Hats Off To The Horses - The Charismatic Hat
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Special thanks to Krystal Court, her husband, jockey Jon Court and their daughter Aubrey for helping us with this year's “Hats Off to the Horses” fundraiser that supports the retired racehorses of Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement in Kentucky.  Aubrey's "Hatinator" is part of the new 2018 Derby hat collection by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®; although not included in the auction, it is available for purchase from MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®.   Thanks also to our very good friends at EquiSport Photos for their stunning images and video footage.  Bella Rose Boutique for their many kindnesses in loaning dresses over the years!

 The Ninth 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 ninth consecutive year, MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® of Cape Cod and Old Friends of Kentucky are teaming up again for an unparalleled online shopping experience 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 Old Friends horses.  Our first eight years of the fundraiser have been a great success, and to date over $34,000 has been raised for the retired racehorses of Old Friends.

The fourth and final Derby hat up for bid in our 2018 auction series pays tribute to dual classic winner and 1999 Horse of the Year, Charismatic. We all remember jockey Chris Antley's heroic efforts in the 1999 Belmont when Charismatic broke down just several strides before the finish line; Antley's quick judgment as he cradled Charismatic's injured left front leg saved this great stallion's life that day. Charismatic, after returning to the United States late in 2016 from stud duty at the JBBA Shizunai Stallion Station in Japan, died on February 19, 2017 at Old Friends, where he had been pensioned since December 3, 2016.                                     Click here to bid

See Wendy Wooley's behind-the-scenes video of the hat photo shoot with our models at Old Friends

Owner Beverly Lewis, who campaigned the horse with her late husband, Robert, said, "Charismatic’s star shone very brightly, though only for a few weeks in 1999, when he won the Derby, the Preakness, and took a shot at Triple Crown immortality.”  “Bringing him home was yet another dream come true,” said Old Friends founder and president, Michael Blowen. “Charismatic held such special memories for so many racing fans.”


John Bradley, an Old Friends volunteer recalls the day that Charismatic arrived at the farm. “It was a cold December day and as the sun set we all awaited his arrival. As the Sallee Horse Van pulled up I think in all the excitement he seemed larger than life as Antonio led him off the trailer. I was so awestruck he seemed 20 hands tall although I knew this wasn’t the case.  He settled in his new stall for the night. I’m still impressed by how the high level of intelligence he possessed came through in his eyes. The ones that have the talent and will to win the big races all have it.”

Beth Shannon, another volunteer at Old Friends, responded, “Charismatic was intelligent, spirited, proud yet gracious. He was willing and cooperative, the kind of stallion who inspires liking and respect from all those who deal with him. But he knew exactly who he was. His pride had a regal air to it.  One of my strongest impressions of him was how all the time you could see that bright mind of his working. His brightness was much more than the golden shine of his coat. His brightness came from within. Physically he was bigger than he looked on camera, with a beautiful, but unusual face, narrow and with that distinctive, thin blaze. For a big horse he moved with grace and refinement.”

Charismatic's death only three months after his arrival at Old Friends was a tremendous shock, a tremendous loss.

John Bradley remarked, “All of us anticipated years of enjoying Charismatic being a resident of the farm, however it wasn’t meant to be.   In just a little over three months he was gone. Michael, the staff, and volunteers were all in a state of shock for many days as we went through our routines of caring for the horses and entertaining visitors touring the farm. The sense of loss around the farm was huge.  Though his time with us was brief it was a tremendous honor to get to know him.”

In a February 28, 2017 Daily Racing Form article, Charismatic's trainer, D. Wayne Lukas stated, “The sad part is that he was doing so well. They made such an effort to get him home. And when I went out and looked at him I couldn’t believe the condition of him. He was in beautiful shape. We spent the day out there with him and took pictures and everything and it looked like it was going to be forever. But you never can predict these things.”

Read more about Charismatic by clicking here.

About the hat:
Clearly, a very special hat was needed to pay tribute to this proud, intelligent retiree of Old Friends whose brief time at Old Friends left a deep and lasting impression on everyone's hearts. The resulting hat design showcases Charismatic's beautiful chestnut coat, his Lewis racing silk colors of yellow and green, and his bold spirit and athleticism.

The foundation of the wide brim design was created out of white dupioni silk.

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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 white silk organza overlaid with chocolate brown silk “pinstripes”, the resulting look is one of smooth elegance befitting one of the greatest of racing champions.


A thin strip of fancy white braiding was then top stitched to the brim edges to give it a finished look.


For the trim centerpiece a large peony flower, sculpted out of several shades of yellow organza top stitched with chocolate embroidery thread, was created to adorn the front of the hat.

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The center of the peony is a rose curl in luscious chocolate organza.


Next, a medley of sheer green organza leaves, individually wired and shaped, were fashioned to frame the peony.

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Fabric “feathers”, a MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® trademark, were fashioned in varying sizes out of white silk organza, topstitched in chocolate brown embroidery thread, and then layered and shaped to add a splash of dramatic detail to the floral trim.


As you can see the hat, like the horse, is stunning from every angle!

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An elegant layered sash, created out of chocolate satin encircles the crown of the hat.


A large mocha/green swirling button was added to the back of the hat for the finishing touch.

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The lining for the Charismatic hat was created from white satin to coordinate with the trims.


The finished “Charismatic” hat design measures approximately 25 inches across, inclusive of the ruffled “pinstriped” brim.


As a physical remembrance of Charismatic, 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 Charismatic not only in spirit but in substance as well.

The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Charismatic 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.                                                               Click here to bid


"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. 

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.



Once again, we thank our participants in the MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® presents
''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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