Philadelphia Park's new racing surface gets its first test under competitive conditions on Saturday, but the initial response from horsemen has been encouraging.After being shut down for nearly three weeks, the Philadelphia Park racetrack was rebuilt from the base up and opened for training this week."It's the best race track we've had in 20 years," remarked trainer Ed Lehman. "I tend to be a very critical person when it comes to issues like the track surface. I'm 100% thrilled with the way the track is right now. They've done a tremendous job. "When a track is too hard, you see horses struggling, stinging in front and, when it's too soft, they get real loose in the back. My horses have shown none of that. They've all handled the surface beautifully."Right now it has a lot of bounce to it," he said. "It's a very forgiving, very even, very safe race track. I was standing by the rail listening to the horses run by, and you could barely hear their hooves hitting the track. It's got a great cushion and like I said, it's the best it's been in 20 years."Another top trainer, Ned Allard, echoed Lehman's sentiment. "It had been a while since the track had been re-done, and it was definitely welcomed. They've done a wonderful job out there. The track has a good cushion, it's very even and uniform, and is a very safe racetrack. I look forward to getting all of my horses out there training again."
The $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) on the main track headlines the Labor Day card Monday.