Shane Sellers begins comeback Saturday.

Shane Sellers begins comeback Saturday.

Barbara D. Livingston

Sellers to Make Comeback at Prairie Meadows

by Dan Johnson

The nation's third-leading jockey of 2000 will launch his 2001 comeback at Prairie Meadows Aug. 25.

Shane Sellers will ride for the first time since a January spill put his career in jeopardy when he gets aboard Momentous in the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Oaks. Sellers, 34, is back seven months after having torn the anterior and medial collateral ligaments and having ripped apart the cartilage during a fall at Fair Grounds in Louisiana.

His knee was totally rebuilt with the aid of a donor ligament, and he began exercising horses two weeks ago. "I'm doing great," Sellers said. "Two months ago, I really didn't believe I'd be able come back. My doctor released me to get on horses two weeks ago. I was very optimistic after the first day. Every day I got on a horse, the better it felt.

"Right now, there's still a little bit of pain, but nothing to hinder my performance on a horse. I said from day one when I fell that I wasn't going to come back to riding if I couldn't be the same rider that I was before. Physically, I think I'll be fine. I just hope that I can ride the caliber of horses that I was before, and everything will be OK."

Sellers ranked third in the nation in earnings in 2000 with $14,881,680. During his time away from racing, Sellers landed a county-and-western contract, has done a few concerts and had a single reach the top 20. But, he said he's ready to get back in the starting gate.

"Being away from the sport was the toughest thing," Sellers said. "You go through mental stages, especially in my case, when I really didn't think I'd be able to come back. I had a great career, and you never know how much you miss something until taken away you."

Owned by Gainsborough Farm, Momentous has won three of her four races on dirt after having gone 0-for-7 in grass races. She won two allowance races at Churchill Downs, both at the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Prairie
Meadows Oaks. She is trained by Henry Cochran.