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Ken Warkentin's Blog


The Ultimate Payoff

Published: November 2, 2011 1:16 pm ET

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Over the last few years, I’ve been extremely fortunate to travel around quite a bit, proudly representing The Meadowlands and the sport, working at several venues, and taking part in some big events.

I must admit I’ve petitioned for as many as I’ve been invited, simply because I love it. From Sweden, to New Brunswick, Newfoundland, several parts of Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and hey, even Monmouth Park.

Like any industry, you’re bound to run into the bitter, burned out and misguided; but naturally the upbeat far outnumber the downtrodden, the good in harness racing far outweighs the bad, and while it may not be currently thriving in most places, there is fuel for survival, and the game has a right to cling to some hope.

Obviously, there are people out there who still care, in fact there are many with passion and deep interest, some with a vision, a plan, and the will (and the money) to carry it out.

I’ve seen the unselfish, who give in a world of takers, who speak up, yet listen, look you in the eye, and know how to find fun with all of our drama and excitement.

I have discovered the absolute best part of venturing to other tracks is the sheer pleasure of meeting so many great fans, patrons and horsemen alike, along many talented and hard-working professionals who truly enjoy their work.

Total strangers become long lost friends by suddenly sharing a seemingly endless chat about that memorable moment or who do you like here? Kind words and knowing smiles radiate from genuine folk. Musings of the glorious past seamlessly lead into a strong notion about that trotter in next race going off at 10-1. To me, that’s precisely what this wonderful game is all about.

I believe that’s what Stan Bergstein was telling us throughout his wonderful life.

It’s certainly never about the money. You effectively become rich by soaking in those unique experiences, spreading positive, encouraging words, while being inspired by others.

That’s the Ultimate Payoff.

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