In 1860, Wilkes B. Spirit wrote in The Times, The American Gentleman’s Newspaper: Messrs. Tiffany & Co., the celebrated jewelers, on Tuesday last, sent to Louisville, KY a massive silver vase, for the Woodlawn Race Course Association, the most elegant of its kind ever made anywhere in the world.
Facts to know:
- Sterling silver, the Woodlawn Vase stands 36-inches tall and weighs 400 ounces, roughly 25 pounds
- The upper part of the 13-inch wide base represents a lawn, divided into fields by a rustic fence
- In one base-field is seen a stallion and in the other a mare and foal
- The Woodlawn Vase has been raced for in Louisville, Kentucky, Elizabeth, New Jersey, the Sheepshead Bay Race Track, New York, Jerome Park Racetrack, New York, Morris Park Racecourse, New York, and since 1917, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore
- The appraised replacement value is now reported to exceed $4,000,000
- The original trophy is kept at the Baltimore Museum of Art (under the direction of the Maryland Historical Society) and brought to The Preakness Stakes each year escorted by Maryland Army National Guard Soldiers and Air National Guard Airmen in dress uniforms and wearing white gloves
- On either side of the pillar is a bulletin, on which the rules to be observed in contending for the prize are distinctly engraved
- During much of the Civil War the vase was buried at Woodlawn Farm in Kentucky with the Moore family silver and jewelry, lest it be discovered and melted into shot for Confederate Army soldiers
- Edward R. Bradley’s Kalitan was the first winner of the vase at Pimlico
- In 1953, when Alfred G. Vanderbilt’s Native Dancer won the trophy Vanderbilt announced, “Due to the historic value of the legendary trophy and Mrs. Vanderbilt’s preference not to accept responsibility for the vase’s safekeeping until the next year’s Preakness,” the trophy will be permanently kept and protected by the Maryland Jockey Club. (Translation: “Mrs Vanderbilt thinks it’s gaudy and tacky.)
Now then, let’s get on with the Blackeyed Susans.
You’ll find many, many fun facts in The Preakness Media Guide