Veteran rider Shane Sellers has partnered with Bridget Parker of Parker View Farm to begin a Thoroughbred operation in Versailles, Ky., the jockey confirmed Sept. 25.
Sellers, who turned 47 Sept. 24, has been rehabbing from a fractured right shoulder blade incurred in a June 29 spill at Churchill Downs. He said he still plans to accept mounts at the upcoming Keeneland meet that opens Oct. 5 in Lexington, as well as at Churchill Downs and continuing on to Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in his home state of Louisiana, but that "I can't ride forever" and "I just look at it as a good opportunity to stay involved with the sport I love."
Parker View Farm, on Pisgah Pike near WinStar Farm, has produced champion Saddlebred horses for decades. Sellers' arrangement with Parker will begin with keeping mares and layups at the 55-acre facility, expanding to breaking and training young horses in the future.
"I think it's fabulous Shane's going to have Thoroughbreds here," Parker said. "He's a really good horseman, and it'll be great."
Sellers and Parker will work with Pat Huffman, son of the late trainer William G. "Blackie" Huffman, to run the operation. The duo also helped Parker select a few Thoroughbreds to run in her name, including a 3-year-old filly by The Cliff's Edge , who Sellers rode to victory in three graded stakes events including the 2004 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
"We picked out that filly and three yearlings for her, nothing big money, just enough for her to get a taste of it and let her move in slowly and show her what it's all about, because she's definitely into it," Sellers said. "We need new people in our business and she's got everything it takes to make this work."
Parker even named a Standardbred colt after Sellers; Shane Sellers, the weanling son of Parker's stallion My Royale Charm, took third in his debut at the World's Championship Horse Show in Louisville at Freedom Hall.
"She has a lovely facility," Sellers remarked. "We'll be starting slowly but surely. I've got some good horses I've been getting on and I'm looking forward to Keeneland, so we'll have other people to run it right now, but I'm excited about the adventure to come."
Sellers, who rode his first winner at a pari-mutuel track in 1983, is one of the few remaining active "Cajun" jockeys of Louisiana. To date he has ridden 4,387 winners from 26,064 mounts, with 3,799 seconds and 3,282 thirds, for earnings of $131,341,413. His victories include the 1997 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) with Countess Diana and the 1998 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) with Buck's Boy, and was the regular rider for greats such as Black Tie Affair, Pulpit, and Skip Away, among others.