Reporting Fran Lane
The Preakness has a great tradition. Each year after the race, a painter is raised up in a cherry picker crane to the top of the replica Old Clubhouse cupola in the winner’s circle to paint the weather vane the colors of the winner’s silks and the horse’s color on the jockey and the horse on the weather vane. The colors remain there until the next year’s Preakness winner is crowned.
The practice began in 1909 after the original building’s arrow-shaped weather vane was struck down by lightning. To replace it, the Maryland Jockey Club commissioned an ornamental ironworker to forge a vane in the form of a horse and rider. It was christened that spring by coating it with the colors of that year’s winner, Effendi, and the tradition has continued ever since.