Saratoga philanthropist and Saratoga Race Course mainstay Marylou Whitney has died, according to the New York Racing Association. Whitney was 93.
NYRA says Whitney passed away at her Cady Hill home in Saratoga Springs.
Known as the "Queen of Saratoga," Whitney was known for her love of horse racing, Saratoga Springs, and advocacy for backstretch workers. NYRA made the announcement at the race course this afternoon, where a moment of silence was held.
She was set to be inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in August. The Whitney Stakes, an annual race at Saratoga, is named after her family.
"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," said the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in a statement.
Whitney was born Marie Louise Schroeder on Christmas Eve 1925, according to a statement from NYRA. The Kansas City, Mo., native was a founder of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center and, in addition to running a thoroughbred stable with her then-husband Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney for many decades, owned her own stable, which has earned nine graded stakes wins since 2000.
"Saratoga would not be the destination it is today without the esteemed leadership, dedication and support of Marylou," said NYRA CEO/President Dave O'Rourke in a statement. "Marylou's love of this sport and city will have a lasting impact on generations to come."
Whitney is survived by husband John Hendrickson, who she married in 1997, and her five children.