09/18/2001 11:00PM

Sellers facing end of career


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Shane Sellers said Wednesday his injured knee has left his future as a jockey in grave jeopardy, and that doctors have told him he may be forced to retire. Sellers last rode Sept. 9 in the Atto Mile at Woodbine, a day after he surprised Arlington onlookers by saying he would leave the jockey colony here and go home to Louisville, where his knee would be re-examined.

Sellers was badly injured at Fair Grounds this winter when he was thrown from a horse during the warmup period before a race. Sellers initially feared for his career when doctors discovered the severity of the damage to his knee, but after undergoing surgery and an extensive rehabilitation, he returned to race riding at Arlington in August. Sellers rode four winners here and had just won the Spectacular Bid Stakes on Sept. 8 when he said that his knee was causing constant pain and that he was putting his comeback on hold.

The two doctors who performed the surgery did not have good news this week. "They said my future as a rider is pretty much over," he said. "Everything that could have been done to my knee has been done."

Sellers said he was relying on pain pills to help him get through his work. "I thought it might get better, but the more I rode, the worse it got," he said. "It's gotten to where it was getting hard to even walk in the morning.

"My question to the doctors was: Will I ever ride without pain? They couldn't say that."

Sellers stressed, however, that he's not yet retired, and that he was still pondering his future. "Quitting's something that's not in my vocabulary."

The 34-year-old Sellers, among the nation's leading riders for several seasons, holds Arlington's season record for wins, 219 in 1991.

Guidry still without agent

Meanwhile, another leading Arlington rider, Mark Guidry, remained without an official agent as of Wednesday. Guidry's agent, Ronnie Ebanks, ended his professional relationship with Guidry earlier this week to begin handling business for Jorge Chavez.

Guidry changed his plans to ride in New York during September and returned to Chicago last week, but was back at Belmont on Wednesday to honor a commitment aboard the 2-year-old Coach Knight.

"I can understand Ronnie's point of view," Guidry said. "But I took it personal. I kind of felt like he did let me down."

Ebanks and Guidry had been together since May, when Guidry parted ways with his longtime agent, Dennis Cooper. In July, Ebanks, formerly Shane Sellers's agent, announced Guidry's move to New York, and his hope that Guidry could cement a place on the national scene. Now, with Cooper representing Rene Douglas, the runaway leader in Arlington's jockey standings, Guidry finds himself without an agent.

Lenny Pike, Robby Albarado's agent, is booking mounts for Guidry in Chicago, but Guidry emphasized he had no formal arrangement with anyone: "I have a couple people in mind."

Guidry still plans to leave Chicago at the end of this month and ride at the Keeneland met during October.

Lassie won't have Godolphin runner

Arlington racing officials hoped that Godolphin's 2-year-old filly Imperial Gesture, a blowout maiden winner at Saratoga, would bolster the field in Saturday's Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie, but on Wednesday the filly's connections said she is staying in California and will not run in the Lassie.

Godolphin nominated five horses to the Lassie, but assistant trainer Davey Duggan said that none would start. Jilbab, a maiden winner here at Arlington, is being pointed for the Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland.

Also out of the Lassie is the overnight stakes winner Honest Deceiver. The unbeaten Miss Indiana, an allowance winner at Saratoga, will be a heavy favorite in the one-mile race.