Arts & Culture

The Story of the Hat

Preakness hats are unique as their owners.

From classic wide brims to extravagant and quirky creations, there’s no shortage of interesting hats at Preakness—and each is as unique as its owner.

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“I’ve been coming ever since I was 10 and I’ve always seen the hats on the older guys. I’m 52 now, so I can fit in with them. When I was down in New Orleans last, I saw this and I said, ‘that’s the hat.'” —Thomas McCoy


“I’m a mixed media artist so this is a mixed media piece. The intention was to look horsey without looking too horsey.” —Jess Phohl

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“You’ve got to have a hat for Preakness, and it’s got to be straw. I bought this one at Roses down in Ocean City, and then I bought these sunflowers and stuck them on here as Black-Eyed Susans because you can’t buy a dag-on Black-Eyed Susan anywhere.” —Terry Shell & Doug Celmer

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“I wanted a little bit of Maryland and a little bit of me. I cut the Natty Boh face right off a six pack! With limited time, you’ve got to do what you can.” —Jeanie Riggs


“Well, my hat had to match the outfit. I wish I could say I was always this fashionable, but my wife helped out big time.” —Vinny Raj

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“I made this myself—
I wanted it to be big. Plus, I’m nine months pregnant so it had to be bigger than my belly.” —Britani Carreras

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“This was my mother’s hat and I brought it the first time we came in 2000. Every year, after the race, we go ask the fancy people with clubhouse tickets for a ribbon to put on the hat. People don’t like to give them away.” —Patty Robrecht

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“With ribbon and a flower, I made this myself. I’d say I’m proud of it” —Aimee Taylor