Thanks to the thousands of people who have visited this site.
This memorial website was created to the memory of the amazing life and times of Stanley Bergstein. Born above a grocery store in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, to the grocer Milton and his wife Esther, on 19 June 1924 and passed away in his lovely home in Tucson, Arizona on 02 November 2011 at the age of 87. We will remember him forever.
At his side was his son Al, Al’s wife Megan and a hospice care specialist. Daughter Lisa and her husband Craig, along with grandsons Michael Hentschel, Aaron and David Tremback, were also in Tucson for the end of Stan’samazing life. Grandson Isaac was working in Seattle and could not attend, but was there in spirit.
Stan's death comes just 17 months after his beloved wife, June, died. The couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary four days earlier.
The loss to the harness racing world is immense. Bergstein was incomparable. The breadth of his influence, and knowledge of the sport was legendary.
Stan's life spanned a very characteristic arc for a man in the middle of the 20th Century. He worked his way out of a poor coal mining town in Pennsylvania's Appalachian Range, went off to fight in WWII, fought across France and Germany, returned to go to college on one of the first Television scholarships in journalism, and graduated near the top of his class at a prominent college.
He started with a PR firm that did harness racing in 1946. Later, he connived his way into a job with the Harlem Globetrotters, and parlayed that into a series of other jobs where he outperformed everyone to prove himself as someone you wanted to hand the work off to, as he would do it right.
But there the similarities to others ended and Stan's own success came to the front. Married a beautiful high fashion model, June Hanna, whom he stayed with 60 years, to her death. Went on to travel the world during the height of the prominence of harness racing, a sport that he dominated in almost every aspect but driving and training the horses. Writer, announcer, auctioneer, executive for the industry, public relations and marketing guru, editor of the prominent journal of it's day, and creating organizations that defined the sport. He was one of the first members of the United Million Mile club, an honor he took seriously because it defined him as a man of the world, long before frequent flier miles. He also was a television personality, and,turned away from TV on multiple occasions starting in the 40s, mainly because they wanted him to change his Jewish name. But he didn't. Stan told me that he refused to give up his cultural and religious heritage for success. How he said it was, "I'm not going to trade my Jewishness for success," though he never put down those who felt they needed to. He understood how hard it would be to not take the brass ring of success in a new field.
He walked away from that to do it his way. And he succeeded. He said that he had a few goals, all culled from listening as a teenager to Flash Gordon and other radio heroes. He wanted to see the year 1970. Then 2000. And to see wristwatch telephones with TVs in them. He saw all that and more. He dined with kings and queens both literally and figuratively. Yet he could walk up and shoot the breeze with a groom on the horse he or she was brushing down. Chat about the horses' pedigree. Talk about the races it had been in. He had a mind like a steel trap. He could memorize names of people and remember them decades later, after seeing them only once. It had to do with his training as an announcer.
Stan fit in everywhere, even with his ever present suit. He was a one of those people that just fit wherever they go.
The family will be publishing more photos, tributes and additional history on Stan here over the next weeks. If you have photos to publish, please send them to Al. He has a scanner if they are hard copy, and will return them to you.
Be kind in that the limited editing abilities of this web site software doesn't allow paragraph breaks, and other simple tools, like web links that automatically take you to the link.
The Passing of a Legend / Robert Lieberman (close friend )
The family of Stan Bergstein, especially his son Al:-
I never had the pleasure to meet Stan`s family, but just knowing Stan, I could see what they must have been like. I met Stan in the early 90`s, as I was a New England Chapter member of USHWA...
Stan the Man for all seasons / Brian Kilmnick (Big Fan )
I was introduced to Harness Racing, during the summer months of 1962. I remember the show that Stan hosted on WGN-TV titled "Here They Come. It was televised after the late news, and showed races from Sportsman's Park, with results and payoffs.
memory of stanley / Harvey Robbins (friend/fellow writer )
i have just learned of stanley's passing and am so deeply moved. ironically, as i sit to send this message my rabbi walked in the door to say hello to me. this has never happened before. a friend sent me a 2005 article penned ...
