“Hats Off to the Horses”

The Thirteenth Annual
“Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby”
A Unique Online Derby Hat Auction Benefiting Old Friends

sponsored by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®
Custom Derby Millinery by Sally Faith Steinmann

For the thirteenth consecutive year, MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® of Cape Cod and Old Friends of Kentucky have teamed up again for an unparalleled online shopping experience that begins January 1st with their “Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby” auction. This unique Derby hat fundraiser is an annual event which features one-of-a-kind couture Derby hats created and donated by couture milliner Sally Faith Steinmann of MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® to benefit the retired racehorses of Old Friends.

Our first twelve years of the fundraiser have been a great success, and to date well over $42,000 has been raised for the retired racehorses of Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement facilities.

The first hat up for bid in our 2022 Hats Off to the Horses auction series for Old Friends honors This Hard Land, aka Frankie. A tall, handsome New York bred gelding owned by Lake Star Stable, Frankie got both his racing name and nickname from a Bruce Springsteen song. With a modest career on the track that included three ungraded stakes races, Frankie was retired to Old Friends at Cabin Creek in March of 2016.


The “This Hard Land” chapeau is up for bid from January 1st through the 11th. All proceeds from the sale go to Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement.

About the Auction

This unique four month Derby hat auction, which runs from January 1st right up to Derby Day, features a new Derby hat design each month that has been created and donated by Sally Faith Steinmann of MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® to honor the beauty and spirit of one of the retired racehorses at Old Friends. All of the proceeds from this running auction will benefit the retired thoroughbred racehorses now living at Old Friends. Old Friends and its founder, Michael Blowen, are well known in racing circles for the exceptional care they give racehorses that are too old for racing or breeding. We thought a fundraiser honoring several of the more than 200 retirees now living at Dream Chase Farm was the perfect way to celebrate the road to the 148th Kentucky Derby.

Each month the featured auction hat will be posted on this website and the Old Friends website. Each hat will be available for bidding for 10 days only. For the month of January we are featuring the “This Hard Land” chapeau which is up for bid from January 1st through the 11th.

To bid, please go to the Old Friends website and click on the link provided after the first of each month. Winners will be announced each month (unless they prefer to remain anonymous) and on the first day of the following month a new one-of-a-kind millinery creation will be placed up for bid to celebrate another resident of Old Friends.

Freight charges for shipping the hats will be at the expense of the winning bidders. Winning bidders, please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery of your hat in order to ensure custom sizing.

In a 2007 CBS interview, Michael Blowen of Old Friends was asked why he wanted to help Thoroughbred racehorses and not some other worthy cause. He replied, “Everyone has a little spot in the world. One tiny little dot. This is my dot.” Michael’s love and respect for the horses in his care are evident in his every word and action, and his dream for the farm as a “living-history museum of horse racing” really has come true. Old Friends is indeed a haven for the retired racehorses who live there and a marvelous outreach for educating the public about the needs of all horses.

MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® has a dot as well, and we want to help. By donating these custom Derby hats to Old Friends we are hoping to connect the dots by bringing the world of hat couture and equine aftercare together as we help Michael with his dream. Instead of two isolated dots, this unique online hat auction creates a connection between us. It is our way of giving something back to the world of horses and at the same time offering someone the chance to own a beautiful one-of-a-kind Derby hat by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®!


“Sally Faith Steinmann’s works of millinery art have raised thousands of dollars and a priceless amount of awareness for all these great retired athletes. Their stunning beauty and indescribable originality symbolize what one great artist can do to positively alter the lives of so many deserving athletes.” – Michael Blowen, President and founder of Old Friends

To place a bid or to learn more about Old Friends at Dream Chase Farm, please visit the Old Friends website to access the eBay link or call them at 502-863-1775.



Special thanks to Acacia Courtney, Gulfstream Park and New York Racing Association paddock reporter and the host of the “America’s Day at the Races” shows on FOX Sports, for helping us this month with our “Hats Off to the Horses” fundraiser.

Thanks also to Connie Bush of Tiger Eye Photography for her stunning images of Acacia and “Frankie”.

To learn more about Frankie, the horse, please visit the This Hard Land webpage. For more information about the “This Hard Land” Chapeau please visit the This Hard Land hat webpage.

To place a bid or to learn more about Old Friends at Dream Chase Farm, please visit the Old Friends website to access the eBay link or call them at 502-863-1775.



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