05/02/2004 11:00PM

Stevens told not to wear flags

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Gary Stevens has threatened to quit his new job with Andre Fabre and leave France after being instructed by Longchamp officials to remove the American and French flags that he had attached to his breeches Sunday, according to a report in The Racing Post.

Stevens had ridden Polish Summer to a fifth-place finish in the Group 1 Prix Ganay wearing the emblems at the top of his breeches, the American flag on one side, the French flag on the other. After the race he was told by officials to remove the decals, and Stevens complied.

France-Galop, the ruling body of French racing, does not allow advertising on breeches in group races or those with commercial sponsorship. It is not clear if flags fall in the same category.

The Racing Post reported that stewards at Longchamp had given Stevens the go-ahead to wear the flags, but the decision to remove them had come from unnamed persons higher up in the France-Galop hierarchy.