Meche Will Take Suspension to Court

Jockey Donnie Meche will appeal a one-year nationwide suspension in which stewards ruled he did not do his best to win a race at Delta Downs in January.

The Louisiana State Racing Commission voted 6-1 Tuesday to suspend Meche after agreeing with the stewards' decision. Meche's lawyer, Sonny Garcia, said he will appeal in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

``I thought we presented enough evidence,'' Meche said. ``Everything is on the tape. I was just doing my job.''

Meche finished third aboard Cleaning House at Delta Downs on Jan. 23. Cleaning House, a 2-5 favorite, momentarily stumbled and drifted to the left at the start, a race video showed.

Meche said the horse slipped a second time midway through the turn, and he believed the horse was hurt. The horse was discovered to have a hoof injury following the race.

``Sometimes you have to sacrifice the purse to save the horse,'' Meche said during testimony that lasted more than an hour.

Delta Downs steward Aaron Emigh said he believed Cleaning House would have won had Meche ``performed his duties.'' Emigh, a former jockey, said he thinks the horse's injury was not severe, based on the progress Cleaning House made after his early stumble.

The Louisiana Racing Commission has upheld the stewards' ruling and increased Meche's suspension from six months to one year following the April 29 meeting. Delta Downs stewards originally suspended Meche in February for failing to do his best to win a race.