Overview of Horse Racing
Horse racing is a popular sport that involves horses competing against each other in races, typically around a track. The races can vary in distance and can be run on different surfaces, including dirt, turf, or synthetic. Jockeys are responsible for riding the horses and navigating them around the track to try and finish ahead of the other horses.
While horse racing has a long and storied history, it is also a sport that is closely associated with betting. Many people enjoy placing bets on the races, trying to predict which horses will finish in the top positions. There are a variety of different types of bets that can be placed, including win bets, place bets, and exacta bets.
Some people take betting on horse racing very seriously and spend a lot of time analyzing statistics and studying the horses and jockeys to try and gain an edge. Others simply enjoy the excitement of the race and the thrill of the potential payoff that comes with a successful bet.
Tips for Betting on Horse Racing
Research the Track and Horses
When it comes to betting on horse racing, doing your research is key to making informed decisions and improving your chances of winning.
One important aspect to consider is the track itself. Different tracks can have varying surface types, shapes, and sizes, which can affect the way horses perform. Some horses may excel on a particular type of surface or may be better suited to a certain track shape or distance. By researching the track and understanding how it can impact the horses, you can make more informed bets.
Another important factor to consider is the horses themselves. Each horse has its own unique characteristics and strengths, which can be uncovered through research. Factors to consider when researching the horses include their past performances, their jockeys, and their trainers.
It's also important to consider any recent injuries or changes in training that could affect their performance. By studying the horses and their history, you can make more educated bets and increase your chances of success.
Familiarize Yourself with Different Types of Bets
If you're interested in horse race betting, it's important to understand the different types of bets that are available. By familiarizing yourself with the different options, you can choose the ones that best fit your betting style and increase your chances of success.
We’ll get the different bet types later in this guide.
Select the Right Sportsbook
When it comes to horse race betting, choosing the right sportsbook is crucial to your success. Starting with our list of the best horse racing betting sites is an absolute must; here are some other tips to help you choose the right sportsbook for your horse race betting needs:
- Look for a sportsbook with a good reputation: Check out online reviews and ratings to see what other bettors have to say about a sportsbook. Look for a sportsbook with a good reputation for fair odds, timely payouts, and good customer service.
- Check the sportsbook's track record: Look at the sportsbook's history and track record to see how long they've been in business and how reliable they are. You can also check to see if they are licensed and regulated by a reputable authority.
- Check the sportsbook's horse racing offerings: Look for a sportsbook that offers a wide variety of horse racing events and markets. Some sportsbooks may specialize in certain types of races, so make sure they offer the types of races and betting options that you are interested in.
- Look for competitive odds: Compare the odds offered by different sportsbooks to see which one offers the most competitive odds. This can help you maximize your winnings and get the best value for your bets.
- Look for bonuses and promotions: Some sportsbooks offer bonuses and promotions to new and existing customers, such as free bets or enhanced odds. These can help you get more value out of your betting and increase your chances of winning.
Don’t Chase Losses
One of the most important tips for horse race betting is to never chase your losses. It can be tempting to keep betting in an effort to win back what you've lost, but this can lead to even bigger losses and a downward spiral.
Here are some reasons why you should never chase your losses:
- Emotional decisions: When you're chasing losses, you're likely making emotional decisions rather than logical ones. This can cloud your judgment and lead to impulsive betting decisions.
- Increased risk: Chasing losses often involves betting more money than you normally would, which increases your risk and can lead to even bigger losses.
- Reduced focus: When you're focused on trying to win back what you've lost, you're less likely to be paying attention to the race itself. This can lead to poor betting decisions and missed opportunities.
- Decreased enjoyment: Chasing losses can take away from the enjoyment of horse race betting, making it a stressful and unpleasant experience rather than a fun and entertaining one.
So, what can you do instead of chasing losses? The best course of action is to stick to your betting strategy and accept that losses are a natural part of horse race betting. Set a budget for yourself, and once you've reached it, call it a day. Don't try to win back what you've lost, as this can lead to even bigger losses. Instead, take a break and come back to betting another day with a clear head.
Place Smaller Bets to Start
If you're new to horse race betting or looking to improve your strategy, starting with smaller bets is a great way to minimize risk and gain experience. Here are some reasons why you should consider starting with smaller bets:
- Minimize risk: Starting with smaller bets allows you to minimize your risk, especially if you're still learning the ropes of horse race betting. Smaller bets also help you avoid large losses, which can be discouraging and harm your confidence in the long run.
