Maryland Historical Society

Baltimore, MD



The Woodlawn Vase and the Preakness Stakes


In honor of the 125th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, the Maryland Historical Society is displaying the Woodlawn Vase. The beautifully designed silver trophy is presented annually to the Preakness Stakes winner, which will be run in 2000 on Saturday, May 20th. In addition to this coveted vase, the Preakness exhibition in the MHS's Symington Sporting Arts Gallery, includes photographs and a print which honor the rich history of horse racing in the state of Maryland. The vase is on long-term loan to the MHS from the Maryland Jockey Club. (left: Woodlawn Vase, photo by David Prencipe)

The Woodlawn Vase, 34 inches in height and weighing 29 pounds, 12 ounces, was created by Tiffany and Company in 1860 for R. Aitcheson Alexander as a trophy for the now defunct Woodlawn Racing Association in Louisville, Kentucky. Created as a challenge cup, the Woodlawn Vase was first awarded to Captain R.G. Moore's mare, Mollie Jackson, in 1861. The same owner retained possession the following year through the victory of the mare Idlewind.

The outbreak of the Civil War prevented further competition until 1866, and the vase in the meantime was buried for safe keeping so that it would not be turned into shot for the war. After passing through many hands in a number of races in Louisville, Kentucky, Elizabeth, New Jersey, and the Coney Island Jockey Club, in 1917, Mr. Thomas C. Clyde presented the vase to the Maryland Jockey Club, of which he was a director. That year, it was added to the Preakness and Edward R. Bradley's Kalitan was the first winner of the vase at Pimlico. A half-sized reproduction, which requires eight weeks' execution by the Kirk-Stieff Company in Baltimore, is now awarded to the owner of the Preakness winner on a permanent basis.

Also included in the exhibition are two photographs by Robert Kniesche: The horse, "Snow Willow" at Pimlico on May 14, 1956, and another of the Pimlico Race in 1943. A print taken from a drawing; (circa 1875) by Conrad Ludloff will also be on display. It depicts the start of a race at Pimlico, the judges' stand, the grandstand, and the clubhouse. The Preakness, a top-flight race named for the first winner at Pimlico, was established in May 1873 and is run each year in the spring. Conrad Ludloff worked as an artist, engraver and lithographer in Baltimore from 1875 to 1905.

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rev. 11/20/10

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