A Deelite-ful Chapeau Rings in the Year of the Horse

“Hats Off to the Horses” for Old Friends is ringing in the New Year, The Year of the Horse with a delightful chapeau created to honor Old Friends retiree and graded stakes winner, Afternoon Deelites.

Each month, from November through April, MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® creates a one of a kind Derby hat honoring one of the Thoroughbred retirees at Old Friends. The hat then goes up for auction on Ebay with all of the proceeds going to Old Friends. To date over $18,000 has been raised.


To celebrate the Year of the Horse we needed a horse for January that was extra special.

That horse was Afternoon Deelites, a retired Thoroughbred racehorse who has his own Twitter account and is one of the most beloved retirees at Dream Chase farm in Kentucky.



Bred in West Virginia, Afternoon Deelites is the embodiment of racehorse royalty, descended from Damascus on his sire’s side and Secretariat on his dam’s side. Old Friends volunteer Beth Shannon describes him as “every inch royal. He’s big, busting with muscle, with an interested, friendly, alert, proud eye.”

On the track Afternoon Deelites earned well over a million dollars for his owner Burt Bacharach before being retired to Old Friends on May 22nd, 2011 thanks to Val Murrell of Clear Creek.

A chapeau fit for a racehorse with this kind of resume and spirit had to be dramatic, full of vibrant color and lyrical energy! I combed through old racing video footage and racehorse records looking for inspirational “clues”…


A vision for this hat emerged quickly for a design that would reflect the horse’s bay coloring and the imagery of shimmering nautical blues and greens for Burt Bacharach’s racing silk colors and Blue Seas Music, Inc, who bred the stallion.


A deep chocolate brown taffeta with a delicate curling embroidery pattern was chosen for the hat foundation reflecting the bay stallion’s glistening coat. A large swirling blue and green rose curl centerpiece was fashioned in a setting of shimmering organza leaves reminiscent of the colors of the sea when the sun dances upon it.

Yards of deep blue tulle, layered like confectionary frosting around the crown, were gathered to form a loosely sculpted rose curl in the back of the hat; mimicking the swirling, curling motion of ocean waves.



Our whole team got involved.


I found the perfect “wave” marble button for the center of the rose curl.


And for the finishing touch, a royal blue silk lining fit for a king!


The hat was packed and whisked off to Old Friends for its moment on the runway with Rosie Napravnik and Afternoon Deelites.


We are thrilled that jockey Rosie Napravnik once again modeled the hat for us, and Matt and Wendy Wooley of EquiSport Photos worked their photographic magic. The dress that Bella Rose Clothing Boutique, Lexington, Kentucky furnished for Rosie matched the chapeau to a T. And don’t they look deelightful?!



The “Afternoon Deelites” auction hat is now up for bid on EBay and bidding ends this Saturday night at 8 PM EST.

For additional views of the “Afternoon Deelites”, please check out the slideshow below of the “Afternoon Deelites” chapeau and the amazing racehorse who inspired it!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For more information about Afternoon Deelites, the horse AND the hat, you can visit the Afternoon Deelites horse webpage and the “Afternoon Deelites” hat webpage for details.

Thank you for visiting Hats and Horses!


2 Replies to “A Deelite-ful Chapeau Rings in the Year of the Horse”

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