If you missed the speech by Mary Lou Whitney when she accepted her Eclipse Award of Merit tonight or if you'd like to read it for yourself, see the full transcript below.
Good evening. I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this Award tonight.
I have loved the sport of thoroughbred racing since Sonny Whitney introduced me to it in 1958. I am grateful to carry on—in a small way—the traditions of the Whitney Family who have been in this business since 1894.
Horses–and the people involved in racing–have always given me more than I could ever give them. Horse racing is where I feel the most alive…AND at home. You are my family!
Being part of this horse racing family is a pleasure and a privilege…but it also requires responsibility.
Many first-time owners get frustrated if they do not achieve instant success. However, over the years, we have all learned success—as an owner—means our horses have finished a race unhurt.
All owners need to be accountable for their horses–from the beginning of their lives to the end! We are their advocates. Together, we must fight to ensure there will never be another horse slaughtered in America!
Another obligation we must share is to our backstretch workers. They are the sport's unsung heroes. These wonderful people work long hours in dangerous situations…while often living in poor conditions. All of us should do more to improve their lives and advance their dignity.
We should also remember that racing is not just about the betting. The beauty, pageantry, and flair is what separates our sport from any other. Every race meet must be an extraordinary event—the only place to be.
As we look to the future, we must also pass on our passion and excitement for this glorious sport to the next generation. It is our obligation.
A candle loses nothing by lighting another.
Thank you for honoring me tonight with the most prestigious Award in racing. There are so many others that deserve this distinction before me. However, I want you to know, you have given me one of the greatest moments in my life, and I am forever grateful.
Tomorrow, I plan to wake up inspired to do more for the horses…
and YOU……the people I love.
May God bless you and this marvelous sport!
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