- Gain experience: Horse race betting is a skill that takes time to develop. By starting with smaller bets, you can gain experience and become more familiar with the betting process without risking too much money.
- Test your strategy: Starting with smaller bets also allows you to test your betting strategy and see what works and what doesn't. This can help you refine your approach and develop a more effective strategy over time.
- Build your bankroll: Starting with smaller bets can also help you build your bankroll gradually over time. As you become more experienced and confident, you can gradually increase your bets and potentially win more money.
Remember, horse race betting is a marathon, not a sprint. By starting with smaller bets and gradually building your bankroll, you can minimize risk, gain experience, and improve your betting strategy over time.
Consider Exotic Wagers
Exotic wagers can be a great way to increase your potential payout when betting on horse races. Exotic wagers typically involve betting on multiple horses to finish in a specific order, or betting on the winners of multiple races.
We’ll talk more about these in the next section.
Types of Horse Racing Bets
A win bet is the simplest and most popular type of horse racing bet. With a win bet, you are simply betting on a horse to win the race. If the horse finishes first, you win your bet. The amount you will win depends on the odds at the time you placed the bet.
For example, let's say you bet $10 on a horse with odds of 3-1 to win. If the horse wins, you would receive $40 back ($30 in winnings plus your original $10 bet). However, if the horse loses, you would lose your entire $10 bet.
A place bet in horse racing is a type of bet where you are wagering that a particular horse will finish in either first or second place in the race. This type of bet is often considered a safer option than a win bet, as it gives you a better chance of winning since you only need the horse to finish in one of the top two positions.
The payout for a place bet is typically lower than for a win bet, as the odds of the horse finishing in one of the top two positions are greater.
With a show bet, you’re wagering that a particular horse will finish in either first, second, or third place in the race. This type of bet is even safer than a place bet, as it gives you an even greater chance of winning since you only need the horse to finish in one of the top three positions.
An exacta bet in horse racing is a type of bet where you are wagering on which two horses will finish in first and second place, in the exact order you choose. This type of bet is more challenging than a win, place, or show bet, but can offer a higher payout.
To place an exacta bet, you must select two horses in the same race and specify which horse you think will finish first and which horse you think will finish second. The horses must finish in the exact order you chose for you to win the bet.
The payout for an exacta bet can vary depending on the odds of the horses you choose, and the exacta bet is typically more expensive than other types of bets. However, the potential payout can be significant if you correctly predict the exact order of the top two horses.
For example, let's say you place a $2 exacta bet on Horse A to finish first and Horse B to finish second, with odds of 5-1 and 3-1, respectively. If Horse A finishes first and Horse B finishes second, you would win your bet and receive a payout of $32 ($2 in winnings plus your original $2 bet, multiplied by the odds of 5-1 and 3-1).
Here, you choose two horses and they must finish in the top two places in any order. Essentially, you are betting on which two horses will finish first and second in a race, but you don't have to predict the order in which they will finish.
For example, if you place an Exacta Box bet on horses 1 and 2, you will win your bet if horse 1 and horse 2 finish in either first or second place in any order. If horse 1 finishes first and horse 2 finishes second, you win. If horse 2 finishes first and horse 1 finishes second, you also win.
Keep in mind that Exacta Box bets can be more expensive than other types of bets because you are effectively placing two bets. For example, if you bet $2 on an Exacta Box with two horses, it will cost you $4 because you are betting on both possible combinations of those two horses finishing first and second.
Exacta Box bets can be a good option if you have two horses that you believe have a good chance of finishing in the top two but you are not sure which one will win.
A Trifecta is a bet where you choose three horses and they must finish in the top three places in the correct order. Essentially, you are betting on which three horses will finish first, second, and third in a race, in the exact order that you predict.
For example, if you place a Trifecta bet on horses 1, 2, and 3, you will only win your bet if horse 1 finishes first, horse 2 finishes second, and horse 3 finishes third, in that exact order. If any other combination of horses finishes in the top three, or if the horses finish in a different order than you predicted, you will not win your bet.
Trifecta bets can be difficult to win because you need to correctly predict the top three finishers in the correct order. However, they can also be more lucrative than other types of bets because the payout is typically higher if you win. Trifecta bets can also be expensive because you are effectively placing six bets (one for each possible combination of the three horses finishing first, second, and third).
