The Sun Shines Bright for Silver Ray at Old Friends

“Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” for Old Friends continues its celebration of the Year of the Horse with our March hat created to honor Old Friends retiree and graded stakes winner, Silver Ray.

Rosie Napravnik with Silver Ray

Each year MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® creates a series of one of a kind Derby hats honoring selected Thoroughbred retirees at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement farm in KY. Then, each month, from November through April, one of the hats goes up for bid on Ebay with 100% of the proceeds going to Old Friends. To date nearly $20,000 has been raised.

To celebrate March we are featuring a Derby chapeau that honors Kentucky-bred Silver Ray, a graded stakes winner rescued last year from potential slaughter. The 25 year-old bay/nearly black gelding was retired to Old Friends in 2013 thanks to the kind efforts of April Smith who found Silver Ray at a livestock auction, Catherine Trope (founder of Polo Pony Rescue) who helped the ailing 24-year-old horse back to health, and also the horse’s original owners, Ann and Jerry Moss (of Zenyatta and Ruhlmann fame), who helped secure him a spot at Old Friends.

Silver Ray, photo by Rick Capone

Silver Ray is described by volunteer Beth Shannon of Old Friends as a horse who possesses “a graceful presence rather than being brash or a show-off.” Beth continues, “Despite having been through hard times he is kind and thoroughly loves company. For a stallion he’s very much into petting and love. He’s got a quiet (but not shy!) grace of personality, and the warmth of the Moss (racing) silks colors. And what an evocative name!”

Excited to create a very special hat to celebrate Silver Ray’s safe retirement to Old Friends, I got out my sketch pad. The hat needed to be an elegant Derby hat design with a unique blend of colors, tones and textures to reflect Silver Ray’s nearly black coloring along with the imagery of his name, his friendly personality and the Mosses’ racing silk colors of teal and pink.



For the foundation of the “Silver Ray” design I began with a silver dupioni silk base overlaid with layers of black tulle that create a shimmering “skirt” effect.

I found a luminescent print brocade called “Silver Roses” for the underbrim that beautifully frames the wearer’s face.

A single large Marguerite fleur was fashioned to adorn the front of the hat. I used a blush pink and rose pink organza for the petals and a deep pink taffeta for the rose curl center.

SilverRayHat-Process10 SilverRayHat-Process11

The Marguerite is framed by a bed of leaves fashioned out of alternating layers of aqua blue shantung and organza. Slender organza “feathers” created in matching organza complete the trim design.


A layered sash, created out of aqua shantung lined with aqua blue organza encircles the crown of the hat. A single aqua button graces the back of the hat.



As a final touch the lining of the “Silver Ray” hat was created from a hot pink satin to coordinate with the trims.


As a physical remembrance of Silver Ray, several strands of the great gelding’s tail hairs were braided and woven into the trim of the hat, creating a unique, one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau that captures Silver Ray not only in spirit but in substance as well.

At last the hat was finished and on its way to Old Friends for the grand photo shoot with Rosie Napravnik and Silver Ray himself…

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 beautifully. Our thanks to all of them!

To experience a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the photo shoot, please visit the video footage provided by EquiSport Photos.

The “Silver Ray” auction hat is now up for bid on EBay and bidding ends Tuesday night, March 11th at 8 PM EST.

Rosie Napravnik with Silver Ray

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

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For more information about the “Silver Ray” Chapeau and the horse who inspired its creation, please visit the Silver Ray horse webpage and the “Silver Ray” hat webpage for details.

You can also read about this Old Friends retiree at the Old Friends website.

Thank you for visiting Hats and Horses.

Welcome home, Silver Ray!!



4 Replies to “The Sun Shines Bright for Silver Ray at Old Friends”

    1. Aw Michael, it’s an honor creating these hats for the horses in your care. You, the horses, and the whole Old Friends TEAM are my inspiration as I create them. I can’t thank you enough for all you do for these equine champions. And no matter how many wins or losses, they are ALL champions in my eyes… 🙂


  1. So excited to see new pictures of our boy. We LOVED having him here and miss him like crazy, but he lives in a paradise we could never have provided. We are very grateful to Old Friends for giving him the retirement he truly deserves and has earned. I encourage everyone reading this to visit Old Friends and meet him. He is a sweetheart and such a people horse!


    1. Cathy THANK you for what you did for Silver Ray. I can only imagine how gratifying it must have been to see him come back to good health, enjoy being a horse again. It sure sounds like he was much loved by all of you there at Polo Pony Rescue, and I’m sure he loved you, too. He has a wonderful home there now at Old Friends. Thanks to all of you, and to April who found him. Bless you ALL.


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