SARATOGA SPRINGS — Susan Garrett, a Saratoga local, is in charge of creating the flower blankets for this year’s Belmont Stakes on June 9.
It’s about to be a busy time for Dehn’s Flowers as they prepare to host Garret and her team to create the flower blankets just two days before the big race. While Garrett usually makes Travers' Day blankets right in her home, this task requires a little more space, as there are seven blankets to be made.
Garrett was asked to make the blankets this year because the floral designer from the previous Belmont Stakes is retiring after 25 years.
“So I said of course, yes,” Garrettsaid.“I’mveryinterested in making it and having a Triple Crown blanket is really amazing,” she added.
Triple Crowns don’t happen often. In fact they have only happened 15 times since 1919; the most recent being American Pharoah in 2015.
“This is such an honor, I think people have really stood by and have been excited that I make the blankets for Saratoga... So they’re very excited. I feel overwhelmed and proud to be able to go and be a part of such a huge race especially now that we have a Triple Crown contender,” Garrett said.
There is a lot that goes into creating a flower blanket like sewing the quilts that the flowers are then sewn into and ordering enough flowers with enough time so they can “drink” the water and open up.
“But not too open and full so that they won’t last... That’s why we use carnations because they’re hearty... I’m in a holding pattern,” Garrett said.
Although Garrett went to school for floral design, “there is not class you can go to,” she said.
She’s been making flower blankets since 1994 and was the first to make the blankets for Saratoga. However, when she first started out it was a lot of trial and error.
Once all seven blankets are completed they have to be transported to Elmont via a refrigerated truck. Both Garrett and her husband will be in attendance at the Belmont Stakes.
“It will be an interesting and fun day... I’d like to see all those blankets placed on the winning horses,” Garrett said.