SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Friday, a Saratoga street grew one name closer to Saratoga history. Union Avenue was officially designated in honor of the Grand Dame of the Saratoga Race Track.
The Saratoga street was renamed “Marylou Whitney Way” on Friday, in honor of a woman whose legacy is tied with the race track itself as a horse breeder, socialite and philanthropist. New York State Governor Kathy Hochul visited Saratoga Springs to make the announcement official, passing legislation setting the lady of the racetrack’s name in stone.
“She was the Grand Dame of everything here, but she was also a trailblazer,” said Hochul. “She’s always in our hearts because when you come to this community, when you come to this track, you’ll always be reminded that there was a woman, a strong, strong woman who made a difference in people’s lives, changed this industry, and helped the people make this state so spectacular.”
Hochul thanked those in attendance and noted the significance of the day. Friday was also New York State Breeders’ Day, a day significant for recognizing the efforts of those involved in raising the next generation of race horses to run at tracks like that in Saratoga.
In 2010, Whitney was awarded the Eclipse Award of Merit, a high honor in the thoroughbred racing industry. Her work in horse racing included raising winning stallions, and also includes large donations to cancer research. Whitney passed away in 2019 – but the road in her name is just one way in which she will be remembered.
“We’re proud of her,” said Hochul, “and I’ll just quote, Nick Zeto, who trained Marylou’s Belmont Travers winner, he said, ‘Racing needs more people like Marylou. There are a lot of people who are considered good people, but she’s the real deal. She’s a friend you can count on.'”