Horse lovers from all walks of life love the story of Zippy Chippy, arguably the world’s worst racehorse. The beloved loser turned 30 this week, April 20th to be exact. For those not familiar with the bay gelding, the racehorse’s pedigree includes such equine luminaries as Man O’War, Bold Ruler, Northern Dancer and War Admiral, yet when it came time for Zippy to zip out of the starting gate, he famously lost every event he entered to a grand total of 100 races but won hearts the world over.
To mark the occasion, fans can curl up with The True Story of Zippy Chippy, The Little Horse That Couldn’t, a children’s book by Artie Bennett and illustrated by Dave Szalay that was published in 2020. Or if more adult fare is your style, there’s The Legend of Zippy Chippy: Life Lessons from Horse Racing’s Most Loveable Loser by William Thomas, published in 2016.
The True Story of Zippy Chippy, the Little Horse That Couldn’t was named a Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices 2021. The organization said of the book, “Quirky, sweet, but never sentimental, this offbeat account never makes fun of Zippy but instead celebrates his unique personality and spirit, which are reflected in the tone of both the narrative and illustrations.”
Foaled at Capritaur Farm in New York in 1991, Zippy Chippy was voted one of People Magazine‘s “Most Intriguing Characters” in 2000. (To his credit, Zippy Chippy did have a couple of second- and third-place finishes and earned a grand total of $30,834 (USD) in his less-than-illustrious career.)
Retired from racing in 2004, Zippy had a brief second career as an outrider’s pony at his home track, Finger Lakes in New York. In April 2010, the aging campaigner found a forever home at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm at Cabin Creek, NY, thanks to the generous help of his longtime owner-trainer, Felix Montserrate.
No official word on how Zippy is spending his 30th, but we will assume it’s in a lush paddock with free-flowing carrots and lots of pets. But for the humans who adore him, given that most of us are in lockdown or suffering through home-schooling, a good book about the horse will be the best way to celebrate the equine legend’s big birthday. And to supplement your reading, there are a couple of videos below.
Happy Birthday, Zippy Chippy!
Artie Bennett reading the book:
The Agenda 30-minute video about Zippy Chippy to go with Thomas’ book: