Current Auction Hat
For the twelfth consecutive year, MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® of Cape Cod and Old Friends of Kentucky are teaming up again for an unparalleled online shopping experience that began on 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.
The fourth and final hat up for bid in our 2021 Hats Off to the Horses auction series for Old Friends honors Birdstone, the Marylou Whitney Kentucky-bred son of Grindstone whose stunning Belmont win ended Smarty Jones's bid for the 2004 Triple Crown. Trained by Nick Zito, Birdstone's G1 Champagne Stakes and Travers Stakes victories further proved the kind of champion he truly was. A chip fracture in his left front ankle ended Birdstone's racing career and launched a memorable stud career at Gainesway Farm, KY (2005 to 2020) with notably two classic winners in his first crop: Mine That Bird & Summer Bird. Birdstone was retired to Old Friends on August 28, 2020.
The “Birdstone” chapeau is up for bid from April 1st through the 11th. All proceeds from the sale go to Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement.
Following the news of Birdstone's retirement to Old Friends, an August 28, 2020 Bloodhorse article quoted President and Founder of Old Friends, Michael Blowen as saying, "He's a living tribute to Marylou Whitney, and we plan to carry on her great contributions to the aftercare of both humans and horses. We're extremely grateful to John for trusting us to care for his tremendous stakes winner. Birdstone had a great life at Gainesway, and we plan to continue that tradition at Old Friends."
Indeed, a very special chapeau was needed to honor this accomplished Thoroughbred athlete and to celebrate his new life at Old Friends.
An extra wide hat foundation was created using an irridescent blue taffeta with chocolate thread to reflect the Whitney Stable's Eton blue racing silk colors.
To celebrate Birdstone's amazing home stretch charge to defeat favorite Smarty Jones in the 2004 Belmont, the third jewel of the Triple Crown, three delicate Marguerites were created out of chocolate satin rose curl centers and greenish-blue organza petals top stitched with chocolate embroidery strands.
Two large Marguerite flowers adorn the front of the hat...
...and one slightly smaller Marguerite adorns the back.
Each individual floral centerpiece is framed with leaves created out of soft chocolate organza.
A chocolate taffeta sash lined with black silk organza encircles the crown of the hat...
… and swirling layers of chocolate brown tulle encircle the crown.
A single large black pebble button adorns the sash in the back.
The hat is stunning from every angle and measures approximately 23 inches end to end including the overlaying tulle layers!
The lining for the “Birdstone” hat was created from chocolate satin to coordinate with the entire chapeau design.
As a physical remembrance of Birdstone, 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 Birdstone not only in spirit but in substance as well.
The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Birdstone 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.
"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
Hats Off to you, Birdstone!
To read more about Birdstone, 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.
To view the couture Derby hats from previous auctions, please click on the following - Old Friends Hat Auction Portfolio.