Zippy Chippy, who never visited the winner's circle, won't be at the back of the pack at county fairs anymore. Hollywood is dangling a carrot, and his owner-trainer is retiring...

Share story

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Zippy Chippy, who never visited the winner’s circle, won’t be at the back of the pack at county fairs anymore. Hollywood is dangling a carrot, and his owner-trainer is retiring the 0-for-100 horse.

“I don’t think he will get hurt, but … ” Felix Monserrate said yesterday, preferring not to contemplate what could go wrong.

With a possible movie in the works, a producer suggested it might be best to keep the not-so-zippy Zipster off the track, said Monserrate, who declined to elaborate on the potential deal.

So when the Thoroughbred turns 14 on Jan. 1, he will switch to lighter duties at Finger Lakes, the home racetrack that banned him in 1998 as a blight on bettors. As an outrider pony, Zippy Chippy will escort horses in the post parade and lead them to the starting gate.

Zippy Chippy fell short of the futility record of 105 losing starts set in the 1950s by Thrust, another gelding. Zippy Chippy posted his 100th straight loss in September, finishing last in an eight-horse field at the Three-County Fairgrounds in Northampton, Mass.

His brutal run turned him into a celebrity. In 2000, People magazine included him on its list of that year’s most interesting personalities.

“I don’t care how old he is, he’s trying and trying and trying, and those things really made me feel happy,” Monserrate said.

Zippy Chippy finished second eight times, third 12 times and earned $30,572 in his career.

Despite Zippy Chippy’s tendency to bite and kick his keepers, Monserrate and his family have become attached to the horse.

Tom Gilcoyne, 88, a former historian for the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., said Zippy Chippy “hasn’t done anything to harm the sport. But it’s a little bit like looking at the recorded performances of all horse races through the wrong end of the telescope.”

Gilcoyne agreed with the concept of retiring Zippy Chippy.

“The movie is worth more than extending his record of losses — even if it’s a bad movie,” he said.