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About Ken Warkentin

Ken Warkentin is an experienced broadcaster, voice-over artist, and handicapper, with decades of experience in the business and art of horse race announcing as well as voice work in general. He has been a member of the award-winning broadcast team at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey for 30 years. He has also appeared on national television networks such as ESPN, Fox Sports, and SportsNet New York, announced prestigious races such as the Hambletonian, and been a part of the broadcast teams for both CBS Sports and NBC Sports.

I’ve been lucky enough to have jobs that let me do things that make me feel happy and fulfilled and have fun.

Ken’s voice has graced the airwaves for over thirty years. After growing up playing hockey and golf as a kid in his native Toronto, Ken got a degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting from Seneca College in Ontario. Right out of school, he got a job doing Top 40 broadcasting. He enjoyed the work, and he still follows the music industry to this day, but within a year he left music broadcasting and got a job as the track announcer at Flamboro Downs in Dundas, Ontario.

Ken is candid about the reasons for the switch. He attributes his success in racing broadcasting to both luck and his work ethic, emphasizing that while he has a history of being in the right place at the right time, he loves what he does and he works hard at it. His first job as a track announcer came during his college days, resulting from a chance connection from a friend. According to Ken, “I was in my late teens; I still have the program somewhere. They gave me forty bucks!”

As tends to happen when you have a natural drive like Ken’s, these lucky occurrences started piling up: “I also did the Markham Fair, and when I got there I asked for a racing program. The judge told me there wasn’t one. So we had to go see who showed up, draw post positions and write them down. You also had to emcee horse shows in between races.” After these early informal jobs, Ken was hooked, and a lifelong passion for harness racing was born.

When asked what makes racing broadcasting such an attractive option for Ken, he says that he “particularly enjoys the excitement of calling the races – especially the major stakes like the Hambletonian – as well as putting together profiles and segments for our SportsNet New York recap show, the challenge of handicapping, and the camaraderie and professionalism of my colleagues.”

In addition to his long tenure at the Meadowlands Racetrack and Flamboro Downs before that, Ken has also been a guest announcer at events throughout the United States and Canada, and even presented races during the 2010 Elitlopp Festival at Solvalla Racecourse in Stockholm, Sweden – an appearance which was broadcast on Swedish national television.  Ken also appears yearly at the Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island for their annual Old Home Week and Gold Cup and Saucer Event.

Ken’s love of both sports and voice work is obvious. When asked what he might have pursued had he not found such a fruitful career in horse racing announcing, he points out that his childhood playing hockey has made him think more than once about announcing hockey games. However, he has begun carving out a new niche for himself outside the world of sports announcing by doing freelance voice work in other fields.

“It was kind of a natural progression. The track sometimes doesn’t have as many nights where they’re racing, so voice work seemed like a good way to expand.” In addition to doing narration, auctioneering, and sports play-by-play, he also does promos, station announcement, IDs – he’s even done bar mitzvahs! He has also appeared as an on-camera spokesperson and also works “behind the scenes” doing things like scripting and producing. He is also the co-host of “Around the Lot”, a monthly television program produced by the Franklin Sussex Automall in northern New Jersey.

On both the creative and the performing sides of the industry, Ken’s career has allowed him to experience the drama and excitement of horse racing and the thrill of live television. As a student of media and the art of human expression, Ken has carefully studied and improved his craft. He enjoys reading, watching, listening, and learning how the spoken word is delivered on many different levels, and as a producer, he has a chance to put what he’s learned into action, critiquing, tweaking, and honing his work.

For Ken, the bottom line is that everything comes down to doing what he loves. “I’ve never had a traditional nine-to-five kind of job, and I love it that way. I’ve been lucky enough to have jobs that let me do things that make me feel happy and fulfilled and have fun. It makes it so that when I work hard – which I always do – it never really feels like ‘work’, if that makes sense.”

Originally from Toronto and now a citizen of both the United States and Canada, Ken now makes his home in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, with his wife Jennifer and their two children. You can contact him here.