ATLANTIC CITY - State lawmakers have approved a plan to hold a special horse race on the Atlantic City Beach.

Atlantic City will host the American version of a 17th century Italian tradition, Il Palio di Siena.

"I think it's good for Atlantic City. I think it's good for the horse industry," says Sen. Kip Bateman. "I think it exposes more and more people to horse racing, and I think it's going to be good for the economy."

The thoroughbreds will race on the beach, inspired by the rough and tumble event in Italy. Gov. Chris Christie is poised to sign a bill that will allow betting on the race.

Gaming industry experts are pleased with the decision. "You're allowing Atlantic City to do what it does best and become a destination for people,” gaming lobbyist Bill Pascrell says.

Assuming the governor signs the bill, the race will be held Columbus Day weekend.