Arlington Park Barn Notes (9/16/10)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
SHANE SELLERS SUMMARIZES RETURN TO SADDLE SO FAR
Jockey Shane Sellers, considered one of the premier riders in the nation less than a decade ago, returned from a 4 1/2-year hiatus last summer at Evangeline Downs, rode last winter at Fair Grounds where he finished fifth in the standings, and came to Arlington for the first time this year on the 37th day of the meeting.
After winning with his first mount back aboard Talons Racing LLC’s Laguna Moon for trainer Wayne Catalano, Sellers has climbed steadily up the standings to the 13th position through Sunday’s program despite his late arrival. Obviously, he has ridden far fewer mounts than the 12 riders in front of him.
So how did Sellers evaluate his current summer at Arlington after establishing a single-season mark of 219 wins here in 1991 – a record that still stands?
“Obviously, I couldn’t expect to come in here and win 219 races,” Sellers said, “and I can’t be as strong as I used to be. I turn 45-years-old later this month (Sept. 24), but the test I passed for myself was that I can still make decisions in a race. You have to remain mentally sharp to do that.
“Another thing that was new to me this summer here was Polytrack,” Sellers said. “I’d never ridden on Polytrack before and I have finished second in a lot of races. Maybe if I’d had a little more experience on Polytrack some of those seconds would have been firsts.
“Other than that, I believe I’m riding as good as I ever did because my mind is clear,” Sellers said. “I’m in a much better place than I was five years ago. At that time, I not only burned a lot of bridges – I blew ‘em up. I’m where I need to be right now. Hopefully, I can ride for another four or five years and make a living until my little girl graduates.
“However, it’s also a joy to come back here to Arlington and ride with these kids,” Sellers said. “There are a lot of good riders here now and they are great people, too. To see this level of talent among the young guys, I feel one of the best things I can do is to be positive for them and show them what to do and what not to do.
“Spiritually, I’m in a great place right now,” Sellers concluded, “and I think professionally I’m in a great place right now, too. I’m happy to be back riding and happy to be back at Arlington. I have the respect of my family and friends, and I’m back enjoying the sport that I love. And more than anything, I hope to be a positive force on people for the rest of my life.”
HIGH PROFILE HORSE GIVES ARLINGTON ‘THIRD CHANCE’ FOR HEADLINES
Ron Magers and Bob Marcocchio’s Third Chance finished third in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie last Saturday but the trainer, the jockey and the owner all remained positive about the filly’s future in the Lassie’s aftermath.
“She finished first in her first start and third in the Lassie, so maybe since her name is Third Chance, she can finish first again in her third start,” said trainer Jimmy DiVito. “The best thing that we wanted to find out last week was if we could get her to relax, and we found out she can do that. The pace the other day was fast, but it might have worked out a little better for us if one of my other fillies in there had gotten the lead. Then it would have been even faster.”
Jockey Shane Sellers, aboard Third Chance in the Lassie, followed the explicit instructions he was given before the race.
“I tried to sit off the speed,” Sellers said. “I was worried she wouldn’t rate but she rated good. I inherited the lead turning for home. I pretty much had to go then.”
Fortunately, Third Chance’s co-owner Magers, as the longtime dean of Chicago newscasters and anchorman at the ABC affiliate WLS in recent years, agreed with the trainer and the jockey.
“You rode the horse perfectly,” Magers told Sellers immediately after the race. “We got exactly the ride we needed and it was what we feared, that in the second race of her life she wouldn’t have the stamina to finish that mile. But she sure looks like she’ll be competitive with anybody.
“There’s a hundred thousand dollar stake for Illinois fillies the end of October at Hawthorne ($100,000 Showtime Deb Stakes Oct. 30),” Magers concluded when addressing the media, “and we’ll see you there.”
REMINDER: FRIDAY’S POST TIME AT 2 PM
Arlington guests and fans of Arlington’s simulcast signal are reminded that post time for this Friday’s first race will be at 2 pm due to waning daylight hours in September.
- END -