Thoroughbred retirement agencies always put on fundraiser auctions with exactly the sort of items we racehorse enthusiasts really, honestly, want to fill our houses with: pictures of racehorses, paintings of racehorses, shoes of racehorses, halters of racehorses. We like practical ephemera best of all, I think, much like fishermen who decorate their walls with fly ties and fishing rods, or boaters who hang paddles above their fireplace and nod with satisfaction.
But LOPE Texas has pulled out the stops and managed to offer the one thing that many horsewomen will always want and never have: a Derby hat.
Not just any Derby hat, but a top-of-the-line, couture hat which has been designed, to the smallest detail, to honor their adorable old mascot, Wooden Phone.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. A hat cannot look like a horse. And it doesn’t, it doesn’t! But the representations are thoughtful and beautiful. Here’s how a snippet of how milliner Sally Faith Steinmann explains her work of art:
A brilliant coppery brown dupioni silk was selected to capture the warmth of Wooden Phone’s bay coat…
Lynn Reardon says that Wooden Phone, affectionately known as “WP” by some, has a wonderful watchful eye and is “somewhat of a diva.” He still loves to engage in challenge matches with pasture mates to this day. Lynn affectionately describes him as a horse with an “I am the boss” alpha-style personality; some might say he understands his role as the watchful keeper of the herd.
To reflect this watchful eye imagery and also incorporate his racing silk colors of red and black, a stunning rose curl centerpiece in a star-like setting was created. Over one dozen hand-rolled miniature chocolate satin roses were created with one single black satin rose forming the center of the “eye”…
Six bow loops fashioned out of black satin and lined with red crinkled taffeta and reddish burgundy metallic taffeta shoot out from the rose curl center like a star, paying tribute to the Lone Star State of Texas that WP now calls home…
Tiny sprays of white wispy tulle form a border along the eye to reflect WP’s unique textured white forehead marking.
I think that’s the bit I like best, adding his little wispy stripe to the hat.
Wooden Phone, who is a permanent resident of LOPE Texas’s Thoroughbred adoption farm, is a half-million dollar winner who most famously beat Horse of the Year Tiznow. As a veteran campaigner, he is certainly a horse worthy of his very own Derby Hat!
The hat’s retail value is $1600 – last I checked, the bidding was at $250. If you ever wanted a Derby hat, I don’t think you can do better than this one, designed for a great racehorse, with the money going to help more racehorses find bright futures. There are many additional items on the site as well, everything from signed Kentucky Derby posters and beautiful art prints to winery packages and unique event tickets. But you have to hurry – bidding ends at 9 p.m. on September 16th!
LATE UPDATE: BARRY IRWIN (OF ANIMAL KINGDOM FAME) BID $1000!!
Irwin used to own Wooden Phone, and says the horse will always have a place in his heart.
Barry Irwin, you are a class act.