• Saratoga Business Report
Thursday, 14 July 2022 16:14

New Backstretch Healthcare Clinic at Saratoga; a Fulfillment of Marylou Whitney’s Vision Featured

Written by Thomas Dimopoulos
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Photo by Thomas Dimopoulos Photo by Thomas Dimopoulos

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Members of the New York Racing Association joined philanthropist John Hendrickson and representatives from the Backstretch Employee Service Team (BEST), Saratoga Hospital and the New York Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association (NYTHA) in a ceremonial event to celebrate the construction of a new backstretch healthcare clinic at Saratoga Race Course.

Hendrickson has pledged $1.2 million for construction of the permanent clinic - $400,000 of which was raised in an auction of possessions belonging to late wife Marylou Whitney, who died in 2019. 

“Marylou always thought that Saratoga should be the summer place to be for everyone, including the backstretch workers (and) saw the need for a better backstretch clinic,” Hendrickson said during Wednesday’s event. 

“A lot has been accomplished the past few years to improve the lives of the backstretch workers – the unsung heroes,” Hendickson said, noting the development of the backstretch pavilion, daycare center and new NYRA dorms, as well as critical services provided by BEST and The New York Race Track Chaplaincy.    

The event was staged in front of a concrete foundation where the clinic, which will include four exam rooms and a lab for blood work, is slated to open next spring. 

Sen. Daphne Jordan and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner respectively delivered proclamations and citations honoring those involved with the clinic. Dr. Alexander Cardiel, Medical Director of the Backstretch Clinic, Saratoga Hospital, said 600 to 700 workers are provided medical care each summer – providing many workers the first time that they’ve seen a physician in the country. The new building will provide a large space and offer the opportunity for additional health services for the backstretch community.   

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