SARATOGA SPRINGS — Marylou Whitney, the well-known socialite, philanthropist and thoroughbred owner and breeder dubbed the “Queen of Saratoga” will be honored this weekend at Saratoga Race Course and in the city she called home.
On Monday, NYRA announced plans to rename the Clubhouse gate in honor of Whitney, who died at the age of 93 on July 19. The entrance will be named “Marylou Whitney Entrance.” The entrance serves as the gateway to Saratoga Springs from the race course.
The entrance will include two jockey statues with the silks of Marylou Whitney stables to commemorate the 2004 victories of Bridstone in the Belmont Stakes and the Travers Stakes.
“Marylou was integral in making our summer meet at Saratoga the success that it is today. It is truly fitting to have her name serve as a warm welcome to the many racing fans who pass through our Clubhouse gates each summer,” NYRA CEO and President Dave O’Rourke said in a press release.
Other tributes in conjunction with “Marylou Whitney Day” on Saturday before the Grade I running of the $1 million Whitney include a special video tribute. Fans will be encouraged to wear pink in her honor.
The City of Saratoga Springs also announced plans to rename Centennial Park as “Marylou Whitney Park” at the base of Union Avenue. The pocket park is home to the statue of Native Dancer which was funded by Whitney and her husband John Hendrickson. The park opened in 2015.
“Marylou Whitney is synonymous with everything that is Saratoga Springs: the Saratoga Race Course, its backstretch, the Canfield Casino and Saratoga Hospital, to name a few. Whether grand giving or anonymous donation, her generosity to this region knew no bounds,” said City of Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly in a press release.
Whitney will be inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame posthumously at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion. The ceremony is free and open to the public.