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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Dean of Harness Racing is Dead

The sad news came this morning that Stanley Bergstein has passed at the age of 87 at his home.  I can't say his death is unexpected since the death of his wife June, less than two years ago.  When you are married to someone for that long, the death of a spouse is like the amputation of a limb.  I believe he knew the end was near when he resigned from the Harness Tracks America to become President Emeritus, to ensure an orderly transition to the organization.

What has Bernstein accomplished in his life as harness racing ambassador?  Track announcer; racing secretary who brought us the claiming system of racing and was not a fan of the classified system of racing; auctioneer of the Old Glory Sale at Yonkers Raceway; broadcaster of the famous NYCOTB/Yonkers(Roosevelt) Raceway show; educator; President of Harness Tracks of America; columnists for the Daily Racing Form.  Perhaps even more important, he was a champion of integrity of racing, applauded by many, criticized by others.  He was made a member of the Hall of Fame back in 1987.

How big is his loss to this sport?  I would compare his loss to the loss of drivers like Billy Haughton, Stanley Dancer, and Delvin Miller.  While he may not have driven horses, he was the dean of the racetracks.  You may not have liked him, but you needed to respect him; a man of integrity who at one time resonated over the entire industry with what he said.

Here is Stan Bergstein, teaching fans about race calling:

Here is Stanley talking about the beginning of the standardbred breed.

And perhaps for the last time, Stan opening the Racing from Yonkers and Racing from Roosevelt show:

And perhaps the greatest honor to the Bergstein, is the obituary in the Daily Racing Form.  For the record, his last column in that newspaper.

Goodbye Stan, you will be missed, but we will forever be thankful for your contributions to the harness racing sport.

1 comment:

The_Knight_Sky said...

Stan Bergstein was one of my all-time favorite personalities in horse racing. He told it like it is.

His columns were a hoot and his piece on thoroughbred starting gates will forever remain a classic.

May this irreplaceable icon rest in peace.