By Kathleen Adams
Standing in the lobby of his lawyer's downtown Louisville, Ky., office building, jockey Shane Sellers announced Dec. 15 he has officially retired from racing.
Surrounded by his lawyer, Mike Goodman, fellow jockey Brian Peck, and two representatives from the Jockeys' Guild, Sellers said his decision to leave the sport was made easy because of continued problems over disability insurance for jockeys.
Sellers, 38, said during his 22-year career he rolled the dice too long and is now virtually uninsurable.
This isn't the first time the Louisiana-native has announced his retirement. In 2000, Sellers suffered a serious knee injury during a riding accident at the Fair Grounds. He returned to racing in August 2002, but quit due to lingering pain from the injury.
A father of three, Sellers said he will most likely move his family from Kentucky to Louisiana where he has a 2-year-old filly in training. He's also planning to resume the singing career he began in 2003 when he released a country music CD, "Matthew, Mark, Luke and Earnhardt."
"I'm looking at songs right now," Sellers said. "The future holds happiness for me. I'm going to spend time with my kids. As a professional athlete you tend to neglect them."
And even though he'll no longer be riding professionally, Sellers, who says he now weighs 135 pounds, doesn't plan to stop speaking out publicly about the issue of jockey insurance.
Having essentially stopped riding Oct. 2 Sellers leaves racing with more than 4,000 wins and purse earnings of about $130 million. He rode in 13 Kentucky Derbies. his best finish third aboard Wild Gale in the 1993 running.
Sellers won the 2000 Travers Stakes (gr. I) on Unshaded, the 1997 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) aboard Countess Diana, and the 1998 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. I) with Buck's Boy.
A native of Erath, La., this year Sellers won 146 races from 698 mounts for earnings of more than $6.5 million.