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Horse Racing: Singing tribute to Earnhardt

Sunday, March 04, 2001

Jockey Shane Sellers hoped Dale Earnhardt someday would hear the song he recorded about the great race car driver. Instead, "Matthew, Mark, Luke and Earnhardt" has been offering comfort to fans in Louisville, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn., who are still mourning Earnhardt's fatal accident at Daytona.

The self-produced recording has proven so popular that Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks has signed Sellers, 34, to a recording contract for an album with options. Meanwhile, the recording company has remastered and reproduced Sellers' original single about Earnhardt. It should be in stores nationwide within the week. The album will come later.

Sellers, a big NASCAR and Earnhardt fan, recorded "Matthew, Mark, Luke and Earnhardt" about six months ago as part of an ongoing album project to produce an entire album of country southern rock with partner/songwriter Randy Boudreaux.

After Earnhardt's death, Sellers and Boudreaux decided to push up its release date and sent the single to big radio stations in Louisville and Nashville.

"The song was written a year and a half ago when he was alive. Unfortunately he died," Sellers said. "This song was instrumental in getting the record deal, but it wasn't my intent."

He said he is proud that the song has become an audio tribute to Earnhardt.

The timing of the call from James Stroud, president of the DreamsWork record label, couldn't have come at a better time for Sellers. The jockey has been laid up since sustaining serious damage to his left knee in an odd spill at the Fair Grounds Dec. 22. There are no guarantees he will ride again.

"It was a spill in the post parade," Sellers said. "I was holding onto him, a 2-year-old, when he drug me down the track. Then I tripped and fell beneath him."

The horse trampled Sellers' knee. The damage included a ruptured ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), as well as a ruptured medial collateral ligament. It took until Feb. 7 for the swelling to subside enough for surgery.

Surgeons told Sellers he'd have to wait four to five months after the operation before trying a race-riding comeback. He is well aware that attempt could fail.

"My intentions are to come back and ride, but I'm not going to come back and ride in pain," said Sellers, a native of Cajun country who now lives in Louisville with his wife and three children. "It may be the end of the line for Shane Sellers.

"I hope it's not, but I've had a great career. It also has been very rough on me mentally and physically. If it's time for me to go, I'll go."

A Derby Tiger

Next year, Tiger Woods may have to skip whatever PGA event falls on the first Saturday in May so he can watch his namesake race in the Kentucky Derby.

Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai, has named a 2-year-old Dubai Tiger in honor of the top golf star.

"We hope that Dubai Tiger will become an equally outstanding athlete of the future," the sheikh said in a release.

Woods has been in the rich, tiny country playing in the Dubai Desert Classic, a PGA European Tour event.

Early last week, the sheikh took Woods on a tour of Al Quoz Stables, headquarters for the royal family's far-flung operation known as Godolphin Racing.

The sheikh bought Dubai Tiger as a yearling for $1.8 million at the 2000 Keeneland (Ky.) Yearling Sales. He is by Storm Cat, one of the world's top sires, out of a Saratoga Six mare named Toga Toga Toga.

More from Dubai

For those of you trying to keep track of Sheikh Mohammed's Derby prospects as they prep in Dubai:

Street Cry, the Irish-bred who finished third in last fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile, won his seasonal debut on Thursday in the $250,000 United Arab Emirates Two Thousand Guineas.

Noverre was second in what was his second start on dirt; he was 11th in the Juvenile.

Derby bonus

Keeneland and Turfway have put up a $1 million bonus for any horse who wins the Derby after victories in Turfway's Spiral Stakes and either the Blue Grass or Lexington at Keeneland.

Eighty percent of the bonus would go to the owner and $200,000 to the trainer.

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