Marylou Whitney and the Saratoga backstretch: “She always looked out for us”

Photo courtesy NYRA”

For decades, townspeople and tourists would throng the sidewalks along Broadway and the entrance to Congress Park on the occasion of Marylou Whitney’s annual ball, the social event of the summer racing season.

Her entrance was as much a part of the spectacle as the party itself; she once arrived via dog sled for her Iditarod-themed party. For a Breakfast at Tiffany’s party, Mrs. Whitney, the widow of Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, showed up in a vintage New York City Checker cab.

But in 2012, Mrs. Whitney announced that the Whitney Ball would be no more. Instead, she and her third husband, John Hendrickson, said they would devote their summer resources to a less glamorous side of horse racing, a sport she loved so much.

Mrs. Whitney and Mr. Hendrickson began sponsoring a series of functions for the backstretch workers who care for the thoroughbreds that are the stars of Saratoga Race Course.

Continue reading at The New York Times

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