In his first year of driving full-time, 18-year-old Brett Beckwith has already made more than 1,000 starts, won more than 100 races, and earned nearly $950,000 in purses.
"I've gotten way more work this year than I thought I would have but I'm taking every opportunity as it goes and just trying to make the most out of it," said the up-and-coming driver in recent a interview with Meadowlands' Dave Little.
While Beckwith was born into a harness racing family -- his father is driver Mark Beckwith and his mother Melissa trains -- the teenager didn't take a serious interest in pursing a career of his own in the industry until just a few years ago.
"Honestly, I just really never was into it. I would go to school, I would go home, I would hang out with my friends, I just would never go to the barn. It wasn't until I went to the Meadowlands, actually, with my grandfather and I started watching some of the Meadowlands races with him and just watching him watch his horses race. And just watching him watch those races, it was just something I wanted to get into [after] seeing his reaction."
Like all parents, the Beckwiths wanted a bright future for their son and supported his choice of career path seeing him breakthrough so quickly in the sport.
"At the start, probably I'd say...they wanted me to get a degree and they didn't know what the business would be like and whatnot, but they're happy now and they support me fully."
Beckwith's drive to pursue a career in the sulky began with him helping his parents at the barn by cleaning stalls and getting horses ready.
"Once I started jogging horses and training horses with my dad and stuff, I just fell in love," said the promising reinsman, who is proving his drive to compete with long hours on the road.
Little broke down the mileage the Saratoga-based driver has been travelling regularly in his quest to break into the harness racing big leagues, including a 193-mile trip from Saratoga to Plainridge once a week, a 254-mile trip from Plainridge to Freehold and a 236-mile trip from Freehold to Saratoga.
But the humble young reinsman has taken it all in stride.
"I always think of it as benefiting my future -- that's the only way you can think about it," said Beckwith, who celebrated his first Meadowlands win with Meadowbranch Ricky on December 2. "Personally for me, I'd say since I'm young, I wake up and I'm pretty energized every day. But there are days that you wake up and you're just tired or whatnot, but if you stopped doing what you love and stopped working those days, you wouldn't be where you are today."