Overall, Trifecta bets can be a good option if you have a strong opinion about which three horses will finish in the top three and in what order.
Here, you are betting on which three horses will finish first, second, and third, but you don't have to predict the exact order in which they will finish.
For example, if you place a Trifecta Box bet on horses 1, 2, and 3, you will win your bet if those three horses finish in any order in the top three positions. If horse 1 finishes first, horse 2 finishes second, and horse 3 finishes third, you win. But if horse 2 finishes first, horse 3 finishes second, and horse 1 finishes third, you also win.
Trifecta Box bets can be more expensive than other types of bets because you are effectively placing multiple bets. For example, if you bet $2 on a Trifecta Box with three horses, it will cost you $12 because you are betting on all possible combinations of those three horses finishing in the top three.
With a superfecta , the bettor must correctly predict the first four finishers of a race in the exact order. It is a challenging bet to win, but it also offers a potentially large payout if successful.
The term "superfecta" is a combination of the words "super" and "perfecta," with "perfecta" being a bet in which the bettor correctly predicts the first two finishers of a race in order.
A superfecta box is a type of horse racing bet in which the bettor selects a group of horses to finish in the top four, but the order in which they finish does not matter.
The bettor wins as long as the selected horses finish in the top four, regardless of their order of finish. However, the cost of the bet is higher than a standard superfecta because the bettor is effectively placing multiple bets on every possible combination of the selected horses finishing in the top four.
For example, a superfecta box with four horses would cover all possible combinations of those four horses finishing in the top four, resulting in a total of 24 bets.
The Daily Double is a bet in which the bettor selects the winner of two consecutive races.
The races must be predetermined by the racetrack, and the bettor must select the winner of both races in order to win the bet. The Daily Double usually involves the first two races of the day or the last two races of the day, but it can vary depending on the racetrack and the specific race schedule.
To place a Daily Double bet, the bettor must indicate the race numbers and the horses they want to bet on. The bettor can select multiple horses in each race to increase their chances of winning, but the cost of the bet will increase accordingly. If the bettor's selected horses win both races, they will receive a payout based on the odds of the winners in each race.
The Daily Double is a popular bet among horse racing fans because it offers the potential for a large payout with a relatively small investment.
With a Pick 3, bettor is looking to select the winner of three consecutive races.
The races must be predetermined by the racetrack, and the bettor must select the winner of all three races in order to win the bet. The Pick 3 can be any three races on the race card, but it is usually the first three races, the last three races, or three straight races in the middle of the card.
To place a Pick 3 bet, the bettor must go to the betting window or use a self-service betting machine, and indicate the race numbers and the horses they want to bet on. The bettor can select multiple horses in each race to increase their chances of winning, but the cost of the bet will increase accordingly. If the bettor's selected horses win all three races, they will receive a payout based on the odds of the winners in each race.
The Pick 4 wager is similar to a Pick 3 bet, only the better is aiming to choose the winner of four consecutive races.
Triple Crown Betting
The Kentucky Derby is one of the most popular betting events in the world, with millions of dollars wagered on the race each year.
The race attracts not only horse racing fans, but also casual bettors and even non-sports fans who are drawn to the spectacle and excitement of the event. The Kentucky Derby is known as the "most exciting two minutes in sports," and it has become a cultural phenomenon that transcends the world of horse racing.
A total of $250.9 million was wagered on the Kentucky Derby in 2019, making it the highest-grossing race in North America. This included bets placed at the track, as well as bets made through online and mobile platforms (which began rolling in as soon as the Kentucky Derby odds were released well ahead of the race)
The Kentucky Derby also generates significant revenue for the state of Kentucky, with the race and its associated events bringing in an estimated $400 million in economic activity each year. In 2023, the state of Kentucky legalized online sports betting. By the end of the year, up to 27 online betting operators may be regulated and launch in the state, including big names like Caesars, FanDuel, and DraftKings.
Sportsbooks will be clamoring to take advantage of the rabid interest in the race, so it pays to let us guide you to the best Kentucky Derby betting sites ahead of the Run for the Roses.
The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, and it is a popular betting event in the horse racing world. While it does not generate as much betting activity as the Kentucky Derby, it is still a significant event in the sports betting world.
