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by Michael Sansolo
Animal Kingdom wasn’t the only winner at the Kentucky Derby this weekend.  While the horse may have won on the track, Kroger was the winner in many other ways.

As profiled during the NBC national coverage of the race, the famed blanket of roses that is given to the winner was prepared at Kroger for the 25th consecutive year.  Dave Dillon, Kroger’s CEO, says the blanket of roses is a cherished honor for the company.

Kroger’s Mid-South division floral attendants start working on the blanket at 3 p.m. the day before the race at a local store.  Throughout the process, which usually ends around 4 a.m., the public is invited to visit the store. As NBC showed, many people do just that.

The garland is made of fine fabric and each rose is placed into its only water “pic” and sewn in.  Here’s one secret: the bottom side of the blanket bears a likeness of the twin spires of Churchill Downs racetrack and the great seal of Kentucky.

Kroger explains that the Friday before the Derby is the running of the Oaks, for the top fillies. Kroger also was commissioned to make a garland for that winning horse and the company came up with a special blanket called “lilies for the fillies.”
That’s a winning combination and a special Triple Crown of an Eye Opener for today.
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