Current Auction Hat
“Watchem Smokey” Hat
For the eleventh consecutive year, MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® of Cape Cod and Old Friends of Kentucky have teamed up again for an unparalleled online shopping experience that began 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 second hat up for bid in our 2020 Hats Off to the Horses auction series for Old Friends honors Watchem Smokey, the Oklahoma-bred son of another Old Friends retiree, Alphabet Soup. Starting out as a claimer, Smokey went on to become a graded stakes winner with Bobby Frankel as his trainer in a total of 50 starts under such riders as Cecil Borel and Julie Krone. On October 2009, Smokey was injured in what would be his final race at Oklahoma's Remington Park. Thanks to the efforts of the Oklahoma Thoroughbred Retirement Program, Watchem Smokey recovered from his injury and Old Friends President Michael Blowen brought the bay gelding home in March 2010 to Old Friends at Cabin Creek, NY, the division named for Bobby Frankel, the trainer who had first believed in him.
The “Watchem Smokey” chapeau is up for bid from February 1st through the 11th. All proceeds from the sale go to Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement.
The “Watchem Smokey” hat auction marks the fifth time we are presenting a hat created to honor one of the Thoroughbred retirees of Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division. Named for the late Hall of Fame trainer, Bobby Frankel, Old Friends of Cabin Creek is located in Greenfield, New York. The farm is home to 16 retired racehorses under the care of JoAnn Pepper and her husband, Mark, along with the help of over a dozen devoted volunteers.
When I asked JoAnn Pepper her impression of Watchem Smokey she responded, “Smokey is a 'soft spoken' horse. He seems to be my most intelligent guy here. He had a life threatening injury and seems to take good care of himself and has never had a problem. He is in with Cool'n Collective, who is one of our more 'goofy' horses, Smokey is very patient with him and never starts the trouble. He’s a beautiful horse, just makes you want to look into his eyes and stay with him a while. I love him with all my heart and am thankful he is here!!!”
Connie Bush who photographs the horses of Old Friends of Cabin Creek told me that Smokey “has always been calm and sweet. He loves his peppermints and greets everyone who visits him in his paddock, especially when they have treats. He's good with kids.”
Connie continued, “Smokey lives with Cool'n Collective in a kind of love and hate relationship. They get very jealous of each other when attention and treats are around. Sometime Smokey starts trouble and sometimes Cool. Other than an occasional nippy play fight with Cool, Smokey's a really good boy."
To honor this new Old Friends retiree, the distinctive red, white and blue racing silks of owner Edmund Gann racing stable provided the primary color inspiration for the trimmings of this stunning Derby hat and are the recurring theme throughout the design.
A large hat foundation was created using a base layer of white dupioni silk in a wide brim style.
A red dupioni silk underbrim creates a bold, elegant effect when the wearer's face is upturned.
To showcase Gann's stable colors, a large red rose curl created with alternating layers of red dupioni silk and red silk organza adorns the front of the hat. A black pebble button was added for a final accent.
This sumptuous rose curl centerpiece is nestled into a medley of bold blue silk organza leaves.
For a final element in the floral centerpiece, seven chocolate silk organza “feathers” topstitched with black thread were added to reflect Watchem Smokey's bay coloring.
A chocolate satin sash lined with blue silk organza encircles the crown of the hat...
… and swirling layers of alternating chocolate brown and red tulle, encircle the crown.
For a final trim element, a single black pebble button adorns the sash in the back.
The lining for the “Watchem Smokey” hat was created from a bold red satin to coordinate with the rose floral trim.
As you can see, the hat is stunning from every angle and measures approximately 22 inches, end to end!
As a physical remembrance of Watchem Smokey, 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 Watchem Smokey not only in spirit but in substance as well.
The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Watchem Smokey and all of the horses who, thanks to the generosity of those who support their aftercare, now graze in the warm sunshine of Old Friends 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, Watchem Smokey!
To read more about Watchem Smokey, 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.