Welcome to the seventh and final hat up for bid in our “Hats Off to the Horses” Derby hat auction series for Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement in Kentucky!
For our April auction we are putting up for bid a very special hat that honors the Florida-bred multiple stakes winner and super sire, You and I.
We continued our “Rosie and Friends” theme for the month of April and were pleased to have Shea Leparoux once again modeling for us, this time donning the “You and I” hat at Old Friends alongside her husband, jockey Julien Leparoux.
You and I’s racing career started off with a bang when he beat future 1994 Derby winner, Go For Gin, at Belmont Park in 1993. The following year You and I was sold to Edmund Gann Stables. There, under the watchful eye of trainer Bobby Frankel, he went on to victories in the Riva Ridge Stakes (G3), the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) and the Brooklyn Handicap (G2).
Of special interest to all Old Friends fans was the 1993 Hutcheson Stakes race in which a 3-year old You and I came very close to beating Holy Bull and his future Old Friends paddock neighbor, Patton, in a thrilling 3-horse duel!
You and I is also the sire of the millionaire filly, You. All told, You and I sired 15 stakes winners that earned $12 million over their racing careers. He was, indeed, a super sire. You and I was donated by Woodstead Farm to Old Friends, Kentucky, in October 2011.
Beth Shannon, a volunteer at Old Friends, stated, “You And I has an elegant kind of beauty. He’s an independent spirit, but when he decides to socialize he’s easy-going and likes to interact, and he’s kind to children. As long as he’s respected. Receiving the respect he deserves matters to most stallions, and You And I is no exception. He’s cooperative, but likes to do things in his own way. When feed is brought to most of the horses, they’re right on top of it. Many race to the feed tub. You And I supervises the delivery of his meals with dignified interest, usually without bring in any rush to ‘come and get it.’ He comes over on his own time, and he eats what he wants, and no more. He knows what he’s doing apparently, since he keeps himself in great shape.”
My research for creating the hat began with reviews of You and I’s victories, his pedigree and his racing connections.
Sketches were drafted and swatches were collected as I worked on a design that would showcase You and I’s gorgeous jet black coloring, his unique personality and Edmund A. Gann Stable’s racing silk colors of red and blue.
For starters I wanted to create a wide brim design with multiple organza brim layers for the basic foundation. I found the perfect red dupioni silk and matching red organza to achieve the design that I had in mind.
For the trim centerpiece I sculpted a large rose curl out of red silk organza. I then gathered the three organza brim layers and attached the rose curl trim to the upturned corner of the hat to frame the wearer’s face.
Finally, I created five curvaceous “feathers” out of black silk organza and three smaller blue organza leaf stems which I added to the trim centerpiece to give dimension and animation to the overall design.
For a final touch, a large black pebble button was stitched to the back.
As a physical remembrance of You and I, several strands of the stallion’s tail hair were braided and woven into the trim of the hat, creating a unique, one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau that captures You and I not only in spirit but in substance as well.
Following a final inspection of the hat top to bottom here in our MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® studio, the “You and I” chapeau was off and running to Old Friends for the big photo shoot with Shea and Julien!
For a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the You and I photo shoot at Old Friends, check out the video footage below so generously provided by EquiSport Photos.
We want to extend a big thank you to Shea Leparoux and her husband, jockey Julien Leparoux who have been super models for our auction hats this season and to Matt and Wendy Wooley of EquiSport Photos who worked their video and photographic magic once again. The gorgeous blue dress that Bella Rose Clothing Boutique, Lexington, Kentucky furnished for Shea matched the “You and I” hat beautifully. Our thanks to everyone!
The “You and I” auction hat is up for bid from April 1st through the 11th at this You and I EBay link; bidding ends April 11th at 8 PM EST.
Please also enjoy this slideshow of the “You and I” chapeau and the horse who inspired its creation.
Thank you for visiting Hats and Horses, and Hats Off to You and I!!