For the eighth consecutive year, Old Friends and MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® have teamed 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.
For our final auction of the season we are featuring the “Danthebluegrassman” chapeau that honors Kentucky-bred Danthebluegrassman whose major wins included the 2002 Gold Rush Stakes and the Golden Gate Derby.
In September of 2016 we started something new in our “Hats Off to the Horses” fundraiser by holding our first ever “Pick a Pony” contest. The public was invited to vote for their favorite Old Friends horse out of a group a 4 finalists, and Danthebluegrassman was the winner!
Dan qualified for the 2002 Kentucky Derby and his name was in the program. Unfortunately he was injured before the race and did not start in the Run for the Roses that was won that year by War Emblem, another Old Friends retiree.
Dan was retired to Old Friends in Kentucky in 2008 thanks to the efforts of Jim Ponte and Tim Ford.
In an April 20, 2008 Bloodhorse article by Claire Novak, President and Director of Old Friends, Michael Blowen, described the arrival of Danthebluegrassman to Old Friends in this way: “He walked off the truck like a puppy dog. We led him into a stall and gave him a couple of carrots, and he’s just the sweetest horse with lovely brown eyes.”
When I asked Beth Shannon, volunteer at Old Friends, her impression of Danthebluegrassman, she responded, “Dan is our resident Lovable Oaf. He’s really big, fully 17 hands, and really big boned. He’s bossy to his paddock mates, though not mean. He’s kind natured.”
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 Dan’s racing days and connections. I soon 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 wide brim design was created out of champagne dupioni silk.
And for the trim centerpiece I created a large red Derby rose to honor Dan’s extraordinary achievement in qualifying for the 2002 Kentucky Derby, fashioned out of alternating layers of red dupioni silk and silk organza.
Danthebluegrassman would finally have his red Derby rose!
I then framed the rose with a medley of deep yellow organza leaves that were top stitched in red for added detailing.
Large red silk organza “bow loops” and a layer of soft mocha veiling were added to provide a colorful backdrop for the rose and leaves.
Five chocolate brown organza “feathers”, a MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® trademark, were added to the rose curl centerpiece for a final, playful trim accent. The entire trim centerpiece was then stitched to the front of the hat.
Yards of shimmering, wispy red tulle were gathered and layered around the crown to provide an elegant “nest” for Dan’s rose.
A layered sash, created out of deep yellow dupioni silk with a red dupioni silk lining, was wrapped around the crown of the hat.
For the finishing touch, a large shimmering espresso button was added to the back of the hat as a reflection of Dan’s beautiful brown eyes.
The lining was created from a yellow taffeta to coordinate with the trims.
The finished “Danthebluegrassman” hat design measures over 20 inches across, inclusive of the tulle layers. A stunning creation from every angle!
As a physical remembrance of Danthebluegrassman, 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 Danthebluegrassman not only in spirit but in substance as well.
The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Danthebluegrassman 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.
Hats Off to you, Danthebluegrassman!
Soon the hat was on its way to Old Friends for the grand photo shoot with our models.
This month we were fortunate to have two of our models, Krystal Court and Shelby Landeros join us for the photo shoot with Danthebluegrassman, showing his hat to full advantage.
What a lucky horse!
For a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the photo shoot…
We want to extend a big thank you to jockey Chris Landeros and his lovely wife, Shelby, as well as jockey Jon and his wife Krystal and daughter Aubrey who were splendid models for the “Danthebluegrassman” chapeau as well as to Matt and Wendy Wooley of EquiSport Photos who worked their photographic magic once again. The dresses that Bella Rose Clothing Boutique, Lexington, Kentucky furnished for Shelby and Krystal matched the chapeau beautifully. Our thanks to all of you!
The “Danthebluegrassman” auction hat is now up for bid on EBay and bidding ends April 11th at 8 PM EST.
Please also enjoy this slideshow of the “Danthe bluegrassman” chapeau and the horse who inspired it.
To learn more about Danthebluegrassman, the horse, please visit the Danthebluegrassman webpage. For more information about the “Danthebluegrassman” Chapeau please visit the Danthebluegrassman hat webpage.
Thank you for visiting Hats and Horses, and here’s to Danthebluegrassman!