03/27/2003 1:00AM

Meche has days shaved from ban


NEW ORLEANS - The Louisiana State Racing Commission gave jockey Donnie Meche good news mingled with bad this week. Meche, handed a 30-day suspension for a positive drug test at Fair Grounds, dropped his appeal of that ruling and was granted credit for days he served in February for another suspension at Delta Downs.

The commission's decision allows Meche to resume riding sooner than anticipated, but he will not be back in time to take the mount on Lady Tak in the Grade 1 Ashland on April 5 at Keeneland.

The undefeated Lady Tak is Meche's best horse, and he rode her to an easy win in the Fair Grounds Oaks here in her last start. Trainer Steve Asmussen wants to stick with Meche in the Ashland, but said Corey Lanerie will ride Lady Tak if Meche remains suspended.

The commission this week told Meche's attorney, Sonny Garcia, that it had granted his request that days Meche sat out after his suspension at Delta count toward his drug suspension at Fair Grounds. Even so, Meche can't ride again until April 10, too late for Lady Tak, and Garcia said the commission hadn't credited Meche with as many days as he had served.

"I think what they did was completely unfair," said Garcia, who said he would explore further legal action.

Meche was suspended at Delta for not doing his best to win a trial race there. That case was handed by the Delta stewards to the commission but has yet to be resolved.