Current Auction Hat
“Awesome Gem” Hat
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 that began 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 Sally Faith Steinmann of MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® to benefit the retired racehorses of Old Friends.
The first Derby hat up for bid in our auction series honors Kentucky-bred Awesome Gem. Perhaps best known for his thrilling stretch win in the 2010 Hollywood Gold Cup where he defeated Old Friends farm mate Rail Trip, Awesome Gem also tallied wins in the 2007 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes, the 2009 Hawthorne Gold Cup, the 2011 Lone Star Park Handicap and the 2011 Long Acres Mile before his retirement in 2012 at the age of 9.
In 2017 the chestnut son of Awesome Again was retired to Old Friends in Kentucky thanks to the generosity of West Point Thoroughbreds.
The “Awesome Gem” chapeau is up for bid from January 1st through the 11th.
The “Awesome Gem” hat auction has ended, stay tuned for the next auction starting February 1st!
All proceeds from the sale of the hats go to Old Friends.
In an April 7, 2017 Daily Racing Form article by Joe Nevills, President and Founder of Old Friends Michael Blowen recounted the story of Awesome Gem's arrival to Dream Chase Farm in April 2017. “Terry Finley [President and CEO of West Point Thoroughbreds] called me a few months ago and asked if we would be interested in having Awesome Gem at the farm, and I freaked out. He’s so good looking, and he had such a wonderfully long career. He came in completely sound.”
When I asked Beth Shannon, volunteer at Old Friends, her impression of Awesome Gem she responded, “Awesome Gem is an absolute sweetheart. He's as friendly and as kind as he is beautiful. When he first retired to Old Friends he was so people-oriented that he almost seemed to think he was a 'people', and when he'd passed his quarantine period he seemed a little puzzled to be turned out with horses.”
”But that passed and he is now a comfortable and fully accepted member of his herd. Its three other members are Fabulous Strike, Sokitumi Samurai, and Marshall Rooster - all nice horses just as he is. He combines the physical activeness and spiritedness of a youngish Thoroughbred with benign goodness.”
Clearly, a very special hat was needed to honor this charming new retiree of Old Friends. The resulting hat design showcases Awesome Gem's bright chestnut coat, his familiar West Point Thoroughbreds racing silk colors of black and yellow, and his kind spirit and athleticism.
The foundation of the wide flat brim design was created out of deep yellow dupioni silk with a black lace overlay and black taffeta brim edge.
To showcase Awesome Gem's thrilling 2010 Hollywood Gold Cup win, a single large yellow rose was fashioned out of swirling layers of deep yellow dupioni silk and soft lemon organza and placed along the front crown of the hat.
A bouquet of sparkling chocolate, crystal and platinum beads was created to form a jewel center for the rose.
The rose was then framed with a medley of fiery reddish brown organza loops and black silk organza leaves.
A large triple bow with tails fashioned out of sheer black silk organza and topstitched with chocolate thread was added to provide a stunning yet delicate “nest” for the bejeweled floral trim.
As you can see, the hat is stunning from every angle!
A pleated sash, created out of black silk organza encircles the crown of the hat.
A large shimmering button, created from the same chocolate, crystal and platinum beads used for the rose center ornament, was added to the back of the hat for the finishing touch.
The lining for the “Awesome Gem” hat was created from a black satin to coordinate with the trims.
The finished “Awesome Gem” hat design measures approximately 20 inches across, end to end.
As a physical remembrance of Awesome Gem, 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 Awesome Gem not only in spirit but in substance as well.
The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Awesome Gem 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 and founder of Old Friends
Hats Off to you, Awesome Gem!
To read more about Awesome Gem, the horse, please click on the following link - Featured Horse.
Bid as many times and on as many hats as you like during this running auction. For further information about the eBay bidding process, please contact Old Friends at 502-863-1775. If you don't desire to place a bid on a hat, please contact Old Friends to see about what other ways you might be able to help out at Dream Chase Farm.
Freight charges will be at the expense of the winning bidder. Winning bidders, 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 - Old Friends Hat Auction Portfolio.