Current Auction Hat
“Tom's Ready” Hat
For the thirteenth 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 second hat up for bid in our 2022 Hats Off to the Horses auction series for Old Friends honors Tom's Ready, a Pennsylvania-bred and multiple graded stakes winner who also contended in the 2016 Kentucky Derby. The gelding was named after Tom Benson, the late husband of GMB Racing's owner, Gayle Benson. Retired with over a million dollars in career earnings, Tom’s Ready arrived at Old Friends in November, 2020 courtesy of Gayle Benson.
The “Tom's Ready” chapeau is up for bid from February 1st through the 11th. All proceeds from the sale go to Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement.
In a November 23, 2020 Bloodhorse article, a staff writer quoted owner of G M B Racing's, Gayle Benson as saying, "I truly respect and appreciate the great work of the staff at Old Friends as we have come to know Michael Blowen and his great work. We have had Saint Aloysius there for a number of years, and it gives us great pleasure to have our wonderful Tom's Ready retire to Old Friends. He was our first purchase, he is a grade 2 winner, and he raced in the Kentucky Derby and the Breeder's Cup, so we are very proud of him and he is deserving of the great care that Old Friends will provide."
President of Old Friends, Michael Blowen was recently quoted as saying, "Old Friends is honored to care for Tom's Ready. The stakes winning gelding is named after Tom Benson, the late husband of Gayle Benson. Mrs. Benson also owns the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans but I think the Thoroughbreds may be her favorite athletes. Tom's Ready is as kind as he is handsome and a favorite among our many visitors."
Indeed, a very special chapeau was needed to honor this beloved Thoroughbred athlete and to celebrate his retirement at Old Friends.
A Derby top hat design was created using a unique blend of colors, shades and textures that showcases Tom's dark bay coloring, sweet temperament and his racing silk colors of soft light blue, gold and white (gold pom pom on cap) which were designed by GMB Racing to reflect the Virgin Mary's garment colors as well as the stable's Triple Crown ambitions.
The foundation for the “Tom's Ready” design was fashioned out of white dupioni silk in the shape of a classic top hat style.
A tightly clustered medley of seven “variegated” roses created out of alternating layers of pale blue and gold dupioni silk adorn the front of the hat.
This unique floral centerpiece is framed with a sumptuous leaf medley created out of shimmering black-chocolate iridescent taffeta and gold organza to reflect the gelding's coat colors.
Three gold organza “feather” accents were added as a final accent to the flower trim and are so flattering from every angle.
Yards of gold hat veiling were gathered and styled throughout this top hat design...
... with a generous draping of the veiling across the front of the hat for a touch of mystery.
Soft blue dupioni silk was used to fashion a pleated sash that encircles the crown of the hat...
…and a medium size bow with short pleated tails to adorn the back of the hat.
Three medium tails created in gold hat veiling provide the final accent for the bow.
The “Tom's Ready” hat is stunning from every angle and measures approximately 14 inches front to back.
The lining for the “Tom's Ready” hat was created from white satin to blend with the entire chapeau design.
As a physical remembrance of Tom's Ready, 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 Tom's Ready not only in spirit but in substance as well.
The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Tom's Ready 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, Tom's Ready!
To read more about Tom's Ready, 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.