09/08/2001 12:00AM

Sellers going home, may retire


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Jockey Shane Sellers said Saturday that a comeback he launched at Arlington last month - and perhaps his career - was over for now, and that he was returning to his home in Louisville to have his injured knee evaluated by his doctor.

"Maybe it's time to call it quits, but I hope not," Sellers said.

Sellers's surprising announcement came moments after he won the Spectacular Bid Stakes aboard Double Zero Seven, his first stakes win since his return from injury. The stakes win capped Sellers's most successful day this summer, as he won two races on the card to double his win total at this meet. Sellers rode in 35 races through Sunday.

The 34-year-old Sellers hurt his knee this winter at Fair Grounds when the first-time starter Hike threw him during the warmup period before a race. Sellers held onto the colt in a vain effort to keep him from running off but Hike dragged Sellers along the ground, badly injuring the rider's knee. Hike is trained by Frank Brothers and owned by Claiborne Farm, longtime supporters of Sellers.

Sellers wondered at the beginning of a long rehabilitation stint whether his career might be over. But while he pursued a budding career as a country music singer this winter and spring, his knee improved. He began exercising horses at Churchill in midsummer and returned to race riding in a Prairie Meadows stakes race on Aug. 25 before accepting mounts at Arlington on a regular basis.

But Sellers said Saturday that his knee has caused him almost constant pain. "It hasn't been good for a couple weeks," he said. "There's nothing I can do. It's very emotional, and I've been winning races, too."