Marylou Whitney, an octogenarian heiress and horse racing enthusiast, and her husband John Hendrickson own two horses named after former New York Governor Spitzer’s quick fail from grace after revelations about prostitutes came out. One is named “The Ninth Client” after his name in FBI files and the other is named after the NY Post’s excellent headline after the scandal broke, “The Luv Guv.”
Formerly named “Town Prowler,” after the precipitous decline of Mr. Spitzer, Whitney and Hendrickson opted to change the 2-year old thoroughbred’s name. Since then, Luv Guv has struggled, taking 10 tries before winning his first race. this Next weekend he’ll be vying for the longest leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes.
If Luv Guv were to win, theoretically it could lead to a hilarious awkward moment where current Governor, David Paterson — an extracurricular paramour in his own right — would be presenting the trophy to Whitney and Hendrickson. The owners insist that the changing of the name was not solely because of Spitzer. “There’s been a lot of love govs,” Mr. Hendrickson said, mentioning, among others, James E. McGreevey, who resigned as governor of New Jersey in 2004 after disclosing an affair with a man.
“We’re not trying to poke fun at him,” Mr. Hendrickson said. “We are Republicans, but we did support him. I think we each gave $10,000, and we like him. We thought this was a fun name.” Fortunately, the NY Times managed to get a comment from horse racing enthusiast, former NY Senate Majority Leader, Skidmore College alum and sometime-facist, Joe Bruno who was a big rival of Spitzer’s.
“I thought it was hilarious. The situation with the governor was pretty tragic and reprehensible, and I think for them to kind of weigh in to lighten the mood of all that was going on around such a real tragedy, I think was great.”
The Times contacted Spitzer for a comment but he declined. After the jump, stay tuned for another neat connection between to owners and Governor Paterson that goes way back in horse racing history.
“Paterson calls her ‘Cuz,’ as in cousin,” Mr. Hendrickson said, because of family history. In 1919, Man o’ War was defeated, in the only race he ever lost, by a horse called Upset. Upset’s grateful owner bought the groom and farrier houses as presents. The owner was Mrs. Whitney’s former father-in-law, Harry Payne Whitney. The farrier who had shod Upset was Mr. Paterson’s great-grandfather; the house was in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn.