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Traditions of the Preakness Stakes

May 20, 2000
Date of Inception Two years before the Kentucky Derby, Pimlico introduced its new three-year-old stakes race, the Preakness, in the Spring of 1873.
Flowers Black-eyed Susan:
The black-eyed Susan is the Maryland state flower. It has yellow leaves and it is black in the middle. The arrangement for the Preakness winner consists of about 2000 blooms sewn on to a mesh of black rubber and decorated with a variety of greens.
Preakness loyalists argue that this race is the most exciting of the three races.
Theme Song "Maryland, My Maryland"
Fashion Spring Finery:
There is a casual dress code at the Preakness, but this was not the case during the days of the Maryland Jockey Club. Men wore business suits or tweed sports coats and ladies impeccably costumed up to their hats. The height of fashion attire was always assumed.
Beverages Black-eyed Susan:
This beverage is named after the filly race held the day before the Preakness. The drink contains two lemons, one orange, a half a teaspoon of sugar, and one shot of bourbon. After shaking the ingredients, pour over crushed ice.
Color Painting The Weathervane:
Shortly after the horses cross the finish line, Preakness maintains an annual tradition. A painter climbs a ladder, with paints of all colors, to the top of a replica of the Old Clubhouse cupola. He applies the colors of the victorious owner's silks on the weather vane atop the infield structure. The practice started in 1909 at Pimlico when a horse and rider weather vane sat at the top of the old Members Clubhouse, constructed in 1870.
Parties Preakness Celebration:
Preakness Celebration is a week long party including marching bands, whimsical floats, large helium balloon characters, hot air balloons, and fireworks. The Preakness infield is the spot for wild race day celebrations.
How It Was Named Preakness:
It all started with the Indians, a northern New Jersey band known as the Minisi. They called their area Pra-qua-les, meaning quail woods. After a series of spellings the name eventually evolved into Preakness. The name of the first stakes Pimlico winner in 1870 was Preakness.
Special Tradition Alibi Breakfast:
Five hundred or more have breakfast at Pimlico on the Friday morning before the Preakness. This tradition started in the 1920's and seems to grow larger every year. The table founded in the Old Clubhouse is set up early in the morning while sr. trainers, racing officials, and other guests drop by during training hours. They have coffee and a snack and swap racing stories. Many tales involved details of losing bets, hence the name Alibi Table.
The Track Pimlico Track:
Pimlico opened in 1870. The Victorian building was destroyed by fire in June of 1966. A replica of the old building cupola was built to stand in the winner circle (located in the infield.) The Old Clubhouse stood for 96 years as a sentinel at the foot of the homestretch.
Trophy The Woodlawn Vase:
139 years old and annually presented to the Preakness winner, this trophy has a colorful history. In 1983, the silver was assessed for $1 million, easily the most valuable trophy in American sports. The Woodlawn Vase, created by Tiffany and Co., is 34 inches in height and weighs 20 pounds and 12 ounces. Help | Advertiser Info | Contact Us | Tools | Site Map | Jobs at
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