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The ending of an era for Atlantic City Racecourse?

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  • The ending of an era for Atlantic City Racecourse?

    So much of Atlantic City's history has been lost... and it looks like the racecourse will probably be next.

    Though not exactly Keeneland or Saratoga, the short meet has always been popular with horse people and the locals. And not even a year ago when Hal Handel was still in control, they were requesting more dates and planning a much needed renovation of the facility.

    Has Atlantic City Reached Finish Line? Linda Dougherty, Bloodhorse, 3/31/08

    “We believe that, with Hal’s departure, this may be the last year for Atlantic City,” said Dennis Drazin, president of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. “We received indications that Greenwood is pursuing redevelopment plans which do not include a racetrack.”
    Turf races for claimers, straight maidens, and those with starter allowance conditions have proven rather popular in the spring at Atlantic City. Last year, field size averaged 10.03 horses per race—the highest average in the United States—for 29 races, according to The Jockey Club Information Services.
    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

  • #2
    Worth noting a few lone voices to save it ...



    • #3
      I'm trying recall and perhaps someone else will - did penny stock swindler Robert Brennan ("Due Process Stables") purchase this course at one time? He owned a few New Jersey tracks for a while via his ITB (In'tl Thoroughbred Breeders Inc) entity although I'm not sure if ACR was one of them.

      Flashback: youtube.com First Jersey Securities


      • #4
        i thought atlantic city has been closed awhile ?? ran one there back in early 2000 and thought that was the last meet they ran ??
        horse show diva dot com


        • #5
          another truly heartbreaking story is about hialeah park. savehialeahpark.com its worth a look i hate to see that place turn into a shopping center but am afraid something like that will eventually happen. so sad.......
          horse show diva dot com


          • #6
            Originally posted by hipsdontlie View Post
            i thought atlantic city has been closed awhile ?? ran one there back in early 2000 and thought that was the last meet they ran ??
            They happily ran it last year, as the article cited, although keep in mind it is less then a week's worth of racing per meet.


            • #8
              Atlantic City: No Plans to Call it Quits
              Blog: My journey with two OTTB's


              • #9
                thanx glimmer. should prob look at article. only a week huh ?? only been racing in south fl and belmont/saratoga past few yrs and half the time i never get to go to the track sadly. young children and a barn full doesnt allow the time i used to have to watch ours run....liked racing there last time we ran there we won even though was a 5k claimer still had fun there.
                horse show diva dot com


                • Original Poster

                  Did you take all these? The photography is AMAZING! I was perusing the rest of the album and was blown away!

                  Awesome news! Funny how the Bloodhorse releases that article just hours after they email the other one out...

                  Originally posted by hipsdontlie View Post
                  liked racing there last time we ran there we won even though was a 5k claimer still had fun there.
                  That's what I always loved about their little bitty meet. Even though it's more or less a bunch of cheap horses running, everyone has a great time. The place has a cool vibe about it. And it's somewhere in the mid-atlantic region where your race won't be pulled off the turf 7 time out of 10.
                  Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                  • #11
                    I have very fond memories of AC... that is the first track I galloped at, way back in 82.. it was still a decent meet, with pleny of good horsemen. Wish I had pics to share!


                    • #12
                      Alibhai's Alibar - great photos! Did you notice the townhouses that are next to the backstretch? That was part of a march larger (250 current acres) ACRC that was sold off. Now I can tell you those people did NOT buy their townhouses to have live horse racing in their backyards.

                      I know there has been discussion about a 20 day meet. No matter what they do, they will have to continue the policy of shipping in and out for race day. They have managed to keep one barn in good enough shape for the horses but the remainder of the backside looks the same as the tote board


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by CAH View Post
                        ... the remainder of the backside looks the same as the tote board
                        We call it character

                        The barns at Saratoga on the backstretch in recent years aren't exactly without the need for some work either ...

                        More power to the owners who ship in for these races and the organizers who won't cave in to the tremendous pressure to sell off the land for development. This world doesn't need another golf course, basketball court, mall, parking lot or condensed townhouse.


                        • #14
                          ACRC had character 20 years ago Now it is to the point where portions of the roofs are missing on some barns, I won't even go into detail about the stakes barn.

                          That 250 acres is prime real estate. I so hope they stay.....I remember watching Fort Marcy race there as a small child....the Morning Glory Club, and up to the mid 90's when they had night live racing. At one point several years ago the plan was to sell and have a NASCAR track there. The neighbors screamed bloody murder and the local Council shot that one down. Then it was a Cabella's was coming. Thankfully for me (DH is a Cabella's fan) that one did not pan out. But there are not too many 250 acre buildable sites left in this county, 20 minutes from Atlantic City.


                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by CAH View Post
                            ACRC had character 20 years ago
                            Hahaha, that's what I was thinking, too. I haven't been there in several years, but last time I walked around the backside I noticed even the good barns were equipped with skylights and swimming pools.

