yet at riding weight, but his attorney, Sonny Garcia, said Meche was ready to resume his career.

"He's got to lose a few pounds. He's not quite fit. But he's ready to ride," Garcia said.

Meche, who has been living in central Louisiana, is expected to make his comeback at Louisiana Downs.

In February 2003, Delta stewards suspended Meche six months for his ride aboard Cleaning House. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Cleaning House was the 3-5 favorite in one of two trial races for the $50,000 Graduation Futurity. Cleaning House finished third, beaten 2 3/4 lengths in the Trial, though he returned to win the Futurity final.

Delta stewards cited Meche for failing to whip his mount in the trial race "in a manner consistent with using his best efforts to win" and for violating a racing rule that forbids a rider from "doing anything that has the effect of diminishing the chance of the horse winning any race."

Meche's case went before the commission in late April of 2003, and his suspension was increased to one year. Meche and Garcia appealed in civil district court, but failed to have the suspension overturned.