Final Exclusive Couture ‘Derby Hat’ to be Offered in One-of-a-Kind Online Charity Auction

For our sixth and final hat auction, milliner Sally Faith Steinmann of MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® has created this stunning one-of-a-kind couture Derby hat in honor of another special retiree at Old Friends, Sunshine Forever.

In 2004 arrangements were made by Old Friends to transport this magnificent bay stallion from Nitta Farm, the very same stud facility in Japan where Ferdinand had stood before his tragic end. From the moment he first set hooves on Dream Chase Farm, Sunshine Forever's days of sunshine truly began and he has brought the same to all who have been fortunate enough to meet him.

Sired by Roberto and out of Outward Sunshine, Sunshine Forever's best racing year for the Darby Dan stable was 1988. After scoring graded stakes victories in the Hill Price and Lexington, he went on to win three Grade I races in a row: the Turf Classic at Belmont, the Man O'War and the Budweiser International.

This amazing equine athlete deserved a very special hat that would speak not only to his stellar career but to the fondness that so many feel for him who have visited Old Friends over the years. The base of this Derby chapeau was created in a rich cinnamon-tinted chocolate dupioni silk. An innovative trim design of swirling colors, textures and shapes brings together and celebrates this stallion's conformation, racing colors and impressive career.

Sunshine's racing colors for the Darby Dan stable were fawn and chocolate brown, a theme carried throughout the entire design of this elegant hat. To compliment the chocolate dupioni hat foundation, a buttery fawn dupioni silk was used for the underbrim which adds an element of surprise whenever the wearer's head is tilted up even slightly.

To continue the color scheme, a chocolate taffeta sash was created for the crown of the hat and nearly five yards of gold and mocha tulle form a delicate nest of swirling confectionary layers all around the crown that glisten in the sun's light. The overall effect reminds one of the rippling muscles under the coat of this amazing equine athlete as he glides effortlessly over the warm green grass at Dream Chase Farm.

Next, five delicate peony-shaped organza flowers were created to reflect Sunshine's five major wins. Two adorn the back of the hat in celebration of his Hill Prince and Lexington victories and three more decorate the front of the hat for the Grade I wins in the Turf Classic at Belmont, the Man O' War and the Budweiser International.

Each flower was specifically designed to catch the light and look as if it was sparkling in glorious sunshine. The five petals of each peony were created in glistening chocolate organza and filled with a rich warm fawn dupioni silk center that holds a medley of shimmering golden beads and buttons.

The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Sunshine Forever 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...

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.

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 $700. Shipping for this hat is a flat rate of $30.00 due to specialty packing.  

Steinmann, who owns the Massachusetts-based Maggie Mae Designs®, is donating seven magnificent millinery creations to raise funds for Old Friends, the 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that is home to nearly 90 retired racehorses.  Each hat is inspired by one of the retirees at Old Friends and will be auctioned monthly with 100 percent of the online proceeds going to Old Friends.

Photo Credit: Sunshine Forever photo by