OGYGIAN - Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby

Exclusive Couture Hat auction March 1st - March 11th, 2011

Milliner Sally Faith Steinmann of MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® has created this stunning one-of-a-kind couture Derby hat in honor of Ogygian, one of the most beloved retirees at Old Friends of Kentucky.

The last surviving son of the 1967 Horse of the Year, Damascus, Ogygian was named after the remote island, Ogygos, where according to Greek legend Odysseus lived for many years with the Goddess Calypso (as recounted in Homer's Odyssey). This muscular dark bay was unbeaten as a 2-year-old including an amazing 9 and 1/2 length victory in the 1985 Belmont Futurity; a shin injury ended his racing season early that year. At 3, Ogie demolished the competition in the Riva Ridge Stakes and the Dwyer Stakes (G1) and Jerome Handicap (G1), however bone chip surgery prevented him from making it to the Triple Crown trail.

Ogygian was described by Steven Crist in a May 1987 NYT article as "the swift but star-crossed son of Damascus who ... was officially retired from racing yesterday because of chronic ankle injuries." The sentiments of so many were captured with the words of Tartan Farms' John Nerud, "It's a disappointment because we'll never know how good he really was." Ogygian stood at Claiborne Farms for nearly 8 years, siring 23 stakes winners and 11 graded stakes winners before being shipped to Japan. In 2005, arrangements were made to bring this magnificent stallion from Japan to Old Friends through an associate at Narvick International, Megumi Igarashi. “He is hanging the charm against evil from his bridle,” Miss Igarashi told Old Friends. “It’s violet, the holy color of Buddhism. Someone gave it to him a long time ago.”

Luck certainly was following Ogygian who came home safely to Old friends in August of 2005 where he is lovingly known by everyone as "Ogy".

Ogygian has been described as "a very athletic, masculine horse, broad across the shoulder and neck, with powerful hindquarters and a highly intelligent face... a deep red bay with carved muscles and a long black mane and tail... (who) with the wisdom of age chooses to ignore distractions which are irrelevant to his life. He is kind and gentle with children, playful with people he loves, yet fully capable of ignoring anyone he dislikes. I think if Ogygian were human, he would be someone we all looked up to and tried to emulate--his innate calmness is almost zen-like. In your heart, you know Ogygian knows who he is, is comfortable with his accomplishments and has nothing to prove to anyone." (Valerie Mulgrave)

With all this in mind, a playful millinery confection was created in stunning tones and textures honoring the great champion's conformation, the racing colors of his stable and his impressive career as a talented Thoroughbred athlete.

The red and black racing silks of Tartan Farms and Ogygian's rich red bay colors of brown and black are integrated throughout this stunning 22-inch wide chapeau. A lovely red dupioni silk was chosen for the base of the hat. Row upon row of alternating wispy red, chocolate and black tulle layers topped by one gently pleated black silk organza top layer create a layering that reaches several inches beyond the brim's edge. The ruffled black organza pattern was repeated in the underbrim design and makes for a wonderful surprise when the wearer's head is upturned. The overall effect of this edge design is meant to reflect the undulating, rippling motion of the Thoroughbred athlete in full stride.

The "Dozen Roses" design is a classic MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® trademark. Even though Ogie never made it to the Derby it seemed fitting that such a hero of Throughbred royalty should have a hat created for him that was spilling over with red roses to celebrate both his stellar career as well as the upcoming "Run for the Roses". One dozen large hand-rolled red rose curls, created in swirling layers of silk organza, China silk and dupioni silk encircle the crown of the hat. Each rose curl is framed with fabric leaves created in variegated shades of green taffeta and organza. Wispy chocolate tulle sprays accent the roses and add a bit of Derby magic.

An innovative sash and bow design was created for the "Ogygian" hat by taking a rich black dupioni silk and lining it with chocolate organza. This layered fabric design continues in the triple bow set in the back of the hat which forms a "nest" for the last two luscious red silk organza rose curls/leaves medley in this design.

Two other innovations for the "Ogygian" hat were the weaving of a physical remembrance of the horse into the hat and a violet bead cluster reminiscent of the lucky Buddhist charm that safeguarded this stallion safely on his journey to Old Friends in 2005. Several strands of the great stallion's tail hairs were collected and braided, and woven together with three translucent violet beads. This tiny cluster was then stitched into the center of the rose curl, thereby creating a unique, one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau that is Ogygian not only in spirit but in substance as well...

The purpose of this amazing millinery delight is to honor the life of Ogygain 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 Ogygian chapeau will be up for bid from March 1st through the 11th, 2011.  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. 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®,  www.maggiemaedesigns.com

Similar custom-crafted hats have sold for well over $1000.   CREATOR hat went for almost $1500!

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 is home to nearly 90 retired racehorses.  Each hat is inspired by one of the retirees at Old Friends and will be auctioned monthly through April 1st, 2011 with 100 percent of the online proceeds going to Old Friends.


Photo Credit: Ogygian photo by Matt Wooley - www.equisportphotos.com