Red Roses and Stars for Amazombie of Old Friends

“Amazombie” is our fourth hat in this season’s “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby”; no chapeau could better sum up my starstruck feelings for the Kentucky Derby and Old Friends than this hat that features both red Derby roses and stars!

Amazombie-Rosie-Joe-Carson-MattWooley4-crop-Web.LgAmazombie, bred in California by Gregg Anderson and owned by Thomas C. Sanford & William Spawr,  won the 2011 Eclipse Award Champion Sprinter honors after winning the Sunshine Millions Sprint, the Tiznow Stakes, the Potrero Grande Handicap and the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

The 10 year-old  gelding was retired to Old Friends in May, 2014 thanks to the help of his owner, Bill Spawr.

Amazombie arriving at Old Friends in May, 2014

To inspire me in the creation of the “Amazombie” hat, I called upon Old Friends volunteers Beth Shannon and John Bradley to tell me about the personality and spirit of the horse.

Beth described Amazombie in this way: “He has a grace about him that’s lovely to watch, such a refined horse. Beautiful, classy, spunky but kind, curious, smart, friendly, and he’s got gorgeous big kind eyes.”

Amazombie-Horse-MattWooley6-Framed-Web.MedShe continued, “He’s Rapid Redux’s best buddy. He’s not at all big-headed about being a champion, unlike his best buddy who hams it with relish for anybody who’ll watch him. Amazombie is happy to go along and get along, but he’s not a pushover. He can stand up for himself.”

Amazombie-RapidRedux-LauraBattles2-Framed-Web.MedJohn Bradley underscored the connection between Amazombie and Rapid Redux. “I think it is an important part of the story. When he (Amazombie) was first paired with Rapid, he was second fiddle. However, that didn’t last for long. Amazombie stood his ground, stood up for himself and showed Rapid he was his equal. He gained Rapid’s respect. Now they are the best of friends, but are also like brothers when they play. They pull off each other’s halters and have daily running sessions all around their paddock. It is a joy to watch them just have fun being horses.”

Amazombie-RapidRedux-LauraBattles12-Framed-Web.MedRight from the start I could see that a very special chapeau was needed to honor this accomplished equine athlete and celebrate his new life at Old Friends. An elegant Derby design was created with a unique blend of colors, shades and textures that showcases Amazombie’s medium bay coloring, kind temperament and his racing silk colors of white, red and black.

I went online and printed out Amazombie’s racing bio, watched videos of his wins on the track, and soon I had the background information that I needed.

Amazombie-HatProcess1-Web.MedSketches were drawn…

Amazombie-HatProcess4-Web.MedFabrics were chosen…

Amazombie-HatProcess3-Web.MedAnd the creative process was underway!

The “Amazombie” hat was created with a new tapered wide brim design using white dupioni silk for the foundation with a black lip edge.

Amazombie-HatProcess5-Web.MedA black and white polka dot fabric was used for the underbrim to create a vibrant, colorful effect when the wearer’s face is upturned.

Amazombie-HatProcess6-Web.MedThe effect, to me, is of twinkling stars shining in the night sky over Dream Chase Farm.

AmazombieHat4-Web.MedNext, seven roses were handcrafted out of red silk organza to reflect Amazombie’s post position number seven when he won the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint in 2011.

Amazombie-HatProcess9-Web.MedEach rose curl was framed with a dash of wispy chocolate tulle and a medley of black silk organza leaves.

Amazombie-HatProcess10-Web.MedThe seven rose curl clusters were then evenly hand stitched along the edge of the brim so that the roses could be seen all around as the hat is turned.

Amazombie-HatProcess11-Web.MedAmazombieHat1B-Web.MedA sash was created out of black silk organza that was layered, top stitched  and carefully sewn around the crown.

Amazombie-HatProcess12-Web.MedTo balance the drama of the roses, a large triple layer bow with three tails was created out of black silk organza and set on the back of the hat.

Amazombie-HatProcess13-Web.MedMedium length organza tails were fashioned so that they spilled over the edge of the brim.

Amazombie-HatProcess14-Web.MedA chocolate metallic taffeta was chosen for the lining of the “Amazombie” to match the gelding’s bay coat.

Amazombie-HatProcess8-Web.MedAs a physical remembrance of Amazombie, several strands of the gelding’s tail hair were braided and woven into the trim of the hat, creating a unique, one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau that captures Amazombie not only in spirit but in substance as well.

The finished hat was photographed in our studio, packaged with care…

Amazombie-HatProcess15-Web.MedAnd shipped on its way to Old Friends for the grand photo shoot with Rosie Napravnik and her family!

Amazombie-Rosie-Joe-Carson-MattWooley1-Web.LgA special thank you to Matt and Wendy Wooley of EquiSport Photos who once again worked their photographic magic that day. And a big thank you as well to Bella Rose Clothing Boutique, Lexington, Kentucky for furnishing the stunning silver dress that Rosie wore which beautifully matched the chapeau. You can view it all in this behind-the-scenes glimpse of the photo shoot by Wendy…

Special thanks to Rosie Napravnik and her husband, trainer Joe Sharp, for being such super models, and their little boy Carson who simply stole the show in his new fedora from the new “Little Silver Charm Kids’ Hat Collection”!

Amazombie-Rosie-Joe-Carson-MattWooley1-Crop-Web.LgThe “Amazombie” auction hat is now up for bid on EBay and bidding ends Thursday, February 11th at 8 PM EST.

Please also enjoy this slideshow of the “Amazombie” chapeau and the horse who inspired it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thank you for visiting Hats and Horses, and here’s to Amazombie and all the horses of Old Friends!  🙂


About the Auction:

To learn more about Yankee Fourtune, the horse, please visit the Amazombie horse webpage.

For more information about the “Yankee Fourtune” Chapeau please visit the Amazombie hat webpage.


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