04/08/2005 11:00PM

Meche gets 7-month ban


Jockey Donnie Meche has been suspended through Oct. 15 and fined a total of $1,500 by Oaklawn Park stewards for two separate violations cited in a ruling issued Saturday. An attorney representing Meche waived the rider's right to an appeal, according to the stewards at Oaklawn.

Meche was suspended 90 days, from March 20 through June 17, and fined $500 for refusing to furnish a drug test as ordered by the Oaklawn stewards. He also was suspended 120 days, from June 18 through Oct. 15, and was fined $1,000 for "conduct detrimental to racing," according to the ruling.

In an initial ruling in March, which suspended Meche pending an appearance before the Oaklawn stewards, he was asked to respond to the allegation that he attempted to bribe a security official at the track.

The stewards had no further comment regarding the ruling issued on Saturday.

Meche's suspensions are to be served consecutively, and he must enroll in an inpatient drug-abuse program accepted by the Arkansas Racing Commission. He must complete the program with "a positive evaluation and a negative drug test," according to the stewards' ruling.

The extended suspension is the second such punishment drawn by Meche, 31. He was suspended for a year for failing to do his best to win a trial race at Delta Downs in January 2003. He returned to riding in July 2004, and was at Oaklawn in March to ride in the Grade 3 Rebel.