Hats Off To The Horses - The Alphabet Soup Hat

Krystal Court modeling The “Alphabet Soup” Hat © Matt/Wendy Wooley, EquisportPhotos.com

Click here to watch the video of this photo shoot!

Click here to bid!

The Eighth 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 eighth consecutive year, MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® of Cape Cod and Old Friends of Kentucky are teaming up again for an unparalleled online shopping experience that begins January 1st with their Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby" auction.  This unique Derby hat fundraiser is an annual event which features one-of-a-kind couture Derby hats created and donated by custom milliner Sally Faith Steinmann of MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® to benefit the retired racehorses of Old Friends.

The first hat up for bid in our auction series honors Pennsylvania-bred Alphabet Soup, winner of the 1996 Breeders' Cup with a stunning victory over the great racehorse, Cigar. Other notable wins for this son of Cozzene included the 1995 Native Diver Handicap (G3), 1996 San Pasqual Handicap (G2) and 1996 San Antonio Handicap (G2) at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita. In 2015 Alphabet Soup retired to Old Friends thanks to Frank Stronach and Adena Springs.


Special thanks to Krystal, Jon and Aubrey Court for helping us with our “Hats Off to the Horses” fundraiser that supports the retired racehorses of Old Friends in Kentucky.

Click here for more information about Alphabet Soup, the horse!

In a Bloodhorse article published on October 26, 2015, Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends, was quoted as saying, "He arrived safely today and looks terrific. We are so grateful to Frank Stronach and everyone at Adena Springs for entrusting us with this fabulous champion.”

Beth Shannon, volunteer at Old Friends impression of Alphabet Soup is, “Oh, I can't say too much about the kindness, the beauty, the personality of our wonderful Soup! In the 1996 Breeders' Cup Classic he and Louis Quatorze caught and passed the horse who'd been on the lead, Cigar was coming up like a cannonball, and Alphabet Soup gave it all he had, pushing his nose out on front of them all. It was one of the most exciting Classic finishes in Breeders' Cup history! Will's Way was in the race too, but it was Alphabet Soup's day to go down in history. When Adena Springs generously retired him and Touch Gold to Old Friends, I expected Alphabet Soup to be nice because I know some breeders who have mares by him. They're excellent producers of starters and winners, but mostly I'm impressed by their kindness. Alphabet Soup exceeded my expectations. He's not only kind, he's smart and fun to be around.”And she added, “His other striking quality, besides his spirit, is his athleticism. He keeps himself fit--he's ruggedly gorgeous--and he glories in his speed at 17 as he did at 3.”

Clearly, a very special hat was needed to honor this charming retiree of Old Friends. The resulting hat design showcases Alphabet Soup's stunning pearl-white coat, his familiar racing silk colors of orange-red and sage green, and his proud spirit and athleticism.


The foundation of the “Alphabet Soup” hat was fashioned as a curved wide brim design created out of pearl-white dupioni silk.

Click here to bid!


A fancy grey braiding was hand stitched to the outer edge of the underbrim to reflect Alphabet Soup's dark mane and tail when he was a young colt.

Yards of shimmering white and grey tulle were swirled together and layered around the crown, providing a bed for the roses that is wispy and elegant. It also reflects the color palette of Alphabet Soup's changing coat over the years.


The Alphabet Soup hat is covered in clusters of roses...

Each rose cluster, made up of three individual roses, was created in alternating layers of red China silk and silk organza.

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The rose clusters are framed with a medley of leaves fashioned out of tarragon green organza and sage crinkle organza, accented with sage green French ribbons.

One more rose-and-leaves cluster adorns the back of the hat.


And for the finishing touch, a large pewter pebble button adorns the back seam.

The “Alphabet Soup” hat is stunning from every angle with no details left untouched. The lining was created from a silver roses brocade to coordinate with the trims. 

The finished “Alphabet Soup” hat design measures over 23 inches across inclusive of the tulle.

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

The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Alphabet Soup and all of the horses who, thanks to the generosity of those who support their aftercare, now graze in the warm sunshine at Old Friends 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!

Thanks again to the Court Family for their support!!

Our most sincere appreciation 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 “Alphabet Soup" chapeau is up for bid from January 1st through the 11th. After the auction, the winning bidder's name will be announced (unless they prefer to remain anonymous).. 

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.





''Friends of Old Friends'' social media campaign - help us out by sharing the love!

Please join me in thanking all of the wonderful organizations listed in the above poster who have joined us this year as “Friends of Old Friends” to help spread the word about our “Hats Off to the Horses” fundraiser.  To read more about this new social media campaign, please click on the poster or this link to learn more!

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®

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