The 2017 “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” for Old Friends continues in April with our fourth and final hat of the season, the “Danthebluegrassman”!
Special thanks to Krystal Court, her husband, jockey Jon Court and their daughter Aubrey and also to Shelby Landeros and her husband, jockey Chris Landeros for helping us this month with our “Danthebluegrassman” hat auction for Old Friends.
Thanks also to EquiSport Photos for their stunning images and video footage. A special thanks to Bella Rose Clothing Boutique of Lexington, Kentucky for furnishing Krystal and Shelby’s lovely dresses!
See Wendy Wooley’s behind-the-scenes video of the hat photo shoot with our models at Old Friends:
If you would like to bid on the “Danthebluegrassman” chapeau please place your bid at this link on EBay.
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.
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.”
And she added, “He has changed a lot since arriving here over 7 yrs ago. I think he is very content… as long as we don’t ask him to do much!”
Clearly, a very special hat was needed to honor this charming retiree of Old Friends!
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.
Next, a sketch of the hat was made, fabrics were chosen and the creative process was underway!
The foundation of the “Zippy Chippy” hat was fashioned as a wide brim design created out of white dupioni silk.
The edge of the brim was trimmed with a unique double organza brim edge which allows light to pass through the sheer fabric.
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.
A thin strip of fancy white braiding top stitched to the ruffled brim edges was added to give it a finished look.
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).
This floral centerpiece was then framed with a medley of royal blue silk organza leaves, individually wired and shaped.
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.
A sash was created out of folded layers of royal blue silk organza to encircle the crown of the hat.
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.
And from all that I have heard, it sounded like everyone at Old Friends Cabin Creek in New York had one heck of a good time at the photo shoot – especially Zippy!
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! 😉
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”!