Race of the Week 2017

Sellers Returning to Arlington Park

Arlington Park.

“Shane!  Come back!”  For movie buffs, it became one of the most famous exit lines in cinematic history, uttered by child actor Brandon De Wilde as the wounded gunslinger Shane, played by Alan Ladd, rode off into the mountains in the 1953 classic Western.  Will Shane recover, or will he die?  That’s left for the audience to determine after the theater lights go up.


Jockey Shane Sellers, who set a single season record of 219 wins during a meeting at Arlington that still stands, left Chicago as a rising star who kept ascending for a number of years after that before hitting a slippery slope.  Some mistakes that followed eventually led to Sellers’ retirement from the saddle for four and a half years.  However, that retirement ended last year.


Shane lives!  He has come back – first at Louisiana Downs, and then at Fair Grounds for a successful winter in New Orleans.   This spring and summer he has continued his success at Delaware Park, and now he’s coming back to Arlington for the rest of the summer.


“I’m looking forward to coming back to the place where I had such success,” said Sellers over the phone Thursday morning while speaking from Delaware.  “I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given since I came out of retirement, and also for this opportunity to get with Pat Cuccurullo as my agent and come back to Chicago.  He’s been a trainer at Arlington in recent years and we have a lot of the same old acquaintances from the old days.


“This really feels like a good fit for me right now,” said Sellers of his impending return.  “It feels good and I’m very excited.  I feel like a bug boy again.


“I have a long way to go,” said Sellers, “and I have a lot of amends to make, but I’m making progress.  When I first got to Delaware, I went by the barn of Larry and Cindy Jones to say hello, and basically they let me know I could say hello but they weren’t going to use me on any of their horses.


“Then, Larry and Cindy and I kept running into each other after Bible classes at Delaware and eventually we got to talking.    Then one day, I looked on the overnight and they had put me on one of their horses. 


“One thing that made me feel real good was something that Larry said to me the other day,” Sellers said.  “He said, ‘I like the Shane Sellers I’m seeing today.’


“I like the ‘me’ I’m seeing today, too,” concluded Sellers.  “When Larry says something to me like that, and (trainer) Frank (Bobby) Springer said something very much like that, it makes me feel like I’m doing something right.  If I can continue in that pattern, and combine that with all the abilities I have as a rider, I see no reason I can’t get back to where I once was.”




Now available for viewing on the Arlington Park website at arlingtonparklive.com are three new blogs.

Alyssa Ali, Arlington’s entertainment reporter, promises, “I’ve got your scoop from the Park from fashion and celebrity sightings to food and cocktails.”


Brian Spencer, of Arlington’s handicapping department, says the late return of his blog is actually pretty good, because, “We’re out of the mayhem of the Triple Crown season, we just passed Prairie State Festival Day, and that always reminds me that it’s mere weeks until Million Preview Day (July 17) and then we approach the International Festival of Racing on Arlington Million Day (Aug. 21).”


The Inez Karlsson blog will allow fans a one-of-a-kind chance to go up close and personal with one of Arlington’s most popular jockeys.  She was Arlington’s leading apprentice in 2008 and was fifth in the current standings entering Thursday’s Arlington program.




Jessica Pacheco, racing analyst at Arlington Park and Fair Grounds Race Course, has been named as one of Thoroughbred racing’s “40 Under 40” club – profiling young people with careers worthy of  watching in the Sport of Kings.


“The thing I like best about this is that shows that there are a lot of people under 40 in this industry,” Pacheco said.  “Sometimes people erroneously believe that there are no young people that are pursuing careers in this business.”




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