Ready to Bet? Learn How
Check out our racing program if you are ready to start betting or keep reading and learn about horse racing
Featured event: Kentucky Derby
Top Kentucky Derby Racebooks
Bettings Odds Explained
What are betting odds?
Betting odds refer to the probability of a horse winning a race. Before each race, expert oddsmakers at the leading sportsbooks will assess the strengths and weaknesses of each horse. They will determine which horse is the strongest and deem it the favorite. The odds will grow progressively longer on each horse until you reach the rank outsider. The idea is that the favorite is the most likely to win the race. If you bet $10 on a horse at 2/1 and it wins the race, you will make a $20 profit. If you bet $10 on a horse at 100/1 and it wins the race, you will make a $1,000 profit because it would be considered an unlikely event.
How do I read the odds?
Most horse racing sites quote odds in fractional formats, such as 2/1, 7/2, and 8/1. The number to the left tells you how much you will win if you stake the number on the right. For example, odds of 2/1 tell you that for every $1 you wager, you will earn a $2 profit. If you wager $5 at odds of 2/1 and win, you will earn a $10 profit. If you wager $10 at 2/1, you earn $20. If you see 5/2, it means you will win $5 for every $2 you wager.
Why are odds sometimes presented in a different format?
Odds can be rendered in decimal format or American format. The odds of 10/11 become 1.91 in decimal format and -110 in American, while 2/1 becomes 3.00 in decimal and +200 in the American style. However, the vast majority of racebooks present odds in fractional format, so that should be your focus, but in case you ever needed it, here is our odds converter.
How to Pick a Horse
What should I consider when picking a horse?
When you click on a horse race you are interested in; you will be presented with a race card. It will tell you the name and saddlecloth number of each horse, plus the stall it has drawn. You will see its gender, age, the name of its trainer, its jockey, its rating, its weight, and the latest horse racing odds. If you click on a horse, you will be informed of when it last ran and its finishing position in its last six races. This is known as the horse’s form.
What other details do I need to know?
You will also be given the race details when looking at the race card. This section will tell you the type of race it is, the ground condition, the weather, the number of runners, the distance, and any restrictions on entry, such as gender or age. It will also inform you of the prize money on offer. That can be a good way of gauging how big a race it is.
What are the most important parts of a race card?
The rating of each horse is essential, but that cannot be the only factor you consider when looking at today’s odds and early racing odds. You should also examine the weight and the form of each runner. It is vital to check out the distance of the race and the condition of the turf. Then you should look at the horses running in the race and try to identify which horses have performed well over a similar distance and in similar conditions. Some bettors also like to follow trainers and jockeys on a roll.
Should I always bet on the favorite?
The favorite is generally the horse in the best form, but that does not mean it will win. If the favorite won every race, betting would be easy. However, the favorites often lose, so you need to identify the horses that deserve their status as the favorite and oppose those that do not merit such an exalted station. Try to determine which favorites look invincible and which favorites look vulnerable. Analyze the form and race details before making this decision.
Why should I consider betting on a long shot?
Long shots sometimes defy their underdog status and romp to victory. They may have been unlucky in the past, and then suddenly, everything clicks into place at the right time. An underdog could have overcome an injury, or it could be a young horse on an upward curve. You will earn a much higher potential payout by betting on long shots, so you do not need as many of them to win to generate an overall profit. You can also look at bets like place and show on long shots, which are explained below, but the key takeaway is that you should never write off an underdog based on its odds. Check out its form and ask yourself if it can improve on recent performances.
Horse Racing Bets Explained
What betting options are available to me?
You have several different betting options at your disposal when you decide to place a wager on a horse race. They include win, place, show, across the board, exacta, trifecta, and superfecta. You can also roll multiple selections into a single bet, such as a daily double, Pick 3, Pick 4 or Pick 6. Read on for an explanation of the most popular types of horse racing bets.
What is a “to win bet”?
This is a straightforward prediction on which horse will win a particular race. You choose the horse you think will win, choose your stake, and enjoy the thrill of cheering on your selection. If the horse wins the race, you will earn a profit and get your stake back. If the horse fails to win the race, you will lose your stake. For example, if you bet $10 on a horse to win at odds of 3/1 and it finishes first, you will earn a $30 profit and get your $10 stake back, resulting in a return of $40. If it does not finish first, you lose the $10 you laid down.
What is a “place bet”?
Your chosen horse must finish either first or second for this bet to payout. The amount you win is the same regardless of whether it wins the race or finishes second. It just needs to finish in the top two to earn you a profit. However, that profit will be smaller than you would make by betting on the horse to win the race.
What is an across the board bet?
This is essentially three bets – one on the win, one on the place, and one on the show. If you wager a total of $60, it would mean betting $20 on the win, $20 on the place, and $20 on the show if the horse wins the race, all three payout. If the horse finishes second, the place and the show will payout. If it finishes third, just the show will payout. If you think a horse will win a particular race, this is a great betting option, but you are worried about a couple of dangerous rivals that might scupper its chances. If you pick a horse with large enough odds, you will profit even if it only finishes third.
