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Ken Warkentin's Blog


Racing’s Resilient Spirit

Published: October 16, 2011 1:53 pm ET

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I was reminded the other day it’s actually not too early to start thinking about the Holiday Season.

Aside from the return of live harness racing at the Big M, our family was making plans for a return visit to see the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, which is sure to get one into the holiday spirit again.

Kids and adults alike are reminded that guy in the red suit means magic, dreams come true, and the spirit of giving and good will are renewed. The intricate formations of the Radio City Rockettes and the toy soldiers illustrate dedication and teamwork. New York City is alive with the hustle and bustle of shoppers and tourists. It’s a time to celebrate with family and friends, a season of cheer, and children of all ages show appreciation for the gifts they have and are about to receive.

This past year, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some wonderful places where harness racing is greatly appreciated for the sport, the spirit of competition, the camaraderie, and not always so much for the monetary rewards. In harness racing hot spots like Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, where the purses are can be hundreds of dollars, horsemen have full time jobs, and a stable is a full time hobby. They seem to be the happiest people on earth and their hospitality is unsurpassed.

Oh sure, everybody wants to fiercely win, but they’re quick to congratulate and help each other out in a time of need.Their spirit of giving and good will are prevalent all year round.

Once in awhile a local guy will be lucky enough to pull the right halter at a sale, train a champion and sell a top horse for serious cash. Hard work pays off with magic and celebration, but at the end of the day, it’s the joy of shared laughter with fellow horsemen that means the most.

You are immediately struck by the fans, who are knowledgeable, passionate and appreciative. And just like at the Big Apple’s famed venue, the show always goes on without a hitch with conscientious and professional individuals, who have realized long ago that their teamwork is the only way to get the job done, and the roar of their crowd is the ultimate payoff.

Racing has always had many of those right elements well in place, the dedication and teamwork to put on its own spectacular show night after night, on a stage where the synchronized kicks seem just as high, and dreams come true.

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