03/29/2004 12:00AM

Sellers wins 4,000th race


Shane Sellers became the 42nd jockey to have 4,000 career victories after riding three winners at Fair Grounds on Sunday, closing day of the track's meet.

The milestone comes not long after the 37-year-old Sellers mulled permanent retirement. Late in 2000, a Frank Brothers-trained maiden unseated Sellers just after the post parade, and as Sellers tried to hang on to the reins, he twisted and badly hurt his knee. The injury forced Sellers to the sidelines, and while he focused on a fledgling career as a country music singer, his future as a jockey appeared uncertain.

But Sellers was back in earnest last year, and got a boost during this Fair Grounds meet when he began riding first call for the powerful Steve Asmussen barn.

With only four mounts on the card, Sellers was quiet until the seventh race, when he struck with an allowance horse named Honor Prayer. He then won the eighth with an Asmussen-trained first-time starter, and took the Red Camelia Handicap with a 1-9 shot named Destiny Calls.

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