The first three days' entries posted to DRF (April 28, 29 and 30) for the 6-day Atlantic City Race Course all-turf meet offers full, wide-open fields, plus the return of Monmouth stalwarts Joe Bravo, Carlos Marquez and Jose Valdivia, to name a few, come Saturday, April 30 in Mays Landing.
First-race post is 3:30 p.m. ET, with 30 minutes between each of the six daily races, mostly under maiden special weight and starter allowance conditions and heavy on PARX connections.
Any fan of live racing and time warps should experience ACRC at least once in their life. The building is absolutely decrepit, replete with rusted seats and hard-pan scratch parking lot, but oddly charming as well, considering how close you can get to the action and post parades, and the facility lacking a working infield tote and speaker system through which to hear the live race calls. I'd equate it to the 1930s -- a carnival caravan atmosphere, if you will, but with fewer people and minus Seabiscuit and War Admiral.
Last year I met my father - a big ACRC fan - for Sunday afternoon's card, and oddly came away with a wonderful experience, having talked with a handful of patrons who talked glowingly about the track's earlier halcyon days and time spent with their parents and families "back in the day." Many made the pilgrimage with their kids, just to extend the legacy. In addition, the concession stands are staffed by local groups looking to raise funds for their organizations, so it's got kind of a church bingo vibe as well.
From a horseplayers' perspective, the biggest attractions are the full fields and big payouts. Anyone with a sniff of handicapping skill can profit, considering past performances of many of the claimer-type dirt horses in the fields do not translate at all to ACRC's all-turf events. Remember, the track only opens for the requisite 6 days a year for live racing so as to keep its off-track wagering license, and from what I gather the dirt course is not maintained, which is why all races run on the hedged 1-mile turf course.
Meanwhile, the live odds are extremely difficult to track, as the temporary teller stations in the grandstand, for instance, are complemented by 80s-style monitors to present the odds and exacta and trifecta will-pays. From what I recall (and pardon me in advance if I am incorrect), those are the only exotics offered, outside of an early daily double and closing race superfecta; so save your time in handicapping Pick 3s and 4s, like I ignorantly did heading into last year's visit. The 3-horse exacta box is a decent way to go at the meeting.
In any event, I am looking forward to the 90-minute track from Monmouth County this Sunday for an afternoon of anything goes at ACRC and would encourage you to experiment as well. There is nothing that can substitute for live racing, particularly on the turf, so if you see me poring over a program standing next to a gentlemen with a cross between Kenny Rogers and Harrison Ford, then stop over and say "hello."