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 hat up for bid in our 2021 “Hats Off to the Horses” auction series for Old Friends honors Slew’s Brew, the 9 year-old bay son of Suave and great grandson of Seattle Slew on both sides of his pedigree.
Slew raced his entire career in New York with a maiden win at Saratoga in 2014. He was retired to Old Friends at Cabin Creek in 2018 with a record of 2-4-4 from 29 starts and earnings of $186,649.
The “Slew’s Brew” hat auction marks the sixth 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 of Cabin Creek is located in Greenfield, New York. The farm is home to 15 retired Thoroughbred racehorses and 1 American Quarter Horse under the care of JoAnn Pepper and her husband, Mark, along with the help of over a dozen devoted volunteers.
When I asked JoAnn Pepper her impression of Slew’s Brew she responded, “Slew is a sweet horse. Big blaze. When he arrived he seemed tired and shy. I put him in a paddock by himself for the winter. He made lots of girlfriends and was so easy to be around.”
JoAnn continued, “In the spring, he was ready to have a buddy and Commentator definitely was telling me he had had it with his roommate. So I took Tator out and put Slew in with Frankie (This hard Land) A big, big dark bay, full of life and sweet also. It was nerve racking but it turned out well and they have been together about a year. Slew has grown a lot emotionally and seems happy. He has always been a weaver while he waits for his meals but that is the only time he does it now, so I think their friendship has been good for Slew. He’s easy to catch and very lovable and kissable. We are blessed to have him with us.”
Christine, a Cabin Creek volunteer with a very special relationship with Slew writes, “I am a volunteer at Old Friends at Cabin Creek with a huge crush on Slews Brew. Slew is an intelligent, trusting, confident, calm, loving and playful nine year old gelding. If that is not enough, he is definitely ‘eye candy’ and handsome beyond belief! He had anxiety issues demonstrated by frequent weaving which has substantially decreased in the past two years.” Christine shared that Slew was a source of great comfort when her brother passed this past September. She continued, “(Slew) has taught me more than I have taught him, and he has brought me an abundance of happiness and love into my life. I am so grateful our paths have crossed…”
Clearly, a very special one-of-a-kind hat was needed to honor this beloved new retiree of Old Friends.
To learn more about Slew”s life I went online and watched videos of his life on the track and read articles about his career as a racehorse…
Next, a sketch of the hat was made, fabrics were chosen and the creative process was underway!
To honor this special Old Friends retiree, the bold turquoise and gold racing silks of owner Gold Bear Farm racing stable provided the primary color inspiration for the trimmings of this stunning Derby hat and are the recurring theme throughout the design.
A large hat foundation was created using a base layer of black dupioni silk in a wide brim style.
A turquoise dupioni silk underbrim creates a bold, elegant effect when the wearer’s face is upturned.
The edge of the brim was trimmed with a black silk organza brim edge which allows light to pass through the sheer fabric.
Using yards of black silk organza, these wavy brim layers were top stitched with gold embroidered strands to reflect the rippling movement of the Thoroughbred athlete at full gallop. A thin strip of fancy black braiding was then top stitched to the ruffled brim edges to give it a finished look.
To showcase Gold Bear farm’s racing silk colors, a large gold rose curl created with alternating layers of gold shantung and bronze organza adorns the front of the hat.
This sumptuous rose curl centerpiece is nestled into a medley of bold turquoise silk leaves framed with mocha hat veiling to soften the look.
For a final element in the floral centerpiece, a sprawling medley of gold and turquoise organza “feathers” were added to the crown.
A turquoise dupioni silk sash encircles the crown of the hat…
… and a single flat black pebble button adorns the sash in the back.
The lining for the “Slew’s Brew” hat was created from a turquoise shantung to coordinate with the trims.
As you can see, the hat is stunning from every angle and measures approximately 25 inches, end to end!
As a physical remembrance of Slew’s Brew, 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 Slew’s Brew 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 featured 2021 model, Acacia Courtney!
And from all that I heard, everyone had a terrific time!
Special thanks to Acacia Courtney, Gulfstream Park and New York Racing Association paddock reporter and host of the America’s Day at the Races for modeling the hat. And thank you also to Old Friends at Cabin Creek volunteer and photographer, Connie Bush for her stunning images!
The “Slew’s Brew” auction hat is now up for bid on eBay and all the proceeds go to the retired racehorses of Old Friends. Bidding ends February 11th at 8 PM EST.
To learn more about the life, career and retirement of Slew’s Brew, please visit the Slew’s Brew horse webpage.
For more information about the “Slew’s Brew” Chapeau please visit the Slew’s Brew 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 about this effort that we introduced several years ago.
Thank you for visiting Hats and Horses, and for supporting our “Hats Off to the Horses” fundraiser this year!