A portion of the state highway system in Saratoga Springs was dedicated in August to Marylou Whitney, an iconic figure in the community and the horse racing industry at Saratoga Race Course.
Gov. Kathy Hochul designated a portion of Union Avenue as Marylou Whitney Way. It covers Route 9-P, between the Northway and East Avenue in Saratoga Springs that leads to, and is adjacent to, the historic race course.
A ceremony was held at the race track that included the governor, local and state dignitaries, racing industry officials and John Hendrickson, Whitney’s husband.
“Marylou Whitney’s years of dedication to Saratoga will live on forever, reflected in the work she did throughout her life,” Hochul said. “She was larger than life, a trailblazer of her time, and her memory will be a lasting legacy here and today I am honored to dedicate to her a piece of the city she so loved. I thank the Whitney family for their continued work here and I am grateful to be able to remember Marylou as the legend and friend she is to so many.”
Marylou Whitney was a staple in the Saratoga area and the horse racing community, alike. She accomplished legendary philanthropic efforts on behalf of backstretch workers and retired thoroughbreds and she played a vital role in shaping Saratoga County as it exists today. She played a key role in ensuring the Saratoga Race Course remained open, and her horses were competitive on the NYRA circuit for decades, claiming victories at both the Belmont and Travers Stakes.
David O’Rourke, NYRA CEO, said, “No one has meant more to the continued success of Saratoga Race Course than Marylou Whitney. NYRA was honored to celebrate Mrs. Whitney’s lasting contributions to the sport and to Saratoga by dedicating the clubhouse entrance in her memory. And now today, Marylou Whitney Way will serve as the gateway to Saratoga along Union Avenue, an incredibly fitting way to continue to honor Mrs. Whitney’s remarkable life and legacy.”
State Sen. Daphne Jordan said the local race course “was shaped, strengthened, and supported by Marylou Whitney’s generosity. Her advocacy helped the racecourse stay open and helped the Saratoga meet draw over a million annually. Her horses were recognized as regular fixtures at the Travers stakes and she claimed victories and a distinguished career as an owner.
“Marylou was also a consequential figure who did philanthropic good works on behalf of backstretch workers and retired thoroughbreds. In addition, she was a founding member of SPAC, helped to establish the National Museum of Dance, worked to restore the National Museum of Racing, and provided years of support to Saratoga Hospital. Marylou Whitney Way will forever be associated with Marylou Whitney and the contributions she left to Saratoga Springs.”