Part ceremomial no doubt, but also part practical as well.
The genuine Preakness trophy is called the Woodlawn Vase. It dates to just prior to the Civil War, was made by Tiffany, resides year round at the Baltimore Museum of Art, and is brought to Pimlico each year by the Maryland National Guard. It is valued at 4 million dollars. Preakness winners used to keep that trophy for a year, and were then expected to return it. Today, winners get a replica trophy.