Stan and June / Moira Fanning (beneficiary)
This poem always reminded me of Stan and June. I meant to send it to him but didn't get around to it in time. I miss him terribly but like to think of Stan and June together again.
We met at the end of the party When all the dri...
Thanks for introducing me to Harness Racing / Bob Whittaker (Fan)
My thoughts and sympathies to Mr. Bergstein's family.
I have Mr. Bergstein to thank for my decades long love affair with harness racing. I remember watching Stan Bergstein as a kid back in the 70's on WOR TV. Thanks to him and those shows I not on...
Excellent Obit in the Chicago Tribune The most accurate obit I've seen yet. - however, I was unaware that he was announcing at Maywood in 46. My dad told me that the Globetrotters work was the first announcing he had done, and that he fooled Saperstein into thinking he had announced before.
Stan Bergstein, executive vice president of Harness Tracks of America from 1961 to 2011, excelled at multi-tasking long before the phrase entered the American workplace vocabulary.
"The things Stan was good at he was great at," said Phil Langley, president of the United States Trotting Association and director of racing at Balmoral Park and Maywood Park. "His contributions to harness racing will never be duplicated."
A resident of Hinsdale (from 1963 to 1978), Mr. Bergstein was an administrator, writer, editor, publicist, race announcer, TV commentator, auctioneer, pedigree expert, event planner, innovator and ambassador for the sport he dedicated his life to.
The only person to be inducted into both the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and its Communicators Hall of Fame, Mr. Bergstein, 87, died Wednesday, Nov. 2, at his home in Tucson, Ariz. He had suffered serious cardio-pulmonary problems in the past year.
"Harness racing lost its most respected voice," said Bill Finley, editor and publisher of the newsletter Harness Racing Update. "Never has one man ever contributed such an amazing array of talents to the benefit of harness racing. Never has one man earned so much respect and admiration in harness racing. Never has one man labored so long and hard for the betterment of harness racing."
Mr. Bergstein retired as HTA executive vice president in February. Shortly thereafter the United States Harness Writers Association announced that it would honor him for lifetime achievement at its 2012 awards dinner in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 12.
A staunch advocate of forging closer ties between standardbred and thoroughbred racing, most notably in regards to medication abuse and drug testing, Mr. Bergstein began writing a column for the thoroughbred publication Daily Racing Form in 1948 and continued to contribute columns through mid-September.
"He could have done anything," said Tom Aldrich, president and chief operating officer of Northfield Park near Cleveland and one of Mr. Bergstein's many proteges. "I can't imagine what harness racing in this continent would have been like without him."
Mr. Bergstein was born in Pottsville, Pa. He served in the Army during World War II, walking onto Omaha Beach a few days after the Normandy invasion and engaging in combat. After his discharge, he enrolled in Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.
After graduating, he became track announcer at Maywood, which inaugurated pari-mutuel harness racing in Illinois in 1946. In 1948, he was hired by Abe Saperstein to work as an announcer and publicist for the Harlem Globetrotters, traveling throughout America and abroad with the team for five years.
Subsequently, he worked as race secretary and track announcer at now-defunct Sportsman's Park, which had added the standardbreds to its racing program in 1949 and was the Midwest leader in the sport.
Mr. Bergstein left Sportsman's in 1961 to become executive vice president of Harness Tracks of America, a federation of the country's harness tracks. He opened an office on North Michigan Avenue. Seven years later he added the title of vice president of publicity and public relations for the U.S. Trotting Association, the governing body of the standardbred sport. He also became editor of the USTA's award-winning monthly magazine, HoofBeats.
During this period Mr. Bergstein was the announcer for harness racing's two premier events, working two years at the Little Brown Jug and starting a 17-year stint at the Hambletonian. He also inaugurated the World Driving Championship, a yearly series of races involving harness drivers from the U.S. and Europe with competition on both continents.
In the mid-1970s, Mr. Bergstein stopped working full time for the USTA and started commuting from Chicago to New York to do a weekly harness racing show on WOR-TV. The show continued for 12 1/2 years.
He relocated HTA's headquarters to New Jersey, then again to Tucson when he moved there in 1994. He became a mentor to many of the students in the University of Arizona's racing industry studies program, including HTA general counsel Paul Estok, who succeeds him as executive vice president.
