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Bill To Let Horses Race On AC Beach Passes Legislature

A bill that would allow a weekend of horse racing on the Atlantic City beach has been approved by the New Jersey legislature and now goes to Gov. Chris Christie.

Palio di Siena in Siena, Italy
Palio di Siena in Siena, Italy (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Assemblyman John Burzichelli said the bill would allow Atlantic City to host the American Palio Celebration, a version of a race in Italy that has been held for the past 700 years.

“This has all the making of a fun and great event, the type of which we’ve been trying to lure to Atlantic City to highlight it as a top-flight entertainment destination,” said Burzichelli, a southern New Jersey Democrat. “This will attract horse fans, sports fans, families and those simply looking to see a unique event on the beach in the autumn. Changing state law to allow for this great promotion is the least we can do as we continue striving to make Atlantic City a great place to visit and spend time.”

It would be held Oct. 11-12.

The event is an Americanization of Palio, a race in Siena, Italy, in which horses race one half-mile around the Town Square. The American version will have horses competing in the American classic distance of three-quarters of a mile on the beach.

It will have 50 horses competing in a series of elimination races that will narrow the field to the 10 runners who will race for the American Palio Championship.

The legislature also passed a bill to allow people to wager at the annual Far Hills Race Meeting, which has helped raise money for the Somerset Medical Center’s cancer center each fall.

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