12/12/2007 12:00AM

Philly Park to make improvements

EmailPhiladelphia Park has agreed to make improvements to the racetrack's backstretch and pledged to restore the grandstand solely for horse racing fans.

In return, the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has signed a seven-year extension to the existing live racing contract.

Under the agreement, Philly Park will renovate all 36 barns, at a cost of about $500,000 apiece, over the next eight years, and refurbish each of the 12 dormitory facilities on the backside over the next four years.

When the facility's new $250 million stand-alone casino is completed in 2009, the grandstand will revert to its original role as the site for horseplayers. Currently, only one floor of the grandstand is devoted to horse racing, with the remainder serving as a temporary home for the track's slot machines.