An Unusual Preakness Tradition

May 16, 2019

USA TODAY/Fran Lane

It’s a Preakness tradition that began in 1909 – Once the winner of the Preakness Stakes has been declared, a painter takes to the field and climbs to the top of a replica of the Old Clubhouse cupola to paint the winning horse and jockey’s silk colors on the weather vane . The colors remain on the weather vane for an entire year until the next Preakness winner is declared.

The first winning colors to be painted belonged to Effendi, the winner of the 1909 Preakness and his jockey Willie Doyle, who was later known as one of the best racing officials in America.  After his death in 1950 at the age of 67, Doyle’s ashes were spread across the finish line of the track where he scored his most famous victory.