Meche Suspended Seven Months, Fined $1,500

Oaklawn Park stewards suspended jockey Donnie Meche through Oct. 15 and fined him a total $1,500 for two separate violations cited in an April 8 ruling.

Meche, 31, was suspended 90 days, from March 20 to June 17, and fined $500 for his refusal to furnish a drug test as ordered by Oaklawn stewards. The rider was also suspended 120 days, from June 18 through Oct. 15, and fined $1,000 for "conduct detrimental to racing and violation of the rules of the Arkansas Racing Commission," the ruling stated. His suspensions are to be served consecutively.

Stewards also ordered Meche to enroll in an in-house drug abuse program approved by the Arkansas Racing Commission and to complete the program with a positive evaluation and a negative drug test.

Meche had been suspended since March 20, pending his appearance before stewards, after refusing to submit to a urine test. Meche was at Oaklawn to ride in the Rebel Stakes (gr. III). According to the initial ruling by the Arkansas Racing Commission, Meche allegedly attempted to bribe Oaklawn's assistant security supervisor.

This is not the first time Meche has been suspended. In April 2003, the Louisiana State Racing Commission suspended the rider for one year after he failed to do his best to win a race that January at Delta Downs.

Meche also received a 30-day suspension from Fair Grounds stewards in 2003 after he tested positive for an amphetamine. He returned to riding in July 2004.

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