His wife died 17 months ago, shortly after the couple's 60th wedding anniversary. Mr. Bergstein is survived by a son, Al; a daughter, Lisa Bergstein Tremback; and four grandsons.
Tribute from Harness Tracks of America Stanley F. Bergstein, the only person twice inducted into the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame,
died of heart failure in the predawn hours of Wed., Nov. 2 at his home in Tucson, AZ.
At his side was his son Al, Al’s wife Megan and a hospice care specialist. Daughter Lisa and
her husband Craig, along with grandson Michael Hentschel, were also in Tucson for the end of Stan’s
His death comes just 17 months after his beloved wife, June, died just four days after the couple
celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
The loss to the harness racing world is immense. Bergstein was incomparable.
“He could have done anything,” said friend Tom Aldrich in 1999.
Instead, Bergstein chose to devote his boundless energies to harness racing — in just about
every capacity imaginable.
Aldrich, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Northfield Park near Cleveland, OH, was
a former executive assistant at the Harness Tracks of America (HTA), the organization Bergstein joined
“Imagine all the things he’s done,” Aldrich said of Bergstein. “He could have been an author.
He could have been a humorist. He could have been a diplomat. He could have been a religious
leader, a politician, a journalist, a fashion editor... He could have been a recruiter, a headhunter, a
As it was, Bergstein was a writer, innovator, broadcaster, race announcer, hall of famer, master
of ceremonies, editor, race secretary, mentor, collector, spokesperson, horse owner, pedigree reader,
consultant, auctioneer, ambassador, dean, humorist and sage.
He was best known as the Executive Vice-President of the HTA, a job he held for 50 years. In
February of 2011, he was named Executive Emeritus.
Tribute from The Daily Racing Forum Stan Bergstein, a harness-racing titan who advocated for cooperation between the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries to solve the sports' common problems, died on Wednesday morning at his home in Tucson at the age of 87, according to a family friend.
Bergstein had been suffering from health problems for the past year, and died under the care of hospice, surrounded by his immediate family.
Bergstein stepped down in February after 50 years as the executive vice president of Harness Tracks of America, the Standardbred industry's trade association. He was immediately appointed as the organization's first executive emeritus, and continued to advise the association and write guest columns for the Daily Racing Form until the weeks before his death.
The only person to ever be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and its Communicators Hall of Fame, Bergstein worked in a wide variety of roles at racetracks, auction houses, announcer's booths, and racing publications, and he maintained extensive collections of harness-racing books and artwork. He was widely respected not only in the harness industry, but also in the Thoroughbred industry, and he served as a mentor to generations of young racing professionals through a close association with the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program, located in Tucson, for the past 40 years.
Bergstein was a forceful proponent of forging closer ties between the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries, most notably in tackling medication abuse and problems with drug-testing. In dozens of commentaries, Bergstein maintained that the Standardbred industry's problems were -- or would be -- those of the Thoroughbred industry, and that neglect of a problem in one sport would damage the other.
Bergstein borrowed from the Thoroughbred industry early in his career, incorporating claiming races as a racing secretary while working at the Chicago tracks in the 1950's. At the time, the harness racing industry did not run claiming races, and they are now as commonplace in Standardbred racing as they are in Thoroughbred racing Bergstein also spearheaded the creation of Standardbred Investigative Services, a security agency modeled on the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau.
A native of Illinois, Bergstein attended harness races as a young man and received a journalism degree from Northwestern University. He was the former executive editor of Hoof Beats magazine, and the former vice president of publicity and public relations for the United States Trotting Association.
The U.S. Harness Writers Association was scheduled to honor Bergstein at its 2012 conference this winter for his lifetime of service to the industry.
"There are few people in the sport, and certainly none of the younger generation, who do not revere Stan Bergstein for his unprecedented accomplishments in harness racing," said Jason Settlemoir, the president of the writers' association when the honor was announced. "Honoring him at our 2012 dinner seems a small 'thank you' compared to what he has done for harness communications, racetracks, and just the entire sport in general."