Marylou continued to support and give to the people and communities within Kentucky. She especially loved spending the spring in Kentucky when the foals were being born.


In Lexington, Kentucky, Marylou was instrumental in donating and raising over $44 million for the Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky. As one of the founders, Marylou made many television appearances on its behalf and assisted in founding the Markey Cancer Center for Women. The facility provides multidisciplinary ambulatory care for women suffering from breast cancer, gynecologic cancers, lung, hematologic, gastrointestinal, and urologic cancers. The facility is named after Marylou and her husband, John Hendrickson.


Marylou, C.V. Whitney, and George Headley were the co-founders of the Headley-Whitney Museum. The Museum has received funds from Marylou and John for two new wings that is the home to exhibits from the Smithsonian Museum. 

The Museum is also home to the Cornelia Vanderbilt Whitney Dollhouses, which have raised over hald of a million dollars for charity. In addition, John funded the new garden at the Museum as a replica of one of their gardens, and presented it as an anniversary gift to Marylou. The garden is now the setting for many weddings and private parties.


Marylou was one of the founding members of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. She believed in finding retired racehorses new careers and loving homes once their careers ended. The horse adoption center barn at The Kentucky Horse Park is named after Marylou. 


There were other various organizations in Kentucky that Marylou supported including:

  • Sayre Elementary School (Named in her honor)
  • Kentucky Aviation Museum
  • Convention Center in Pineville, Kentucky (Named in honor of C.V. Whitney)
  • The Fayette County Humane Society in Lexington, Kentucky (Marylou and John)


Marylou was involved with Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Center for over forty years, and hosted the annual telethon every year in Lexington to raise funds for the hospital. The Stroke Recovery Center is named in honor of Marylou and John for their dedication and generous contributions.


C.V Whitney and his family were a major force in Thoroughbred horse racing and have had more stakes winners than any other family in the history of racing in the United States. Whitney dispersed his stock in the 1980s, not wanting to burden his wife, Marylou, with the business. After C.V. Whitney’s death, Marylou spent a substantial amount of time and money trying to buy back “Whitney Mares.”

Marylou renamed her stable the Marylou Whitney Stables, and was very active in the horse racing industry. On her farm, she bred a line of impressive thoroughbreds and was the only woman to breed and race a Kentucky Oaks winner.


  • Unexpectedly beat Smarty Jones in his bid for the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes
  • Birdstone produced two classic winners- 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, and 2009 Three-Year-Old Champion Summer Bird… No other stallion sired two classic winners in his first crop since the late 19th century

Bird Town:

  • Birdstone’s half-sister won the Kentucky Oaks in stakes record time and was later named the Champion Three Year Old Filly

Dear Birdie:

  • The dam of Birdstone and Bird Town was named Kentucky Broodmare of the Year in 2004