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Preakness Stakes Traditions

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The Black-Eyed Susan Blanket
The blanket of Black-Eyed Susans's given to the Preakness winner each year.

The blanket of Black-Eyed Susans's given to the Preakness winner each year.

© Cindy Pierson Dulay
A long-standing Preakness tradition is to drape a blanket of Black-Eyed Susans across the shoulders of the winning horse. The black and yellow colors of the flowers are also the state colors and the color theme for the Preakness every year.

The 18x90 inch blanket takes three people two full days to create. First a layer of greenery is attached to a perforated spongy rubber base. Then more than 80 bunches of Viking daises are strung together on flocked wire and woven into holes in the base. The ends of the wire are snipped closely and the back of the entire blanket is covered with thick felt.

Because Black-Eyed Susans do not bloom until June in Maryland, the centers of the daises are painted black to recreate the correct appearance. The blanket is then sprayed with water and refrigerated until it is presented to the winner on Preakness day.

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