For the eighth consecutive year, Old Friends and MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® are teaming up for the “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” hat auction series that benefits the retired racehorses of Dream Chase Farm.
This month we are featuring the “Zippy Chippy” chapeau as the third hat in our auction series. This one-of-a-kind couture Derby hat created by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® honors horse racing celebrity, Zippy Chippy, who retired to Old Friends’ satellite farm in New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division , in 2010.
Described as “the most famous maiden in American horse racing history”, this dark bay gelding may have had a 0 for 100 record but his many adoring fans will tell you that he is living proof that not all winners finish first. In 2000, People Magazine voted Zippy Chippy one of the year’s “Most Intriguing Characters.” In April 2010, Zippy was retired to Old Friends at Cabin Creek thanks to the generous help of his longtime owner-trainer, Felix Montserrate.
The Zippy Chippy hat auction marks the second time we are presenting a hat created to honor one of the Thoroughbred retirees of Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division. Named for the late Hall of Fame trainer, Bobby Frankel, Old Friends at Cabin Creek is located in Greenfield, New York. The farm is home to 14 retired racehorses under the care of JoAnn Pepper and her husband, Mark, along with the help of over a dozen devoted volunteers.
To learn more about this New York-bred gelding, please visit the Zippy Chippy webpage.
When I asked JoAnn Pepper her impression of Zippy Chippy she responded, “Zippy is unique in a great way and he means a lot to us here. He has taught us so much. His friendship with Red (Red Down South, another retiree) is inspiring. He listens to Red, his buddy, for guidance.”
To begin the design process I went online and read accounts of Zippy Chippy’s racing days and connections, and soon I had the background information that I needed.
Created out of royal blue silk organza and topstitched with dozens of swirling white and chocolate embroidered strands to reflect Zippy’s 100 races, these shimmering blue layers convey the motion of the Thoroughbred athlete at a full rolling gallop.
For the trim centerpiece, a large peony flower was sculpted out of white silk organza for the petals, each petal individually wired and shaped.
The center of the peony is a rose curl that was fashioned out of alternating layers of red dupioni silk and silk organza with a luminescent red button for accent. This single red rose was created to honor the special friendship that Zippy Chippy shares with his best buddy at Old Friends Cabin Creek, Red (Down South).
Long fabric “feathers”, a MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® trademark, were then carefully stitched out of white, royal blue and chocolate organza, layered and shaped to add a splash of dramatic detail to the floral trim.
For the finishing touch, a handcrafted button created out of 100 luminescent chocolate seed beads reflecting Zippy Chippy’s famed 100 starts, was fashioned to adorn a small blue silk organza bow on the back of the hat. A fitting jewel for a horse whose wins are defined not by his trips to the winner’s circle but by the many hearts he has won with his story.
The finished “Zippy Chippy” hat design measures approximately 24 inches across inclusive of the embroidered blue organza brim layer.
As a physical remembrance of Zippy Chippy, several strands of his tail hair were braided and woven into the trim of the hat, creating a unique, one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau that captures Zippy Chippy not only in spirit but in substance as well.
The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Zippy Chippy and all of the horses who, thanks to the generosity of those who support their aftercare, now graze in the warm sunshine of Old Friends Cabin Creek for the rest of their lives.
We want to extend a big thank you to TV analyst from Gulfstream Park and former Miss Connecticut, Acacia Courtney, for modeling the “Zippy Chippy” chapeau as well as to Connie Bush of Tiger Eye Photography who worked her photographic magic for us at Old Friends Cabin Creek. We couldn’t have done it without you! 😉
The “Zippy Chippy” auction hat is now up for bid on EBay and bidding ends Saturday, March 11th at 8 PM EST.
Please also enjoy this slideshow of the “Zippy Chippy” chapeau and the horse who inspired it.
We’d also like to mention an exciting new social media campaign that we are introducing for Season 8 called, “Friends of Old Friends”. The following is this month’s “Friends of Old Friends” poster and we want to send a big thank you to all of the organizations that are participating and sharing the word about “Hats Off to the Horses”!
Thank you for visiting Hats and Horses, and Hats off to YOU, Zippy Chippy!!