A proposal that would bring horse racing to Atlantic City's beaches in October was approved Monday by the Assembly Budget Committee.

Planned to coincide with Columbus Day weekend, the two-day race Oct. 11 and 13 would pay homage to an Italian tradition known as Il Palio, with a field of 50 horses narrowed down through a series of qualifying races.

"This is a surefire trifecta: We have a winner for horse racing and Atlantic City, we've got a perfect place on the beach, and we're going to put on a show that's never been seen before," Assemblyman Ron Dancer, R-Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean said in a written statement.

For the race to take place, state legislators would have to make changes to laws allowing the New Jersey Racing Commission to grant a permit for the race and allow betting to take place.

"This is an exciting new American twist on a time-honored Italian tradition, which will bring some well-deserved attention to Atlantic City and our state's horse industries," Assemblyman John Amodeo, R-Atlantic, said. "I'll bet that this race will become an annual tradition for New Jersey."

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