The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association has honored Marylou Whitney with the 2019 NYTHA EquiStar Award. The EquiStar Award was created by the NYTHA in 2016 to recognize an individual or organization that, through compassion, hard work and generosity, have enriched the New York Thoroughbred industry.
The contributions made by Marylou and her husband, John Hendrickson, include supporting organizations as diverse as the Markey Cancer Center, Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital and Headley-Whitney Museum in Lexington, Ky; and the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Centennial Park, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and Saratoga Hospital in Saratoga Springs, NY. In 2008, the couple unveiled the Backstretch Appreciation program. Each year for the past 12 years, the program has sponsored Sunday dinners and daily events that range from English as a Second Language courses to basketball, bingo, bowling and soccer. Marylou was often there to play host.
“For Marylou, it was not just about giving, it was about sharing,” NYTHA President Joe Appelbaum said. “She understood how much the workers love the sport and the horses, and it created a bond with the backstretch that is rare. She truly embodied the spirit of the EquiStar Award.”