View Full Version : Marylou Whitney's Spa Gala nixed for 2011

Jun. 22, 2011, 03:41 PM
I'm glad that she is continuing to support (in name and money) the nightly backstretch activity at Saratoga from games to education and meals.

Wall Street Journal June 20, 2011: "A Saratoga track season tradition is cancelled" (http://online.wsj.com/article/AP343dcd1a945e4a6b92af6cfcd4a6914d.html)

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — One of the highlights of the summer racing season at Saratoga won't be happening this year.

The Daily Gazette of Schenectady first reported Saturday that philanthropist and socialite Marylou Whitney is cancelling the Whitney Gala for only the third time in 40 years.

The themed ball, held annually the night before the running of the Whitney Stakes, is famous for attracting socialites, politicians and Hollywood celebrities to the Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs. Last year, the theme was "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

The gala was cancelled in 2006 after Whitney suffered a stroke, and again in 2009 over concerns that an orgy of opulence would be considered vulgar during the recession.

Whitney's husband John Hendrickson says the octogenarian is feeling fine, but wants to focus on her nightly appreciation events for backstretch workers.

From the Glens Falls Post Star (http://poststar.com/app/blogs/?p=68716&cat=38)

“Our hearts are really with the backstretch and to be honest, when the Whitney Gala started in the 60s, it was a celebration of racing, but it’s become more about Marylou,” Hendrickson said.

Four years ago the couple initiated a series of special nights for the workers – many of whom are separated from their families during the summer season – and are expanding activities for this summer’s meet.

“They are separated from their families, but the hidden part is that many of the families live off-track, so we get a lot of kids. It’s very rewarding and they do really appreciate it,” said Hendrickson, adding that “incidents” that used to occur on the backstretch at the rate of two per night, are down to about once per season since the activity nights were first implemented.

Images (Times Union) - Gala through the years (http://www.timesunion.com/entertainment/slideshow/Whitney-Gala-through-the-years-15553.php)