In 2019, the total handle for the Preakness Stakes was $61.7 million, which was a decrease from previous years. However, the Preakness Stakes still attracts a significant amount of attention from horse racing fans and bettors, especially those who are hoping to see a potential Triple Crown winner.
One factor that may affect the popularity of the Preakness Stakes as a betting event is its position in the calendar. The race takes place just two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, which can make it difficult for bettors to assess the form of the horses and make informed bets. Additionally, some top horses may choose to skip the Preakness in order to rest and prepare for other races later in the year, which can make the field less competitive and less attractive for bettors.
Like the Preakness Stakes, the final jewel in the Triple Crown falls short in terms of betting activity compared with the Kentucky Derby – but it’s still important, especially if the Triple Crown is up for grabs.
In 2019, the total handle for the Belmont Stakes was $102.2 million, which was an increase from the previous year. This increase was likely due to the presence of a potential Triple Crown winner, which always generates significant interest and betting activity.
The Belmont Stakes is known for its grueling 1.5-mile distance, which makes it a challenging race for horses and a difficult one for bettors to handicap. However, the race is also known for producing some memorable upsets and longshot winners, which can make it an attractive betting opportunity for those looking for big payouts.
Popular Horse Racing Tracks in the U.S.A.
Santa Anita Park (California)
Santa Anita Park is a thoroughbred racetrack located in Arcadia, California. It is one of the most famous horse racing tracks in the United States, known for its beautiful setting at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains and its rich history of hosting some of the most important horse races in the country.
Santa Anita Park has a long and storied history, dating back to its opening in 1934. Over the years, it has hosted some of the most prestigious races in horse racing, including the Santa Anita Derby, the Santa Anita Handicap, and the Breeders' Cup World Championships. The track has also been used as a filming location for many movies and TV shows, and it has been the site of numerous world records and historic moments in horse racing.
In addition to its racing program, Santa Anita Park is also known for its beautiful facilities and wide range of amenities. The track features a grandstand with seating for over 26,000 spectators, as well as numerous restaurants, bars, and other entertainment options. The track also hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, including concerts, food and wine tastings, and family-friendly activities.
Belmont Park (New York)
Belmont Park, located in Elmont, New York, is best known as the home of the Belmont Stakes, which is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.
The race is held annually in early June, and it is considered one of the most challenging and prestigious horse races in the world. Belmont Park has also hosted many other important races throughout its history, including the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Metropolitan Handicap, and the Acorn Stakes.
In addition to its racing program, Belmont Park is also known for its beautiful facilities and wide range of amenities. The track features a grandstand with seating for over 32,000 spectators, as well as numerous restaurants, bars, and other entertainment options. The track also hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, including concerts, food and wine tastings, and family-friendly activities.
Churchill Downs (Kentucky)
Churchill Downs is a thoroughbred racetrack located in Louisville, Kentucky, and it is one of the most famous and historic horse racing tracks in the United States. The track is best known as the home of the Kentucky Derby, which is the first leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing and one of the most prestigious horse races in the world.
Churchill Downs was originally opened in 1875, and it has a long and storied history in horse racing. In addition to the Kentucky Derby, the track hosts a variety of other important races, including the Kentucky Oaks, the Stephen Foster Handicap, and the Clark Handicap. The track has also been the site of numerous world records and historic moments in horse racing.
Churchill Downs’ grandstand features seating for more than 170,000 spectators.
In 2023, Churchill Downs CEO Bill Carstanjen revealed the racetrack would be partnering with FanDuel to bring online sports betting, including wagers on horse racing, to Kentucky.
Gulfstream Park (Florida)
Gulfstream Park is a thoroughbred racetrack located in Hallandale Beach, Florida. It is one of the most popular and prestigious horse racing tracks in the United States, known for its beautiful facilities, year-round racing program, and its role as the host of several important horse races.
Gulfstream Park was originally opened in 1939 and has since undergone several renovations and upgrades. The track features a modern grandstand with seating for over 16,000 spectators, as well as a casino, restaurants, and other entertainment options. The track is also home to the Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino, which features slot machines, table games, and other gaming options.
In addition to its year-round racing program, Gulfstream Park hosts several important races throughout the year, including the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, the Florida Derby, and the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. The track is also a popular location for simulcast wagering, allowing fans and bettors to watch and wager on races from around the world.