This year our Derby hat fundraiser began on January 1st and will come to a close on April 11th. 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 third hat up for bid in our 2020 Hats Off to the Horses auction series for Old Friends honors Soi Phet, the nearly-black California-bred son of Tizbud.
With 8 career stakes wins, Soi Phet became the oldest stakes winner in Santa Anita Park history when he captured the Crystal Water Stakes as a 10-year-old in 2018. After his 64th and final start on June 19, 2019, Soi Phet was retired and on July 8th arrived at Old Friends in KY thanks to his connections, Gerald and Sandra Benowitz, Mathilde Powell and her husband, Soi Phet’s trainer, Leonard Powell, and Paul Viskovich.
In a July 8, 2019 Bloodhorse article the President of Old Friends Michael Blowen stated, “I’m such a fan of Soi Phet, and I’m so excited to welcome him to Old Friends. We hope all of his fans will visit him here, and we thank Leonard and his owners for sharing this great champ with us.”
Old Friends volunteer, Beth Shannon describes Soi Phet in this way: “Orange is a good color for Soi Phet. He can get rather enthusastic about grabbing carrots. He’s also quite the presence, tall and strong and firm both physically and as a personality.
Clearly, a very special one-of-a-kind hat was needed to honor this beloved new retiree of Old Friends.
To learn more about Soi Phet’s life I went online and watched videos of his life on the track, read articles about his career as a racehorse…
Next, a sketch of the hat was made, fabrics were chosen and we were off and away!
I needed a hat design that would showcase the distinctive orange, white, red and yellow silk colors of Soi Phet’s connections for a recurring trim theme throughout the design.
But first I needed a foundation; all all-black foundation to reflect Soi Phet’s coat coloring.
A wide brimmed hat design was created using a base layer of black dupioni silk.
A large, sumptuous rose curl was rolled and gathered in alternating layers of red silk organza and dupioni silk to adorn the front of the hat.
This floral centerpiece was then framed with a medley of two-tone orange and yellow organza leaves that were top stitched with orange thread to accent.
Four black silk organza “bow loops” were fashioned next…
…and three black silk organza “feathers” were added to reflect Soi Phet’s nearly black coat.
Swirling layers of red tulle were gathered and shaped to cover the brim…
…and a red satin sash lined with orange organza was handcrafted to encircle the crown of the hat.
For a final accent, a black pebble button was chosen to adorn the sash in the back.
The lining for the “Soi Phet” hat was created from a soft black satin to coordinate with the Marguerite floral trim and feathers.
The hat is stunning from every angle and measures approximately 19 inches end to end!
As a physical remembrance of Soi Phet, 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 Soi Phet not only in spirit but in substance as well.
The hat was completed in early October, and was then shipped to Old Friends for the grand photo shoot with our model, Dagmar Galleithner-Steiner!
And from all that I heard, everyone had a terrific time!
The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Soi Phet and all of the horses who, thanks to the generosity of those who support their aftercare, now graze in the warm sunshine of Dream Chase Farm for the rest of their lives.
Special thanks to artist Dagmar Galleithner-Steiner for being our wonderful model and to Old Friends volunteer and photographer Laura Battles who has thrilled us all with her stunning images!
The “Soi Phet” auction hat is now up for bid on EBay and all the proceeds go to the retired racehorses of Old Friends. Bidding ends March 11th at 8 PM EST.
Please also enjoy this slideshow of the “Soi Phet” chapeau and the amazing horse who inspired it.
To learn more about the life, career and retirement of Soi Phet, please visit the Soi Phet horse webpage.
For more information about the “Soi Phet” Chapeau please visit the Soi Phet hat webpage.
Finally, we’d like to send a great big thank you to all of the “Friends of Old Friends” who are participating and sharing the word about “Hats Off to the Horses” this season through a very special social media campaign. Click on the poster below to learn more this effort that we introduced last season.
Thank you for visiting Hats and Horses, and for supporting our “Hats Off to the Horses” fundraiser this year!