Celebrating the life of Marylou Whitney, renowned socialite, legendary philanthropist and devoted member of her community

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Senate Resolution No. 2347

BY: Senator JORDAN

CELEBRATING the life of Marylou Whitney, renowned
socialite, legendary philanthropist and devoted
member of her community

WHEREAS, It is with profound sorrow that this Legislative Body,
representing the people of the State of New York, is moved this day to
pay tribute to an eminent woman of indomitable dedication whose public
service and countless accomplishments will forever stand as a paradigm
and inspiration for others; and

WHEREAS, Marylou Whitney of Saratoga Springs, New York, died on
Friday, July 19, 2019, at the age of 93; and

WHEREAS, Born on December 24, 1925, in Kansas City, Missouri, Marie
Louise Schroeder was raised by her father, an accountant, and her mother
who loved equine and showed five-gaited Saddlehorses; after graduating
from Southwest High School, she attended the University of Iowa for a
time before working as an actress and in radio; and

WHEREAS, In 1958, after separating from her first husband, Frank
Hosford, Marylou Whitney married Cornelius Vanderbilt "Sonny" Whitney,
the grandson of William C. Whitney who purchased and built the current
Saratoga Race Course in 1900; the couple teamed up to race horses,
winning the Travers in 1960 with Tompion and again in 1968 with
Chompion; and

WHEREAS, Marylou Whitney owned several properties, but her main
residence was an old country manor sitting on 135 acres in Saratoga
Springs, New York, called Cady Hill House, where she was renowned for
hosting her annual late-summer gala on the eve of the Whitney Stakes at
Saratoga Race Course; and

WHEREAS, Known as the Queen of Saratoga, Marylou Whitney is
responsible for the iconic New York town's comeback, convincing NYRA to
keep Saratoga Race Course open as a viable part of its racing calendar
at a time when wagering and attendance sagged; her efforts and long-term
vision continue to benefit racing, with the Saratoga meet attracting
more than one million fans annually; and

WHEREAS, Beyond racing, Marylou Whitney was a founder of the
Saratoga Performing Arts Center and helped establish the National Museum
of Dance and Hall of Fame; she also worked to restore the National
Museum of Racing, only a few blocks from the historic racetrack; and

WHEREAS, After Sonny Whitney's death in 1992, Marylou Whitney formed
Marylou Whitney Stables which garnered industry-wide acclaim with her
Eton blue and brown silks quickly becoming synonymous with racing
excellence; her stable produced many champions, including Birdstone, the
2004 Belmont and Travers Stakes winner; and

WHEREAS, Additionally, in all, Marylou Whitney Stables earned nine
graded stakes victories and campaigned more than 190 winners; and

WHEREAS, In 1994, Marylou Whitney met John Hendrickson, who was
working as an aide to Alaska's then-governor Wally Hickel; they married
in Alaska in 1997, and the couple continued their countless
philanthropic endeavors, serving as founding members of the Thoroughbred
Retirement Foundation and as founders of the Markey Cancer Center in
Lexington, Kentucky; and

WHEREAS, Always by her side, John Hendrickson also assumed the
duties of President of Whitney Industries, which manages the family's
lumber business and land holdings; and

WHEREAS, With a steadfast and unremitting commitment to her
community, Marylou Whitney used her social standing to bring attention
and funds to her favored causes, including equine hospitals and
research; and

WHEREAS, Furthermore, she funded the Saratoga Backstretch
Appreciation program which hosted family activities and cookouts for
track employees, and supported a Saratoga-based equine welfare
organization, the town's YMCA, several local parks and the hospital; and

WHEREAS, In 2003, Marylou Whitney became the first woman in 80 years
to own and breed a Kentucky Oaks winner; she received an Eclipse Award
of Merit in 2010 for her contributions to racing, and was elected into
The Jockey Club in 2011; and

WHEREAS, Marylou Whitney's participation in Saratoga's culture is
the most significant of anyone in her time; for seven decades she was
among the most successful owners in Thoroughbred racing; and

WHEREAS, With her passion for racing only matched by her love for
the city of Saratoga Springs and the backstretch community, Marylou
Whitney's generosity was unparalleled and the list of her contributions
is endless; Saratoga would not be the destination it is today without
her esteemed leadership, dedication and support; and

WHEREAS, In addition to her beloved husband, Marylou Whitney is
survived by her five children, Louise, Frank, Henry, Heather and
Cornelia; and

WHEREAS, Armed with a humanistic spirit and imbued with a sense of
compassion, Marylou Whitney leaves behind a legacy which will long
endure the passage of time and will remain as a comforting memory to all
she served and befriended; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
celebrate the life of Marylou Whitney, renowned socialite, legendary
philanthropist and devoted member of her community; and be it further

RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be
transmitted to the family of Marylou Whitney.


  • 09 / Jan / 2020
  • 14 / Jan / 2020
  • 14 / Jan / 2020

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative


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