Hats Off To The Horses - The Little Mike Hat

Shelby Landeros modeling The “Little Mike” 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 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.

Special thanks to Shelby and Chris Landeros for helping us with our “Hats Off to the Horses” fundraiser that supports the retired racehorses of Old Friends in Kentucky.


The second hat up for bid in our auction series honors 2012 Breeders Cup Turf and Arlington Million winner, Little Mike. Bred in Florida by Carlo Vaccarezza, owned by Priscilla Vaccarezza, and trained for most of his career by Dale Romans, Little Mike retired to Old Friends in 2016 with 14 wins out of 30 starts and earnings of $3,543,392.

In a July, 2016 Bloodhorse article writer Jeremy Balan quoted Old Friends President, Michael Blowen as saying, "It's so thrilling to have him here. I'm star-struck around all these horses and he fits right in with the best we have here.”

When I asked Beth Shannon, volunteer at Old Friends, her impression of Little Mike she responded, “Little Mike is also an exceptionally kind horse. It took him all of fifteen minutes to figure out exactly what tours were all about. He gets along as easily with his new paddock mate Interwin as he does with people. His color isn't flashy. He's just a medium bay horse. But he's got the look of the athlete he is. Of course, he was by far the best longer distance turf male in America in 2012, the year he won the Arlington Million and Breeders' Cup Turf.”

And she added, “ The only thing Little Mike isn't, is little. He's good sized and nicely proportioned. What's not to love about such a sweet horse?”

 Click here for more information about Little Mike, the horse!

 Clearly, a very special hat was needed to honor this new retiree of Old Friends. The resulting hat design showcases Little Mike's stunning bay coat, his familiar racing silk colors of black with orange stripes, and his kind spirit and athleticism.

The foundation of the “Little Mike” hat was fashioned as a flat oval brim design created out of black 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 a single layer of black silk organza, the resulting look is one of smooth elegance befitting this great Thoroughbred athlete.

As a finishing touch, a fancy braiding of warm mocha chocolate was topstitched where the organza layer meets the brim edge.

Carlo Vaccarezza's distinctive black with orange stripe racing silks provided the basic color palette for the trimmings of this stunning Derby hat.

The centerpiece is comprised of a single medium rose curl created in swirling layers of coral orange shantung and organza. The rose is beautifully framed with a medley of leaves fashioned out of black silk organza.

Mocha brown hat veiling set behind the rose curl and leaves offers a contrasting flourish for a touch of wispy elegance.

Ten slender black, chocolate brown and chocolate brown silk organza “feathers” gracefully bend and curl in different directions and serve to balance the trim design.

A layered sash, created out of black satin lined with coral orange shantung, encircles the crown of the hat.

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

The “Little Mike” hat is stunning from every angle with no details left untouched. The lining was created from a swirling black brocade to coordinate with the trims.

Click here to bid!

The finished “Little Mike” hat design measures over 24 inches across inclusive of the pleated organza brim layer.

As a physical remembrance of Little Mike, 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 Little Mike 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 Shelby and Chris Landeros 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 “Little Mike" 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).. 

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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