Hapless Zippy Chippy, who was foaled exactly 19 years ago today, April 20, could be destined to spend the rest of his life at Old Friends at Cabin Creek in upstate New York.
Michael Blowen, president of Old Friends Retirement Farm in Lexington, said he has been involved in protracted negotiations with owner-trainer Felix Monserrate to have the gelding, who gained fame for going winless in 100 starts, sent to the Old Friends auxiliary farm in Greenfield Center, New York.
Zippy Chippy, who was saddled by Monserrate for 80% of his starts, ran second eight times and third 12 times as he earned $30,834 during his 11-year career. Monserrate refused to drop the gelding into the lower claiming ranks for fear of losing him to another trainer. Near the end of his career, Zippy was banned from Finger Lakes racetrack for dwelling at the gate.
Blowen said Monserrate’s attachment to the gelding is apparently one of the stumbling blocks in getting Zippy to Old Friends. During the negotiations, Blowen said he has entered three different contracts with the owner-trainer and has agreed to pay $5,000 for the gelding, the first time Old Friends has purchased a horse for the farm.
"I have been involved in a lot of negotiations, including one in Japan where the language was a problem, but this is the hardest negotiation I have ever been involved in," Blowen said. "He has missed three deadlines. I know he is going to miss the horse, but I told him he can come see him any time."
In addition to his winless record, Zippy Chippy had an entertaining career off the racetrack. As part of promotions, Zippy twice defeated Standardbred horses in exhibition races and took part in exhibition races against members of a minor league baseball team.