ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) – Zippy Chippy, who never visited the winner’s circle, won’t be holding up the rear 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 Friday, 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 deal.

So when the balky brown thoroughbred turns 14 next year, he will switch to lighter duties at Finger Lakes Race Track – the home track that banned him in 1998 as a blight on bettors. As an outrider pony, he will escort horses in the post parade and lead them to the gate.

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

His awful run turned him into something of 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, largely paying his own way, said Monserrate, who acquired him in a 1995 trade with his breeder for an old van.

Despite the horse’s tendency to bite and kick his keepers, Monserrate and his 15-year-old daughter, Marissa, have become attached to him.

“My daughter can do everything with him,” said Monserrate, 61, who lives near the Finger Lakes track in Farmington, 25 miles from Rochester.

Tom Gilcoyne, 88, who retired in January after 15 years as an historian for the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., thinks 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 that a movie deal could be dashed if Zippy Chippy had an accident.

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



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