12/15/2004 12:00AM

Sellers hangs up tack again

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Jockey Shane Sellers formally announced his retirement Wednesday while reiterating his dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs facing North American jockeys.

Sellers, 38, made the announcement at a news conference at the law offices of his attorney in downtown Louisville, Ky. Sellers, who won 4,069 races, was at the forefront of the ongoing jockey-insurance controversy that hit its peak at Churchill Downs on Nov. 10. Although Sellers was inactive at the time, he was instrumental in 14 jockeys refusing to ride, leading to their banishment from the track for the duration of the fall meet.

Sellers also has crusaded for jockeys on other issues, including media rights and weight levels.

This is the second time Sellers has said he did not plan to ride again. The first came in the summer of 2002 in Chicago, when he was experiencing severe pain from a December 2000 knee injury. After about a year and a half, Sellers briefly returned to riding until Oct. 2, when he said he was quitting over the current insurance dispute.

Among the many high points of Sellers' career were Breeders' Cup victories aboard Countess Diana in the 1997 Juvenile Fillies and Buck's Boy in the 1998 Turf. Sellers won riding titles at Churchill, Keeneland, Gulfstream Park, and Arlington Park. His 23,778 mounts earned more than $122.4 million.

Sellers will continue living in Louisville with his wife, Kelli, and three children.