Arson Squad - the last hat of 2012!

For the sixth and final 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 9-year-old Grade II winner and millionaire gelding, Arson Squad, one of the newest retirees to arrive at Old Friends thanks to the generosity of his owner, Samantha Siegel of Jay Em Ess Stable. (please note, horse not included!)

About the horse:
Arson Squad's story is an example of what can happen when people in the world of Thoroughbred horse racing do the right thing by their horses. While the world of racing has a long way to go to ensure safe retirements for all racehorses, the sport is blessed with some owners who are dedicated caretakers of their equine athletes long after these horses are no longer able to benefit them financially on the racetrack or in the breeding shed.

Foaled in 2003 by Brahms out of Majestic Fire, Arson Squad's great grandfather was none other than 1969 Derby and Preakness winner, Majestic Prince. Bred for grass, the striking dark bay excelled on dirt. A $100,000 purchase by Jay Em Ess Stable at the 2004 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale, Arson Squad went on to become a millionaire with victories in such races as the 2006 Swaps Breeders' Cup (G2) at age three, the 2007 Strub Stakes (G2) at four, the 2008 Meadowlands Cup Handicap (G2) at five, and back to back Grade 3 wins in the Skip Away Stakes and the 2010 Alysheba Stakes at seven. He beat some of the best runners of his day including Friesan Fire, Chocolate Candy, Bullsbay, Flying Private, Macho Again and Cool Coal Man.

Unfortunately, Arson Squad's journey took a drastic turn on December 31st, 2011 during a seemingly uneventful workout at Gulfstream Park in Florida. Arson Squad was one of four Thoroughbreds who broke down that fateful day during or shortly after their routine workouts at Gulfstream. Sadly, Arson Squad was the only survivor, sustaining sesamoid fractures and rupturing the suspensory apparatus in his right foreleg.

Arson's Squad's owner, Jay Em Ess Stable, has achieved much success with such well known racehorses as Rail Trip, Declan's Moon, Boys at Tosconova, Canonize, and Include Me Out. The owners, Jan, Mace, and daughter Samantha Siegel, originally campaigned their horses under the name Jan, Mace and Samantha Siegel. In 2002, following Jan's death the company was renamed Jay Em Ess in her honor, using the phonetic spellings of their first names in accordance with a New York State racing requirement against using only initials. Samantha has managed the stable since her father's death in 2011, and she describes Arson Squad as a horse she loved from the first time she saw him. She describes him as a horse with a great disposition who always gave it his all every time he raced. And when he needed her help that fateful day at Gulfstream, Samantha was there to ensure that he got it. She sent Arson Squad to Larry Bramlage at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington for the surgery that he needed. Although the injuries Arson Squad sustained proved to be far more serious than anyone had anticipated, Samantha says she wouldn't have done things any differently. “He deserved it. It's how I was raised. You take care of those that take care of you.”

Arson Squad's good fortune continued when Michael Blowen of Old Friends asked Samantha if she would consider letting the horse come to live at Dream Chase Farm in Kentucky. Samantha was thrilled that her horse would have such a great place to retire, and on February 16th, the day Arson Squad was released from Rood and Riddle, he arrived at Old Friends. Michael describes Arson Squad in the following way: “Arson Squad is a great gelding who always tried his best. After his unfortunate accident, Samantha Siegel went to considerable time and expense to have his surgery done by Dr. Larry Bramlage of Rood & Riddle. If all owners treated their athletes like this, people would be knocking down doors to participate.”

About the hat:
To capture this dark bay gelding's striking coloring and conformation, to honor the Jay Em Ess Stable connections, and to celebrate Arson Squad's recovery and retirement to Old Friends, a very special hat was required.

To reflect this courageous Thoroughbred athlete's deep rich coat, a hat foundation was created using a base layer of deep irridescent chocolate brown dupioni silk overlaid with a thin layer of black silk organza. A single layer of black silk organza, softly pleated, was stitched to the outer brim edge to extend the overall length of the hat to nearly 26 inches at its widest point and to reflect the dark mane and tail of Arson Squad. To give the hat an even more dramatic look, the brim was folded up in an asymmetrical fashion which gives the hat a bold, stunning look from every angle.

The distinctive green and blue racing silks of Jay Em Ess Stable provided the basic color palette for the trimmings of this stunning Derby hat in a truly innovative combination of texture and design. The centerpiece is comprised of a single stunning rose curl created out of swirling layers of royal blue dupioni silk and organza.

This rose curl centerpiece is framed with a medley of glistening spring and lime green organza and taffeta leaves.

The setting for this rose curl medley is a bow created in a crinkled bright navy blue organza; a matching sash of crinkled organza and royal blue dupioni silk surrounds the crown.

Finally, three black bejeweled buttons horizontally placed adorn the back seam of the hat and remind us of Jan, Mace and Samantha Siegel, the owners of Jay Em Ess Stable.

One other innovation for the "Arson Squad" 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 is Arson Squad not only in spirit but in substance as well...

The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Arson Squad 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.

The “Arson Squad” is the sixth and final hat in our “Hats Off to the Horses” Derby hat auction series this season, and it will be up for bid from April 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).

At the end of the month, the winning bidder's name will be announced (unless they prefer to remain anonymous).  Freight charges will be at the expense of the winning bidder. Winning bidders, please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery of your hat in order to ensure proper sizing.   (Horse not included!)

Interested bidders can see the hats for sale and learn more about Steinmann by visiting Maggie Mae Designs®,   Similar custom-crafted hats have sold for well over $1000.

Steinmann, who owns the Massachusetts-based Maggie Mae Designs®, is donating another six magnificent millinery creations to raise funds for Old Friends, the 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that cares for over 100 retired racehorses.  Each hat is inspired by one of the retirees at Old Friends and will be auctioned monthly through April, 2012 with 100 percent of the online proceeds going to Old Friends.