Oaklawn Stewards Set Hearing Date for Meche

Suspended jockey Donnie Meche has been asked to appear before the Oaklawn Park stewards March 31 to respond to the allegation of attempting to bribe a track official.

The rider was suspended March 19 for refusing to submit to a urine test ordered by the stewards. According to the ruling by the Arkansas Racing Commission, Meche allegedly attempted to bribe Oaklawn's assistant security supervisor.

Oaklawn stewards said March 24 that Meche has been notified of the hearing date, but because his suspension is under investigation, "it would be inappropriate to further comment until after the hearing,"

Meche was not immediately available for comment.

Meche, who is based at Fair Grounds, was scheduled to ride Jazzy Gallop in the March 19 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn. Roman Chapa replaced Meche aboard Jazzy Gallop, who finished fifth.

Fair Grounds has also suspended Meche pending his appearance before Oaklawn stewards. The rider was taken off five mounts March 20 at the New Orleans track.

In April 2003, Meche was given a one-year suspension by the Louisiana State Racing Commission, which backed a ruling issued that February by Delta Downs stewards. The action stemmed from a stewards' ruling that Meche failed to do his best to win aboard 2-5 favorite Cleaning House in a Jan. 23 race at Delta Downs.

He was suspended for six months, but the commission doubled the suspension. Meche also received a 30-day suspension from Fair Grounds stewards in 2003 after he tested positive for an amphetamine.

Meche is currently ranked third in jockey standings at Fair Grounds with 72 wins from 366 mounts and earnings of $1,514, 534. He was tied for second with James Graham before his recent suspension.