                            Now that the rumor of this being the last meet is dispelled, I wonder if they'll ever go ahead with the supposed renovations. If they do renovate, I hope they keep the grandstand and the 1940s-esque feel with the old signage, etc. I would hate to see the place looking like your run-of-the-mill racino.
                            Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                            • #16
                              The Daily Racing Form for Monday 4/21 had an interesting article as to why maybe the owners continue to keep this alive but not without horsemen's gripes:


                              It is tempting to compare the all-turf meet - which typically draws full fields - to one of those quaint fair meets tucked into some hollow in the Irish countryside, but even those racetracks send their signals to bookmakers in the city. And to officials of the New Jersey Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, the word "quaint" doesn't come to mind when talking about Atlantic City.

                              "It's a sham meet," said Dennis Drazin, the president of the horsemen's group.

                              Atlantic City is owned by Greenwood Racing, the owner of Philadelphia Park in Pennsylvania. Since Greenwood purchased the ailing track in 2001, Atlantic City has been holding short meets, principally as a way to keep the track's simulcasting license, which allows the facility to remain open year-round as an offtrack betting location.

                              With the recent legalization of in-home betting in New Jersey and the opening of a Greenwood OTB in nearby Vineland, however, the future of the track is being openly questioned by horsemen.

                              Drazin said that he believes the track continues to card races because it allows Greenwood to save $1.5 million in purse payments because racetracks qualify for a lower purse-contribution rate from simulcasting wagers than pure OTBs.


                              • Original Poster

                                It sounds like the NJ Racing Commission and HBPA are just sour they aren't getting what they perceive as their fair share of the revenue.

                                I think the proof is in the pudding-- the entries are up for the first 3 days with 8-12 horses entered in every race. Monmouth or the Meadowlands sure don't draw those numbers on a regular basis.
                                Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                                • #18
                                  From their Press release of 4-23-08:

                                  Under the guidance of long-time groundskeeper Bill Gatto, the mile-long turf course is still recognized as the best on the East Coast. It is so plush that course officials are planning to stage a promotion sometime during the meet that allows fans to walk the turf barefoot, much like groundskeepers at other tracks do to get a feel for what a state-of-the-art grass surface should feel like.

                                  Because of the soaring popularity of live racing, the New Jersey Racing Commission has mandated that ACRC host at least a 20-day meet in 2009. No problem, said Bugdon, as long as the track gets a portion of the purse supplement that is provided by the Casino Association of New Jersey.
                                  While a bit of a stunt it is just the type of thing that works with re-connecting spectators with the sport. I'm sure many are curious as to just how firm a turf course is.


                                  • #19
                                    Wait the patient is still warm and we have a pulse, so put that tombstone away .. for now!

                                    11-20-08 "Atlantic City Race Course gets reprieve as state OKs 6-day meet"

                                    State regulators Wednesday granted Atlantic City Race Course's request for a six-day 2009 racing schedule, ending fears that the track might close at the end of the this year.

                                    The approval by the New Jersey Racing Commission came after the track, state and New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Associa-tion reached an agreement Tuesday.

                                    Under the agreement, the race course will stop asking for part of a $90 million pot of casino money intended to bolster New Jersey horse-racing purses. Track operators said they needed that money to finance the 20-day racing schedule the commission wanted to mandate for 2009.

                                    The race course also will develop a new financial plan, determine how it can upgrade facilities, such as the grandstand and stables, and support the opening of some new off-track-betting parlors.

                                    The commission approved the race course's schedule - April 16, 17, 23, 24, 25, 30 and May 1 - unanimously.
                                    In spite of all the attempts to kill the place and dissuade fans from attending by making it look akin to a bomb shelter with the infrastructure the place lives on and has drawn healthy crowds. Great to hear it's demise won't happen in 2009!


                                    • #20
                                      And the track they cannot kill returns! Too bad HRTV and/or TVG won't get to pick up their signal ....

                                      Press of AC 4-16-09 "Atlantic City Race Course goes live today "

                                      Today brings the first of this year's six-day schedule with the first post at 3:30 p.m., for the one-mile all-turf track.

                                      The other dates are tomorrow, April 23, 24, 30 and May 1.

                                      There are six races each day except May 1. There will be seven that day, including the $50,000 Tony Gatto Big Dream Stakes, the lone stakes event of the meeting.
                                      While Paludi looks for information for his handicaps, hundreds of others watch the horses for other reasons. Many enjoy the nature of the animals.

                                      Fans tend to watch the animals from the time they first get on the campus to when they are saddled. They follow as the horses go through the tunnel to the course.

                                      "We call it the wave," ACRC president Maureen Gallagher Bugdon said. "There are thousands of people who just watch the horses and they follow them the entire way. It's great to have them all here."
                                      Very Saratoga with everyone lined up as the horses are led down the looooong tree-lined area from the stabling area, across the street, through the picknick table section to the saddling area

                                      Entries for today's card: all 6 races are full with 12 horses each same for Saturday.