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The “Rapid Redux” Hat
For the fourth consecutive year, MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® and Old Friends are teaming up for an unparalleled online shopping experience: "Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby". This unique Derby hat fundraiser 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.
For the first hat auction in this year's auction series, milliner Sally Faith Steinmann of MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® has created this stunning one-of-a-kind couture Derby hat to honor the 6-year-old gelding, Rapid Redux, who holds the modern North American record of 22 consecutive wins by a Thoroughbred and is one of the newest retirees to arrive at Old Friends thanks to the efforts of his trainer, David Wells.
Reflections on Rapid Redux, the Horse
Rapid Redux, originally named Snow Leopard, is a champion who holds the modern North American record of 22 consecutive wins. Yet in spite of this extraordinary achievement, some still say that Rapid Redux does not belong in the company of racing greats like Citation, Zenyatta, or of either of his own grandfathers, Secretariat or Affirmed. I would contest that Rapid Redux does indeed belong in the company of these stellar athletes and that perhaps we need to rework our definition of “greatness”.
After an uneventful early career, Baltimore native Robert Cole, Jr. bought Rapid Redux for a bargain price of $6,500 at Penn National in 2010. Cole sized him up as a strong, durable colt with early speed who would be best suited for long distance vs. sprint. In the hands of trainer David Wells this front-running colt led his team in 2011 to an amazing 19-for-19 record winning streak in starter allowance races at Mid-Atlantic tracks. This equaled Citation's record of 19 consecutive wins in a single season and tied the 19-race win streaks set by Pepper's Pride and Zenyatta. Returning to Laurel Park in Maryland on January 4, 2012, Rapid Redux claimed one final gritty victory over a tenacious Awesome Rhythm as he established a new North American record of 22 consecutive wins.
Yet some still say that Rapid Redux was not a great racehorse. After all, he did not win the Kentucky Derby, he never won a graded stakes race. Still, Rapid Redux is like thousands of other “blue-collar” racehorses all around the country who run at the smaller tracks that show up every day and do what they are asked. Andrew Beyer wrote in a Washington Post article on January 18, 2012, ” Rapid Redux showed up at mid-Atlantic tracks week after week. While most horses manage to lose races they appear certain to win, he never did. He delivered his maximum effort every time he stepped on the track.”
So the question is, how do we define greatness? And what is it about Rapid Redux that makes him a hero with the American public? Perhaps his story resonates with our own. Most of us wake up day after day and do our “job” to the best of our ability. And we admire those who try their best and give it their all, reaching their maximum potential whatever that potential may be. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have”. Rapid Redux did just that and in astonishing fashion with sheer grit and tenacity. And I dare say as a result, he has changed the sport of horse racing and the way we look at the sport – and its “great” heroes – forever.
The “Rapid Redux” hat design celebrates a truly great racehorse whose achievements were the result of a team that was determined to make a major contribution to Thoroughbred horse racing. To honor this athlete and his 22 consecutive wins, the distinctive pink and yellow racing silks of owner Robert Cole, Jr's racing stable provide the primary color inspiration for the trimmings of this stunning Derby hat and are the recurring theme throughout the design.
A hat foundation was created using a base layer of fuchsia dupioni silk overlaid with three wavy layers of hot pink organza spilling over the edge of the brim and extending the overall length of the hat to nearly 26 inches.
The three organza brim layers, incrementally tiered around the entire brim, add a wavy movement to the design as they catch the light. The overall effect is a stunning representation of the undulating, rippling motion of the magnificently muscled Thoroughbred athlete stretched out at full gallop.
22 luscious rose curls created in swirling hot pink organza and fuchsia dupioni silk, are nestled in variegated leaves of various shades of green textured organza accented with bold yellow seed bead “bow loops” encircling the entire brim. Chocolate tulle, representing Rapid Redux's shiny chestnut coat, provides the underlayer for the intricate rose and leaf trim design.
Two organza/silk pink rose curls framed by green organza leaves adorn the underbrim and create a note of elegance and charm when the wearer's face is upturned. These two roses reflect Rapid Redux's first two victories for Robert Cole, Jr. in December 2010 that ignited his historic 22 win streak.
One other innovation for the "Rapid Redux" hat was the weaving of a physical remembrance of the horse into the hat. Several strands of the great gelding's tail hairs were braided and woven into the trim of the hat itself, thereby creating a unique, one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau that captures Rapid Redux not only in spirit but in substance as well...
The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Rapid Redux 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, Rapid Redux!
The “Rapid Redux” is the first hat in our “Hats Off to the Horses” Derby hat auction series this season, and it will be up for bid from November 1st through the 11th, 2012. At the end of the month, the winning bidder's name will be announced (unless they prefer to remain anonymous).
To read more about Rapid Redux, 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.