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Hats Off To The Horses - The Williamstown Hat


Special thanks to Rosie Napravnik and her husband, trainer Joe Sharp for being such wonderful supporters of Old Friends. Rosie is modeling the “Williamstown” chapeau. Joe's fedora hat is part of the new line of men's hats by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® and although not included, is available separately for purchase.

Click here to watch the video of this photo shoot!

The Sixth Annual "Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby"

 A Unique Online Derby Hat Auction Benefiting Old Friends  
sponsored by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® - Custom Derby Millinery by Sally Faith Steinmann

For the sixth consecutive year, MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® and Old Friends are teaming up again for an unparalleled online monthly auction November 1st through April 1st with their "Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby" series. This unique Derby hat fundraiser is now an annual event which features one-of-a-kind couture Derby hats created by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® to benefit the retired racehorses of Old Friends.  These hats have made over $21,000.00 for the horses.

The fifth hat up for bid in our auction series honors the Kentucky-bred multiple stakes-winning stallion and son of the great Seattle Slew, Williamstown, who ran one of the fastest miles in history in the 1993 Withers Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. “Willie” retired at the age of 17 to Old Friends in 2007 having sired 15 stakes winners, including graded winner Vinemeister.   The “Williamstown” chapeau is up for bid from February 1st through the 11th.

Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends, recalls becoming familiar with Williamstown long before he arrived at Old Friends. Blowen states, "I visited Williamstown many years ago at Saratoga when Pete Vestal trained him. I didn't dream that many years later, he'd be living with me. After a sterling racing career, Williamstown went to stud. After that, things get a bit murky. We were contacted by Frank Aubrey Insurance who told me that Williamstown needed some assistance and wondered whether he could come to Old Friends. I was thrilled and overjoyed. The great son of Seattle Slew lives right across from one of Secretariat's greatest sons, Tinner's Way, where he's often visited by his former owner, the thoughtful and generous, Peter Wilmott."   To read more about Williamstown please click here.

Williamstown, the horse:   Beth Shannon, a volunteer at Old Friends, states, “Williamstown is quite flashy with chrome on all four legs and a broad blaze that goes down to cover his whole muzzle. He's also got a vivid, distinctive eye much like Seattle Slew's other son, A. P. Indy - an eye with the white showing, like a human eye. Williamstown loves mints and ginger snaps. He is full of dignity and surprises; self sufficient but surprisingly friendly to those who are willing to take the time to get to know him.”

 Indeed, an elegant, statuesque chapeau was needed to honor this beloved racing star and celebrate his life at Old Friends. The resulting design showcases Williamstown's black with white markings, his friendly personality and Peter Willmott Stable's racing silk colors of bright pastel yellow and deep purple plum.

The foundation for the “Williamstown” hat was fashioned as a wide brim hat design out of black dupioni silk with a round, sheer silk organza crown.

A unique black silk organza overlayer adds dimension and elegance to the overall design and was created to be shaped as desired for added drama. 


Three medium size rose curls, created out of alternating layers of deep yellow dupioni silk and soft yellow organza, adorn the front of the hat and spill down along the brim.


A medley of solid and textured plum purple organza leaves were fashioned to frame each of the roses.


For a final touch to the centerpiece, eight long, curvaceous “feathers” created out of black and white silk organza were set behind the rose curl centerpiece to frame the wearer's face beautifully.



A black and white striped ribbon band encircles the crown of the hat.


A black pebble button adorns the back and the wavy silk organza brim layer creates a stunning look from every angle!
The finished “Williamstown” design measures approximately 22 inches across, inclusive of the “feathers”.

As a physical remembrance of Williamstown, several strands of the stallion's tail hair were braided and woven into the trim of the hat, creating a unique, one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau that captures Williamstown not only in spirit but in substance as well.

The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Williamstown and all of the horses who, thanks to the generosity of those who support their aftercare, now graze in the warm sunshine of Dream Chase Farm for the rest of their lives. 

"Sally Faith Steinmann's works of millinery art have raised thousands of dollars and a priceless amount of awareness for all these great retired athletes. Their stunning beauty and indescribable originality symbolize what one great artist can do to positively alter the lives of so many deserving athletes."- Michael Blowen, President, Founder of Old Friends. 

Click here to watch the video of this photo shoot !

As always, many many thanks to Rosie and Joe for their support!

A very special thanks also goes to Matt and Wendy Wooley of EquiSport Photos for their photo shoots and videos. Thank you as well to Bella Rose Clothing Boutique, Lexington, Kentucky for furnishing the stunning dresses for the photo shoots.

The “Williamstown” chapeau is up for bid from February 1st through the 11th. After the auction, the winning bidder's name will be announced (unless they prefer to remain anonymous)..   (Rosie and Horse not included!) 

Bid as many times and on as many hats as you like during these auctions. For further information about the eBay bidding process, please contact Old Friends at 502-863-1775.  Freight charges will be at the expense of the winning bidder. Please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery of your hat in order to ensure proper sizing.  To view the couture Derby hats from previous auctions, please click on the following -

View MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® information page about this hat.

Old Friends Hat Auction Portfolio.


All hat designs and hat photos on this page are the sole property of MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®. All Images and content may not be reproduced for any commercial purpose without the express, written permission of MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® or the photographers noted.  Copyright MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®