BALTIMORE (WJZ) — For the 20th time, a central part of Preakness is being handmade at a local grocery store.
Mike Schuh got a firsthand look at what the winner will be wearing Saturday.
Between the mangoes and the meat, the floral department at the Rodgers Forge Giant is working on a huge custom order — the blanket of Black-Eyed Susans.
“And then after we get all the flowers on, we put a felt backing on that way so none of the wires touch the horse’s back,” said Kathleen Marvel, floral manager.
It will be draped on the winner of the 141st running of the Preakness Stakes.
“So this is the actual blanket that is on the winner? Wow,” said shopper Minn Reccia, who came in to watch.
The Black-Eyed Susans used to be daisies with their light centers painted out.
“Didn’t back in the day they have to darken it?” Reccia asked. “Oh wow. So they actually grow this way.”
The best floral managers from other nearby Giants were brought in. But ultimately, it was Marvel’s responsibility.
“Like my daughter said, I’m nervous every year. I want everything to be perfect,” Marvel said.
Any customer was welcome to attach a flower — some 6,000 opportunities to be a little part of history.
“I got to put one right in the blanket. That’s so exciting,” said Reccia.
“It’s exciting. It’s a wonderful Baltimore tradition,” said Marvel.
The blanket for Friday’s big $500,000 race for fillies, the Black Eyed Susan Stakes, was also made at the store.