Final 'Kentucky Derby Hat' on the Block to Benefit Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Center

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April 1, 2011--Hats Off to the Horses: The Road to the Derby,? an online fashion auction of exclusive Kentucky Derby Hats, will put ?The Ruhlmann? on the block today.

The Rulhmann

This is the sixth and final chapeau offered in the 2011 series of magnificent hats being auctioned to raise funds for Old Friends, the 501(c) (3) non-profit organization in Central Kentucky dedicated to the dignified retirement of former racehorses.

Each hat has been auctioned on the first of day of the month since November, with all of the high-fashion action leading up to this year?s Kentucky Derby, to be held in Louisville, KY on May 7.

The hats are designed and handcrafted by custom milliner Sally Faith Steinmann of the Massachusetts-based Maggie Mae Designs? and each one is inspired by one of the champions retired at Old Friends.

Bidding begins tonight at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

This last and final hat, ?The Rulhmann,? honors the seven-time stakes winner and winner of the 1990 Santa Anita Handicap, who was pensioned at Old Friends in 2004 by his owners, Jerry and Ann Moss of California. Mr. and Mrs. Moss are also the owners of 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta.

During his racing career, Ruhlmann defeated some of the best horses of his generation, including Easy Goer, Sunday Silence, and Criminal Type. In all, he won 10 of 27 starts for earnings of nearly $2 million.

Ruhlmann passed away on Christmas Eve of 2008 at the age of 22, which makes this final auction particularly bittersweet.

As is her style, Steinmann has created the hat using colors and embellishments to reflect the equine honoree?s career and accomplishments.

The ?Ruhlmann? is done in a rich black dupioni silk, which represents the stallion?s deep ebony coat, while a palette of teal and pink trimmings echo the racing-silk colors of the Moss stable.

Highlights of the hat's design include a dramatic 24-inch brim that is decorated with ruffles of black tulle and black silk organza and embellished with elegant braiding that is top stitched in place for a finished look.

The centerpiece is an enormous pink rose curl created with swirling layers of pink organza and pink dupioni silk while a cinnamon-tinted teal taffeta sash?gently gathered for added texture and movement?circles the crown.

Steinmann has also woven in a physical remembrance of the horse: Several strands of Ruhlmann?s tail hairs were braided into the trim to create a truly one-of-a-kind Derby chapeau.

The traditional ?Derby? hat is essential for spectators at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. Steinmann?s designs, however, are elegant and classic and can be worn for any high-fashion event.

This unparalleled online shopping experience began on November 1, 2010 with ?The Gulch? a hat commemorating the Breeders? Cup champion. The hat sold for more than $800 online. So far the auction has raised nearly $5,000 for Old Friends this year and nearly $8,000 since 2009.

To bid visit the Old Friends website tonight at www.oldfriendsequine.org and follow the link.

For additional information contact Cynthia Grisolia at cagrisolia@yahoo.com (347-423-7322) or Maggie Mae Designs? at (508) 430-1626.

For more information about Old Friends see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org or call (502) 863-1775.

Maggie Mae Designs? Custom Millinery offers magnificent hats for all occasions ? from glamorous racing events such as the Kentucky Derby and the Royal Ascot to stunning and unique bridal wear and handsome cocktail fashions. Every hat is carefully handcrafted by milliner Sally Faith Steinmann from her home base in South Harwich, MA. Salons of her fashions can been seen on her website at www.maggiemaedesigns.com.

About Old Friends

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for more than 100 retired racehorses. It's Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours, reservations at the Old Friends B&B, or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.