Project will honor horse racing patron

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When 93-year-old Marylou Whitney passed away on July 19, the horse racing industry lost one of its most passionate and compassionate proponents, but the noted breeder and philanthropist won’t soon be forgotten as Saratoga Race Course is building a structure in her name.

The Marylou Backstretch Pavilion will be a permanent addition to the track and will hold up to 400 people. It will replace a tent that Whitney and her husband John Hendrickson often used when holding events, including Sunday dinners, for backstretch workers at the track.

“Marylou was the heart, the spirit, the personality, the mystique, the beauty and the charisma that represents the best of New York’s horseracing industry,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“Marylou and her husband John were the drivers for the industry’s success, and they were extraordinarily devoted to the wellbeing of the many seasonal backstretch workers who are the backbone of Saratoga Race Course. And that is why I am pleased to announce today that we are going to honor Marylou’s legacy by building a permanent Marylou Whitney Pavilion on the Oklahoma Backstretch to continue to serve the backstretch workers.”

As a breeder, Whitney, who was known as the “Queen of Saratoga” won the 2004 Belmont Stakes, the longest of the Triple Crown races, with her homebred horse Birdstone.

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