Atlantic City Race Course
Mays Landing, New Jersey 08330
The Atlantic City Race Course (ACRC) is a thoroughbred horse race track located in the Mays Landing section of Hamilton Township, in Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States. The track is located off the Black Horse Pike (U.S. Route 322) next to the Hamilton Mall. Despite the name, the facility is located 14 miles (23 km) from Atlantic City.
The main track is 1 1/8 miles in length and 100 feet (30 m) wide, with a 7 furlong chute. The stretch portion of the main track is 947.29 feet (288.73 m). The turf course is a 100-foot (30 m) wide, one mile (1.6 km) oval, 100 feet (30 m) wide. The stands offer a seating capacity of 10,000, with standing room available for 25,000. In all, ACRC covers over 250 acres (1.0 km2) of land.
ACRC opened on July 22, 1946, the work of a group of four individuals. The most famous of the group was John B. Kelly, Sr., who created the race course together with Fred C. Scholler, Glendon Robertson and James "Sonny" Fraser. Shareholders included show business personalities Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Harry James, Sammy Kaye and Xavier Cugat.
Kelso, considered to be among the best racehorses of the twentieth century, made his two-year-old debut on September 4, 1959 at ACRC, at that time one of the country's premier tracks.
On August 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 1969 an estimated 100,000 people attended the Atlantic City Pop Festival at the race course. The overwhelming turn out was an unexpected and controversial state of affairs, as local government agencies and police departments strained to respond to the harbinger of the Woodstock Festival in upstate New York just a few weeks later. Roads approaching the race course were clogged with young people who spontaneously arrived to attend, forming an ad-hoc hippy hollow in the surrounding forest areas in the vicinity.
In the late 1970s, the opening of casinos in Atlantic City had an impact on track attendance as did later competition for quality horses from racino-type venues in regional states. Over time, ACRC could not operate profitably as attendance and handle dropped off year by year. Track owner Bob Levy announced the facility would hold a final abbreviated race meet in 1998, then close, presumably at the end of that year. The track remains open, however, operating short, fair-like meets in order to retain its simulcast permit. In 2001, the track was sold to the owners of Philadelphia Park Racetrack and is now primarily a simulcast facility. From 1998 to the present, ACRC conducted live race meets of between four and 10 days per year.
On November 16, 2006 Hal Handel, CEO of Greenwood Racing, announced that ACRC would increase live racing dates from 4 days per year to up to 20 days per year. In 2008, racing took place on six days; April 23, 24, 25, 30, May 1, and 2. The New Jersey Racing Commission ordered the track to offer 20 days of racing in 2009, but reduced the mandate to six when the track agreed to forego its pursuit of purse subsidy monies from an agreement between the New Jersey horse racing industry and the Atlantic City casinos.
In 2010, racing will take place on April 18, 19, 20, 22, 23 and 24. Post time is 3:30 p.m.