How to Bet on Horse Racing – Wagering on Horse Races

Here's a beginner's guide to how to bet horse racing. If you've never bet on horses before, this guide includes everything you need to know.

Betting on horse racing has been around for quite some time. Indeed, in the early days of horse racing, there was also betting on those races. When you dive deeper into responsible horse race betting, you get into positive variables that no other sport provides. The thrill of the winning bet also motivates the sport and its popularity.

There are a handful of resourceful tools out there online that can help many bettors. Whether you are new or have experience in horse race betting, these tools can provide you with a greater chance of success.

Before you look up every tool in the book for horse race betting, you must have a basic understanding of the sport. It would also be beneficial to have your money situation lined out, which we can discuss later in this betting guide.

How the Horse Racing Season is Constructed

There is a lot of effort that goes into a horse racing calendar. While there are a handful of events to take note of, it boils down to the main two. Those are the Triple Crown which is in spring, and then the Breeders’ Cup race in the fall.

Other races that you should be accustomed to if you bet on horse races are the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. Each month typically has a handful of events, but it all depends on where the races are taking place in the US or globally.

On the calendar events for months like March and April, you will see more scheduled events. This is typically due to nicer weather and springtime. May is one of the most important betting months for horse racing since the Triple Crown begins and you have the Kentucky Derby. The month of June wraps up the Triple Crown events and also has a handful of others.

Moving on to the fall, you will see some events limited as compared to the nicer times of the year. The Breeders Cup takes place in November in Southern California, which usually has nice weather regardless.

Where to Bet on Horse Racing

Horse racing for the longest time was traditionally an in-person wager. This was well before the internet existed, and people could place wagers online. There are still many horse racetracks out there to visit and place bets on in real time. However, over the years, there have been various racetrack closures.

When betting in person like this, you either have to physically go to the racetrack and bet or off-track betting parlor. Betting online, in general, is a different story.

There are various reputable online sportsbooks to choose from. You will see names such as:

  • BetAmerica
  • Caesars Racing
  • DRFBet
  • FanDuel Racing
  • NYRA
  • TwinSpires

Before you jump into one of those examples above, you must do your research first. You never want to join one without looking into more information first. When looking into these websites, you want to check out sign-up bonuses. These usually offer an incentive for joining their site or make an attractive offer on an event.

Different Types of Horse Racing Bets

There are a variety of different types of bets to make on horse racing. Below are the three main types of wager:

WIN: This type of bet is as simple as it sounds. You are placing a wager on what horse will win the race.

PLACE: This bet is a wager on your selection for a horse to finish first or second. The Place pool is divided in two ways instead of just one.

Bettors that have placed money on either the first horse or second horse will be divided among the pool. Place odds and the potential payouts are not usually available to the public at first since they are dependent upon what horse runs first and second.

SHOW: For this bet, you would win if your horse finishes in first, second, or third place. So you would need to put a certain dollar amount on a few horses to place either first, second, or third.

This is a solid choice for a few reasons. If the horse wins, you will be able to collect the payout on all three positions. If it finishes second, you can collect the place and show spots. Finally, a third-place finish will have you gain the show money.

Other wagers

There are more bets out there to make that require more research. But if you want an easier method to look at, you can check out the following.

The Exacta will let you pick the first two finishers in one race in the exact order. The Quinella is a pick with the first two finishers in a given race but in either order. Double allows you to pick the winner of two consecutive races.

Finally, you might even see bets such as the following:

  • Daily Double: this is when you pick the correct winner on two consecutive races
  • Pick 3: This is when you pick a winner for three consecutive races in a row.
  • Superfecta: This bet requires the correct four placement of four horses
  • Wheel Betting: this one allows some flexibility within an exact bet. If you have a winner but not sure where to place another horse for a second, you can use this bet option to move horses around more easily.

Tips for Betting Horse Racing

Before betting on a horse, you want to check out a few different things first. These can range from the odds to weather and even likely horses that can win.

You want to make sure you understand the type of bet you are wagering on. If you are not familiar with a bet, make sure you know what it is about and not go with one simply because you read it was a good choice. Racebooks offer pari-mutuel wagering. However, some sportsbooks with horse racing use fixed odds.

Make sure you have your betting guidelines laid out for your money. Try creating a budget and stick to what works best for you.

Do not be afraid to do a lot of research for your bets. This is one of the most crucial betting tools that you can do for yourself. Once an event is over, you can compare your bets to how the horses performed. This will also set up a lot of opportunities down the road.

Finally, you want to see how the weather is going to be. If bad weather strikes, the event is most likely canceled. However, if it is not favorable conditions, you might want to wait for a better day so that this does not affect your potential horse of choice.

Horse Racing Betting FAQ

What is a good betting amount?

Some bets can start fairly low, around $2 a wager for most races. It all depends on what you are comfortable with spending.

How can I practice my bets?

If you are unsure of your bets or want to be cautious, you can simply put your thoughts on paper. Writing down a potential bet could help you in your betting experience and help create a long-term strategy.

What is the best betting site?

This will be debated heavily by many bettors out there. It all depends on a variety of factors that lead up to someone picking and choosing a sportsbook. Most notably, bettors like the payouts and payment methods.

What are the most common horse racing bets?

Win, Place, and Show are the three most common betting options since they are arguably the most attractive. As mentioned above, you have a variety of options to choose from.

Should I take the sign-up bonuses?

Depending on the sportsbook of your choice, you might have a welcome offer when you sign up. Before you take the offer, it would be a great idea to check out the terms and conditions of the offer first.