Another dawdling start for winless 9-year-old gelding Zippy Chippy allowed minor league baseball player Jose Herrera to win their 40-yard match race by approximately three (horse) lengths prior to the International League's Rochester (N.Y.) Red Wings Thursday night home game against the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Red Baron's. The race was begun steeplechase style on the Frontier Field outfield grass and Herrera zipped to the early lead before the winless Zippy Chippy, under jockey Pedro Castillo, closed in the final strides to the final margin. Herrera was carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates.
"By the time he (Zippy Chippy) started running, Jose (Herrera) was far away," owner-trainer Felix Monserrate told the Associated Press. "Forty yards is not enough for him to get warm. He let Jose win to make him feel good."
Billed as the "2000 Red Wings Derby," the race was witnessed by approximately 9,000 spectators, many of whom arrived early to witness the event. Herrera, a centerfielder with the Baltimore Orioles' AAA affiliate, has stolen 155 bases during his 10-year professional baseball career.
Zippy Chippy holds the Thoroughbred mark for futility with 86 losses and has been banned from running at Finger Lakes in upstate New York.
Monserrate told AP that Zippy Chippy will run next at Northampton (Mass.) on Sept. 1.