Sellers Logs 4,000th Win; Albarado Sets Mark at FG

(from Fair Grounds report)
The top two jockeys of Fair Grounds' 2003-04 meet saved the best for last on closing day Sunday.

Shane Sellers notched career victory No. 4,000 aboard the appropriately named Destiny Calls in the $100,000 Red Camelia Handicap, while Robby Albarado set a track record with his 13th stakes win aboard Monster Move in the $31,000 Magnolia State Handicap.

Sellers, 37, needed three wins on the final day of the meet to reach the milestone in his home state. The Erath, La., native got it done in consecutive races late on the card, winning the seventh aboard Honor Prayer and the eighth on Zuni Gold before recording his milestone victory.

The win brought Sellers full circle from December 2000, when he was injured at Fair Grounds after being thrown from his mount prior to a race. He tore two ligaments in his left knee, and it was nearly two years before he would return to riding full time.

"I'm a little emotional today," Sellers said. "Two years ago, I was hurt and I didn't think I could get to this milestone.

"This is very special. It was nice to get my 4,000th win here in Louisiana. I started riding with a lot of these guys and we ride against one another daily. My first win was in 1982 at Evangeline Downs. It's been a journey from there to this win."

Sellers will head from Louisiana to Keeneland, which begins its spring meet Friday. Sellers has eight riding titles there.

Sellers also has riding titles at Churchill Downs, Arlington Park, Gulfstream Park, Hawthorne, Sportsman's Park, Fairmount Park and Delta Downs.

In the Red Camelia, Destiny Calls ($2.40) took her customary early front-running position and never looked back in scoring her fourth straight win and seventh victory in 10 lifetime starts for owner Vickie Krantz and trainer Gary Palmisano.

"She sure called today," said Palmisano. "She's been a dream. It was a lot of pressure. Man, I saw these guys betting to show, and she was 1-5, and 4,000 wins for Shane ... I couldn't wait for it to be over, really."

Said Sellers, "She's a warrior. When she leaves the gate she just jumps right underneath you. She's just a hard-running filly, and her name says it all."

The running time for about one mile on the Stall-Wilson turf course was 1:37.05, shattering the stakes record of 1:38.21 set by Mysia Jo two years ago.

Fuse It was 3 3/4 lengths back in second, followed by K Brown and Autobesarah. The field was reduced to four with the late scratch of Prized Amberpro.

Albarado – who earned his fifth Fair Grounds riding title with 106 wins, 22 ahead of Sellers – picked up the mount on Monster Move earlier Sunday, replacing Calvin Borel. Monster Move completed the six furlongs in 1:10.36.

Albarado had tied Ronald Ardoin's 10-year-old record of 12 stakes victories last weekend with his win aboard Mystery Giver in the Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT).

(Chart, Equibase)