Not fake news: Preakness trophy’s roots are in Louisville, not Baltimore

woodlawn vase
Library of Congress photo
The Maryland Jockey Club sent out a release promoting a video about the Woodlawn Vase, the Preakness Stakes trophy and billed as the most valuable trophy in American sport. All well and good.

But in keeping with the tradition of the this blog’s predecessors, this publication, as a public service, reminds readers annually that the vase is rooted in Kentucky. Fake news this is not.

The Woodlawn Vase is named for an old racetrack in Eastern Jefferson County. The trophy first was won by Central Kentucky breeder and horse owner R.A. Alexander, who is credited as a pioneer of the thoroughbred breed, its reliance on pedigrees, its farms and its sales — for starters. His Woodburn Farm remains at the heart of the Bluegrass. The trophy was used once at Churchill Downs before eventually making its way to Maryland where the Tiffany & Co.-made heirloom is the trophy for the Preakness Stakes.

When the Woodlawn Vase is hoisted in the Pimlico Race Course winner’s circle Saturday, Kentuckians rightly can say, “You’re welcome.”

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