by Kathleen Adams
Shane Sellers may be giving up his career as a jockey, but he intends to remain quite involved with industry issues pertaining to jockeys.
As he stood in the lobby of his lawyer's downtown Louisville, Ky., office building Dec. 15, Sellers announced he is officially retired from riding. His lawyer, Mike Goodman; fellow jockey Brian Peck; and two representatives from the Jockeys' Guild joined Sellers at a press conference.
"I didn't want to walk away," Sellers said. "From a jockey's standpoint, I'm disgusted with this industry."
Sellers, 38, said during his 22-year career he rolled the dice too long and is now virtually uninsurable.
It 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 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 would most likely move his family from Kentucky to Louisiana, where he has a 2-year-old filly in training. He also is 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 said he now weighs 135 pounds, doesn't plan to stop speaking out publicly about the issue of jockey insurance.
"I'm going to be the voice these guys are scared to be because they're afraid of losing mounts," he said. "I truly care about all riders. I'm going to pray for everybody wearing white pants."
At the forefront of the recent controversy involving disability insurance, Sellers stopped short of saying a war would be waged between the racing industry and jockeys associated with Guild.
"If the industry doesn't start and come to negotiate with us, they're going to wish that they did," he said.
Sellers rode in his last race Oct. 2 at Hoosier Park. He retires with total purse earnings of more than $123 million.