Socialite Marylou Whitney will not hold her annual Whitney Gala in August, concentrating instead on hosting events and dinners for backstretch workers at Saratoga Race Course, her husband said today.
“Marylou is feeling very well,” said her husband, John Hendrickson. “We get a lot more enjoyment out of taking care of the backstretch workers.”
Whitney has hosted the Whitney Gala at the Canfield Casino in Congress Park almost every August for more than 30 years. The party, annually attended by more than 300 invited guests, was held on the eve of the Whitney Handicap.
“There will be no public event (this year),” Hendrickson said.
For the past four years, Hendrickson and Whitney have organized Bingo games, movies in Spanish and dinners almost every night of the week for backstretch workers in a big tent near the backstretch recreation hall on Union Avenue. Nearly 2,000 people live and work on the backstretch of the race course, and on some Sundays, as many as 1,000 people would attend the catered dinners organized by Whitney and Hendrickson. About 400 attend daily events in the tent, including meals, Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson said he and Whitney will still attend the many social events held during the annual thoroughbred meet, and they will also host a black-tie event this summer at their Cady Hill Estate off Geyser Road. He said about 80 people will be invited to honor C. Steven Duncker, board chairman of the New York Racing Association.