This unique Derby hat fundraiser began on November 1st and continues all the way to the Derby. An annual event, it features one-of-a-kind couture Derby hats created by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® to benefit the retired racehorses of Old Friends.
We are delighted once again to have jockey Rosie Napravnik modeling our “Hats Off to the Horses” chapeaux for us. Following a stunning victory with Untapable in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, Rosie announced that she and her husband, trainer Joe Sharp, are expecting a baby in June and she is retiring. We wish them all the very best!
The first hat up for bid in our auction series honors Kentucky-bred 2010 Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner and millionaire, Eldaafer. The 9-year-old bay gelding, whose name means “victorious”, was retired to Old Friends in May, 2014 thanks to the help of his breeder, Diane Alvarado. To learn more about this champion, please visit the Eldaafer webpage.
Old Friends volunteer Beth Shannon states, “Eldaafer is very confident and absolutely sure he’s hot stuff. He’s energetic, friendly and royally bred by A.P. Indy, and a real firecracker like his dam, runner-up juvenile champion, Habibti.”
Eldaafer did not arrive at Old Friends alone. According to Michael Blowen, President and founder of Old Friends, Eldaafer arrived at Old Friends accompanied by two goats named Google and Yahoo. Blowen states, “They just showed up. They are like the Secret Service to Eldaafer, but they do a better job.”
Right from the start I could see that a dramatic hat design was required for Eldaafer with a unique blend of colors, shades and textures that would showcase his bay coloring along with the imagery of his racing silk colors of red, white and a hint of blue. Also, there had to be a reference to his goat entourage.
I went online and printed out Eldaafer’s racing bio, watched videos of his wins on the track, and soon I had the background information that I needed.
For the trim centerpiece I created a large red silk organza Marguerite fleur with a red rose curl center to adorn the front of the hat. For a final accent I added black and deep blue netting and a black button.
I fashioned leaves out of black silk organza and shimmering bow loops out of chocolate crinkle taffeta and black silk organza. Five black silk organza “feathers” were created to reflect Eldaafer’s trusty bodyguards, Yahoo and Google, from whom he is inseparable.
As a physical remembrance of Eldaafer, 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 Eldaafer not only in spirit but in substance as well.
Soon the hat was on its way to Old Friends for the grand photo shoot with Rosie Napravnik and a few friends. And from all that I have heard, they had one heck of a good time! For a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the photo shoot, please visit the video footage provided by EquiSport Photos.
We want to extend a big thank you to Rosie Napravnik and her husband Joe who were splendid models for the Eldaafer chapeau as well as to Matt and Wendy Wooley of EquiSport Photos who worked their photographic magic once again. The dress that Bella Rose Clothing Boutique, Lexington, Kentucky furnished for Rosie matched the chapeau beautifully. Our thanks to you all!
The “Eldaafer” auction hat is now up for bid on EBay and bidding ends Friday night, April 11th at 8 PM EST.
Please also enjoy this slideshow of the “Eldaafer” chapeau and the horse (and goats!) who inspired it. For more information about the “Eldaafer” Chapeau please visit the Eldaafer hat webpage.
Thank you for visiting Hats and Horses, and here’s to our best auction season yet!