07/02/2003 11:00PM

Meche remains without license

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Jockey Donnie Meche's bid to resume riding was rebuffed Thursday when stewards at Louisiana Downs declined to license him. Earlier this week, a civil district court in New Orleans stayed a one-year suspension imposed on Meche by the Louisiana Racing Commission. Meche had hoped to begin riding again this week. His license expired June 30.

A steward at Louisiana Downs who asked for anonymity said Meche had not been denied a license. Rather, he said, "It was recommended that he not be licensed at this time."

The steward wouldn't detail the reasons Meche wasn't granted a license. Officials at the Louisiana State Racing Commission did not return calls Thursday.

Meche's attorney, Sonny Garcia, said he planned to file a lawsuit in New Orleans "either Monday or Tuesday. We'll seek injunctive relief enjoining them from preventing him from riding."

The commission suspended Meche for failing to do his best to win a race this winter at Delta Downs with a heavily favored horse named Cleaning House. Cleaning House, trained by Steve Asmussen, finished third in a trial for the Graduation Futurity, and later won the Futurity final. Delta stewards gave Meche a six-month suspension, which the commission increased to a year in April.

Garcia and Meche appealed, and in a hearing this week a New Orleans judge stayed the suspension pending another court hearing July 18.