Hats Off To The Horses - The War Emblem Hat

The "War Emblem" Hat modeled by Shea Leparoux
© Matt/Wendy Wooley, EquisportPhotos.com

Click here to watch the video of this photo shoot!

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The Seventh 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 seventh 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 $27,000.00 for the horses.

The sixth and final hat up for bid in our auction series honors Kentucky-bred 2002 Derby and Preakness winner, War Emblem. War Emblem was retired from stud duty in Japan in 2015 and arrived at Dream Chase Farm in September 2015 thanks to the Yoshida family, the staff of Shadai Stallion Station, Emanuel de Seroux and the many supporters who generously enabled his retirement.

In an Old Friends July 2015 press release, Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends, was quoted as saying, “"It's just an embarrassment of riches. It has been mind-blowing to have one Kentucky Derby winner here, and now we are just thrilled and honored to also be able to retire War Emblem. We can't thank the Yoshida family enough for entrusting us with their fabulous horse."

Old Friends has become a special place where former rivals on the racetrack are often reunited. Silver Charm retired to Old Friends in 2014; Touch Gold, who denied him the Triple Crown back in 1997 is a recent arrival at Dream Chase Farm. And when War Emblem arrived at Old Friends last September he joined fellow retiree Sarava, the horse who denied him the Triple Crown in 2002.

When I asked Beth Shannon, volunteer at Old Friends, her impression of War Emblem she responded, “War Emblem is smart, proud, and fiercely independent. He's extremely interested in all that goes on around him and everyone who's in his immediate world. Unlike many of our stallions he's not that fond of people, but you can see him constantly watching and learning. He's confident in himself and his own agenda. ”

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 new retiree of Old Friends. The resulting hat design showcases War Emblem's stunning nearly black coat, his familiar racing silk colors of green and white, and his proud spirit and athleticism.


The foundation of the “War Emblem” hat was fashioned as a wide brim design created out of black dupioni silk. A white brocade underbrim was added that frames the face beautifully when the wearer's face is upturned.

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The edge of the brim was trimmed with a unique ruffled brim edge which allows light to pass through the sheer fabric. Created out of black silk organza overlaid with black silk “pinstripes”, the resulting look is one of smooth elegance befitting this great Thoroughbred athlete.

As a reflection of his Triple Crown campaign, three large rose curls created out of alternating layers of white dupioni silk and silk organza with just a splash of soft yellow organza for the centers, were placed along the front crown of the hat.

Each rose is beautifully framed with a medley of leaves fashioned out of layered emerald green and bold blue silk organza.

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Shimmering black tulle was then layered around the crown and provides a setting for the roses that is wispy and elegant as well as a reflection of War Emblem's nearly black coat.


A layered sash, created out of folded black satin with an emerald green dupioni silk lining, encircles the crown of the hat.


For the finishing touch, a large black pebble button adorns the back of the hat.


The “War Emblem” hat is stunning from every angle with no details left untouched. The lining was created from a bold emerald green satin to coordinate with the trims.       

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The finished “War Emblem” hat design measures over 30 inches across inclusive of the pleated organza brim layer.

 As a physical remembrance of Genuine Reward, 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 Genuine Reward 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!

Special thanks to Shea and Julien Leparoux for helping us with this year's “Hats Off to the Horses” fundraiser that supports the retired racehorses of Old Friends in Kentucky.  Julien's fedora hat is part of the new line of men's Derby hats by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® and although not included in the auction, it is available for purchase at Men's Hats for the Derby.

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 “War Emblem" chapeau is up for bid from April 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.


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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