SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Saratoga Springs icon Marylou Whitney has passed away at the age of 93.
A moment of silence was held at the Saratoga Race Course when news of Whitney’s death was announced.
She leaves behind a legacy of philanthropy, raising money for everything from cancer research to the back stretch workers at the Saratoga Race Course.
She was known as the Queen of Saratoga.
NYRA issued this statement regarding Whitney’s death:
Our hearts are broken, we are deeply saddened by the passing of Marylou Whitney at the age of 93. The Queen of Saratoga was one of racing’s most dedicated supporters and a tremendous ambassador for the industry. We send our condolences to her family and friends.”
Statement from the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on the passing of Whitney:
The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame extends its deepest condolences to the family of Marylou Whitney and her husband, John Hendrickson, on the passing of Mrs. Whitney. A kindhearted friend to the Museum, the sport of thoroughbred racing, and the Saratoga Springs community, Mrs. Whitney was a beloved and irreplaceable icon whose extraordinary legacy will have a lasting effect on future generations.
For 40 years, Whitney hosted the lavish Whitney Gala. The moment everyone waited for at those parties was her grand entrance.
She began hosting the gala in the 1960s when she first came to Saratoga Springs as the wife of Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney.
When the city started to decline, Whitney threw high profile parties, bringing much-needed attention and money to the Spa City.
The National Museum of Dance issued the following statement:
The National Museum of Dance is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our beloved founder Marylou Whitney, whose vision and spirit have guided us throughout our history. Her extraordinary legacy will continue to live on at the National Museum of Dance. We extend our deepest condolences to Marylou’s husband John Hendrickson and to her entire family.
In 1997, she married former Tennis Star John Henderickson. Over the years, the couple raised money for many causes.
NYRA says the Whitney legacy can be seen all over the City of Saratoga Springs including along famed Union Avenue outside where Whitney and Henderickson gifted a statue of Native Dancer.
In 2015, NYRA enshrined Whitney in the Saratoga Walk of Fame, where the most legendary trainers, jockeys, and owners are honored.
Whitney also founded the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) in 1966, which continues to host music and dance performances.
Whitney is survived by her husband John and her five children.