The 137th running of the Preakness Stakes will take place tomorrow in Baltimore, Maryland. Eleven horses will race for the title, with all eyes focused on favorites Bodemeister and Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another. The Preakness, the second race in the Triple Crown series, will start at 6:18 p.m. The Preakness this year only features 11 contenders, much lower than the traditional 14 contenders the race has been limited to in years past. Planning on watching the Preakness this weekend? Here are a few things you need to know before tuning in.
The Woodlawn Vase
Considered the most valuable trophy in American sports, the Woodlawn Vase was created in 1860 by Tiffany & Co. and was valued at $1 million in 1983. While the original vase remains on display at The Baltimore Museum of Art for safekeeping, the Preakness winners are given a $30,000 replica of the trophy. The vase is 34 inches tall and weighs 29 pounds, 12 ounces. Each year, the Woodlawn Vase is brought to Pimlico under close guard for the annual running of the Preakness.
Similar to the blanket of red roses the Kentucky Derby winner receives, the horse that wins the Preakness States is draped with a blanket of Black-Eyed Susans, the official state flower of Maryland. The blanket, which is made of more than 80 bunches of Viking daises, takes three people two entire days to create. The centers of the daises are actually painted with black lacquer to recreate the appearance of Black-Eyed Susans as the flower doesn’t bloom until June in Maryland.
Painting the Weather Vane
After the official winner of the Preakness has been announced, a painter climbs to the top of the Old Clubhouse copula to paint the horse-and-jockey-shaped weather vane. The weather vane is painted to reflect the silks worn by the winning jockey and horse, and the vane remains painted until the following year’s Preakness.
The Black-Eyed Susan Drink
If a mint julep, signature drink of the Derby, isn’t your cocktail of choice, there’s always the traditional Black-Eyed Susan. While the recipe has changed throughout the years, the bright yellow color and citrus flavor has remained consistent. You can find the recipe for this year’s Black-Eyed Susan here, or you can make your own variation of the citrusy cocktail. Combine orange juice, pineapple juice, vodka, light rum, and orange liquor over ice and garnish with lime slices and fresh cherries for a refreshing fruity cocktail.
Amy Moczynski is a freelance writer for MyFantasyStable, the first real fantasy horse racing league where you call the shots.