Current Auction Hat
Please join us once again for the
For the fifth consecutive year, MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® and Old Friends are teaming up again for an unparalleled online shopping experience beginning November 1st with their "Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby" auction. This unique Derby hat fundraiser is now an annual event which features one-of-a-kind couture Derby hats created by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® to benefit the retired racehorses of Old Friends. To learn more about Old Friends at Dream Chase Farm and bid on the hats, please visit the Old Friends website, or call them at 502-863-1775.
The fourth hat that is up for bid in our fundraiser auction series honors graded stakes winner and Kentucky-bred Ball Four. The 13 year-old bay gelding was retired to Old Friends in 2011 thanks to Bruce Golden Racing and trainer David Jacobson, who retired Ball Four and donated him to Old Friends. Special thanks also goes to many friends of Old Friends, including Laura Hillenbrand, Mike Repole and Maggi Moss.
We are so pleased this year to have Rosie Napravnik modeling our “Hats Off to the Horses” chapeaux for us. Thank you, Rosie! A very special thanks also goes to Matt and Wendy Wooley of EquiSport Photos for their photo shoots with Rosie and the horses of Old Friends. Thank you as well to Bella Rose Clothing Boutique, Lexington, Kentucky for furnishing Rosie's stunning dresses for the photo shoots.
The "Ball Four" Hat
To read about this magnificent Thoroughbred athlete, please click on the photos of Ball Four courtesy of EquiSport Photos.
Baseball has been a part of Ball Four's life from the very beginning. Sired by Grand Slam and bred by Grand Slam Farm LLC (and B. D. Gibbs Farm), Ball Four caught the attention of ardent baseball fan and president of Old Friends, Michael Blowen, as Ball Four entered his eighth year of racing with surprising wins against the odds in such races as the Kentucky Cup Classic (G2) and the Fayette Stakes (G3). Michael must have been over the moon when former Yankees pitcher Jim Bouton, author of the book Ball Four, agreed to be a part of the gelding's retirement celebration in the paddock area at Keeneland on Blue Grass Stakes Day April 16th!
Ball Four is described by volunteer Beth Shannon of Old Friends as a horse with “an alert, perky eye... who's always aware of what's going on. No daydreamer, (he) gets along well with everyone in his small herd (4 other geldings) and is always right up there if they decide to have an impromptu race. Often they do this at sunset, seen from the lower main farm as silhouettes with flying manes beyond the trees and against the sky.” Beth said that there is a bit of whimsy about Ball Four's appearance as she added that ”he always looks like he's just stuck his nose in the snow or like a kid with vanilla ice cream on his nose and chin.”
A chapeau full of energy and animation was needed to honor this accomplished equine athlete. With this in mind, an elegant Derby hat design was created with a unique blend of colors, tones and textures that showcases Ball Four's bay coloring along with the horse's spirited personality and the owners' racing silk colors of black and hot pink.
The foundation for the “Ball Four” design was fashioned out of a rich black dupioni silk with a double black silk organza ruffled brim edge to represent the undulating, rippling motion of the magnificently muscled Thoroughbred athlete stretched out at full gallop.
For additional drama, a bold hot pink taffeta underbrim was added that frames the face beautifully when the wearer's face is upturned.
As a reflection of Ball's Four's name, four large rose curls were created out of alternating layers of fuchsia dupioni silk and hot pink organza and were dramatically placed across the entire front of the hat.
Each rose is beautifully framed with a medley of leaves fashioned out of black silk organza.
A layered sash, created out of hot pink taffeta, encircles the crown of the hat, accented with three hot pink buttons on the back seam.
The “Ball Four” hat is stunning from every angle with no details left untouched. The lining was created from a vibrant hot pink taffeta to coordinate with the trims.
The finished design measures approximately 23 inches including the ruffled brim edge. The Ball Four is all about color, movement and joie de vivre.
As a physical remembrance of Ball Four, several strands of the great gelding's tail hairs were braided and woven into the trim of the hat, creating a unique, one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau that captures Ball Four not only in spirit but in substance as well.
The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Ball Four 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.
”We ask of the thoroughbreds, and they give, they serve us with dignity and satisfy our needs to compete - we owe it to them to provide the retirement they so justly have earned.” - Fred Stone
Welcome home to Old Friends, Ball Four!
The “Ball Four” is the fourth hat in our “Hats Off to the Horses” Derby hat auction series this season, and is up for bid from February 1st through the 11th, 2014.
To read more about Ball Four, the horse, please click on the following link - Featured Horse.
Bid as many times and on as many hats as you like during this running auction. For further information about the eBay bidding process, please contact Old Friends at 502-863-1775. If you don't desire to place a bid on a hat, please contact Old Friends to see about what other ways you might be able to help out at Dream Chase Farm.
Freight charges will be at the expense of the winning bidder. Winning bidders, please allow 3-4 weeks for delivery of your hat in order to ensure proper sizing.
CONGRATULATIONS to Michelle Nicklay of North Dakota, winner of the "Sean Avery" hat that was up for bid in November!
CONGRATULATIONS to Lynda St. Andre of Taunton, MA, winner of the "Patton" hat that was up for bid in December!
CONGRATULATIONS to Pam Corrigan of Kingsport, TN, winner of the "Afternoon Deelites" hat that was up for bid in January!
To view the couture Derby hats from previous auctions, please click on the following - Old Friends Hat Auction Portfolio.