Family Matters

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Editor’s Note: Our friend Sarah Mace at the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. passed along the following feature about Flipcup, a mare we’ve written about through the years in our project for the NYTB’s annual awards dinner and in The Saratoga Special. Enjoy. 

When Shirl Penney recently decided to retire multiple graded stakes winner and fan favorite Flipcup, the decision was bittersweet. Penney bred Flipcup, attended her foaling and campaigned her into her sixth season under the banner of “Team Penney Racing.” Above all, he regards the mare as family.

“Some horses are extra special to us as owners and breeders – the ones you truly fall in love with and count as part of your family,” said Penney. “Flipcup was one of those horses for the Penney family. From being there when she was foaled, to her racing career in many states over many surfaces, and now onto her next career as part of our broodmare band, she is for us what this sport is all about to us: fun with family and friends, and about building special bonds with our horses.”

Penney, his wife Mary Ann and their daughters Ann Clare and Townsend have been along every step of the way of this accomplished racemare’s career. They will miss the excitement of campaigning Flipcup but also look forward eagerly to the next chapter.

Sired by Milwaukee Brew, Flipcup is out of Dream Affair, a Kentucky-bred Touch Gold mare purchased by Penney for just $11,000 at the 2007 OBS Winter mixed sale. Foaled March 29, 2011, Flipcup was prepared for her racing career by Kenny Lejune in Florida (who also broke Penney’s Grade 2 stakes winner Sweet Vendetta) and burst onto the racing scene as a juvenile. Her first stop was Woodbine.

Flipcup won right out of the box for trainer Brian Lynch taking a pair of sprints run over the all-weather track. (September 14, 2013 and October 11). Stretching out for the first time in Woodbine’s South Ocean Stakes on November 24, Flipcup finished a competitive third to eventual three-time Sovereign Award winner Lexie Lou and top Canadian filly Paladin Bay. Flipcup traveled to New York for her final juvenile start, when she made her New York and dirt debut for trainer George Weaver. That day, Flipcup won Aqueduct’s East View Stakes going away. Flipcup’s achievements as a juvenile earned her a nomination for New York-bred champion 2-year-old juvenile filly.

To read the rest of the story, check out the New York Thoroughbred Breeders’ website.