The Story of the “Touch Gold” Derby Hat for Old Friends

For the ninth consecutive year MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® and Old Friends have teamed up once again for a unique online shopping experience called “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby”!

An annual event, “Hats Off”  features one-of-a-kind couture Derby hats created by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® to benefit the retired racehorses of Old Friends.  All proceeds from the sale of the hats go to Old Friends.

The second Derby hat up for bid in our 2018 auction series honors Kentucky-bred, Touch Gold.

Emily and Carson Sullivan model the Touch Gold chapeau!

Touch Gold, the  24 year-old son of Deputy Minister, is perhaps best known for his thrilling victory in the 1997 Belmont Stakes over the much-favored Triple Crown hopeful, Silver Charm.  In a twist of fate, these two, who were once rivals, now both bask in the sun and roll on the green grass at Dream Chase Farm. To learn more about this great champion, please visit the Touch Gold webpage.

Old Friends volunteer Beth Shannon described Touch Gold as “the ultimate tough guy with a heart of pure gold. He’s fierce, he’s feisty, he’s rough, and he’s loving.”

One has only to watch the big race between Touch Gold and Silver Charm that Belmont Park morning back in June 1997 to understand the athleticism and the tenacity of this amazing champion.

“Touch Gold is just like his hat…bold, big and beautiful.” – Michael Blowen, President and Founder of Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement.

I wanted to create a very special hat that would showcase Touch Gold’s beautiful bay coat, his blue and black racing silk colors and his bold spirit and athleticism;  all carefully woven together with threads of “gold” as reflected not only in his achievements but in his heart as well.

But first, I needed to do my homework! To learn more about Touch Gold’s life and career I went online and watched videos of his wins on the track, studied his pedigree and his connections, and before I knew it I had the background information that I needed.

I made a rough sketch of the hat, selected a mix of fabrics that would make it come alive and the creative process was underway!

I chose a soft blue dupioni silk for the foundation of the design.

Next, I took alternating layers of shimmering black and chocolate organza and fashioned an asymmetrical ruffled brim edge, stitching it to the edge of the brim to convey the movement of this Thoroughbred athlete at full gallop.

For a finishing touch, I hand stitched a thin strip of fancy black braiding to the ruffled brim edges.

Next came the trim. Out of swirling layers of soft blue, aqua blue and gold organza I sculpted a single large rose and placed it along the front crown of the hat.

A shiny black button framed in gold provided a stunning accent for the center of the rose!

Sheer black and gold organza  were the perfect materials for creating the leaves, which were then top stitched with gold embroidery thread.

For the final trim element I fashioned a medley of fabric “feathers”, a MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® trademark, out of black and gold organza and layered and shaped them to add a splash of dramatic detail.

Using a scrumptious chocolate crinkle taffeta I stitched together an elegant sash to encircle the crown of the hat…

And chose a rich brown satin for the lining of the “Touch Gold” hat to coordinate with the trims.

For the finishing touch, I found an exquisite gold-tinged black pebble button which I added to the back of the hat!

And as a physical remembrance of Touch Gold, several strands of this great champion’s tail hair were braided and woven into the trim of the hat, creating a unique, one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau that captures Touch Gold not only in spirit but in substance as well.

Once the hat was completed it was on its way to Old Friends for the grand photo shoot with our models.

We want to extend a big thank you to Emily and Carson Sullivan who were splendid models for the “Touch Gold” chapeau as well as to Matt and Wendy Wooley of EquiSport Photos who always work their camera magic for these auctions.  A big thanks also goes to Bella Rose for providing Emily’s dress.

For a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the “Touch Gold” hat photo shoot, please enjoy the video provided by EquiSport Photos.

The “Touch Gold” is now up for bid on EBay. Bidding ends Sunday, February 11th at 8 PM EST.

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

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For more information about this one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau please visit the Touch Gold hat webpage.

Thank you for visiting Hats and Horses, and here’s to our best auction season yet!



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