When should I consider a place or show bet?
In general, it pays to go for a place or a show bet when the racing odds on the horse are reasonably large. You would be advised to go for a straightforward win bet on a heavy favorite, but a place or a show bet could be a great option if you think an outsider has a chance of causing an upset. Check out today’s horse racing odds and the early horse racing prices on future races to find some suitable selections.
What is an exacta?
This requires you to choose the horse that will win the race and the one that will finish second. Each must finish first and second in that exact order for your bet to payout. It is much harder to predict the winner and the runner-up of a race than simply predicting the winner. However, if you can pull it off, you will be rewarded with a much higher payout.
What is a quinella?
A quinella requires you to pick two horses, and they can finish first and second in any order. It is essentially two bets rolled into one: Horse A to beat Horse B and Horse B to beat Horse A. Your payout on a quinella will be smaller than an exacta, but it will be larger than if you bet on the winner of the race.
What is a trifecta?
A trifecta requires you to pick the horse that will win the race, the horse that will finish second, and the horse that will finish third. They must finish first, second and third in that exact order. This is even harder to predict than an exacta, but you will be rewarded with an even greater payout if you can achieve it.
What is a superfecta?
If you want to go even further, you can opt for a superfecta, which involves predicting the winner, runner-up, third-placed, and fourth-placed horse in the correct order. That is extremely hard to achieve, but the rewards are immense if you get it right.
What multiples are available?
You can roll multiple selections into a single bet if you want to gain a more significant payout. Let’s say you believe a horse called Titus will win Race 1 at Aqueduct, and a horse called Jolie will win Race 2. You might have $20 to bet with. You could divide your bankroll in two and bet $10 on each of them to win their races. Alternatively, you could combine them into one bet, known as a Daily Double. Both horses must win their races for your bet to pay off – if one wins, but the other lets you down, your bet crashes and burns – but if you can pull it off, your profit will be far larger than if you had bet on the horses individually.
What other multiples can I bet on?
An alternative would be to pick three winners in a row. This is known as a Pick 3. All three selections must pay off for your bet to be a winner. If two win, but one lets you down, your bet is a loser. However, if all three horses win, you will earn a considerably higher payout. Many bettors like to combine a few favorites in a Pick 3, but your profit will be even greater if you choose three horses with longer odds, and they all win. If you feel bold, you can go for a Pick Four or a Pick Six.
How To Place a Bet
How do I find a trustworthy betting site with a strong racebook?
Several scam sites and shady operators will be glad to accept your money and then do everything to wriggle out of paying you the winnings you earn. Fortunately, we have reviewed more than 1,000 sports betting sites and separated the trustworthy betting sites from their untrustworthy counterparts. All of the sportsbooks with A+ or A ratings on our list of the best sportsbooks will treat you fairly, keep your personal and financial details safe and pay you out promptly. Most of them have strong racebooks. You can check out individual reviews to find the site you like the most.
How do I place a horse racing bet online?
All of our top sportsbooks are well designed, user-friendly, and easy to navigate. Most have a specific racebook section, which you can find by clicking on a menu option at the top of the home page. You can check out today’s horse racing odds, tomorrow’s racing odds, and future horse racing odds from a range of venues across the world, along with horse racing results. Once you find a race you like and identify a horse you want to bet on, click on the odds displayed next to it. This will trigger a bet slip.
How do I fill out an online bet slip?
Once you have triggered a bet slip, you can enter the amount you wish to stake and the type of bet you want to place. It will inform you of the potential payout you stand to earn. Click on “Place Bet” and enjoy the race. You can add multiple selections to the bet slip by simply clicking on the odds next to different horses. If you click on horses from the same race, the bet slip should provide you with options such as exacta and trifecta. If you click on horses running in different races, it will give you choices such as a double or Pick 3. Then wait for horse racing results today and hope your predictions pay off.
An Introduction to Horse Racing
How often can I find horse racing?
You can bet on horse racing every single day of the year. There are usually several different race meetings across the USA, the UK, and other countries daily. You might expect to see seven or more races at a particular racetrack on a given day. Due to the time difference, action is often taking place somewhere in the world. However, it is not advisable to bet on every single race. It would be best to give yourself enough time to study each runner’s form that you want to bet on, so try to limit yourself to key races that interest you.
What are the most important races of the year?
The biggest race of the year in the US is the Kentucky Derby. It is the first leg of the Triple Crown, along with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. There is also a great deal of interest in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the richest race in America. On a global basis, the world’s most valuable races include the Dubai World Cup, the Saudi Cup, the Japan Cup, The Everest, the Melbourne Cup, and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Flat racing fans also enjoy the Epsom Derby in the UK, while the Grand National at Aintree is typically the most famous race in the world among viewers.
How much should I bet on horse racing?
Gambling on horse racing should be fun, and it is excellent when you make a profit, but you cannot rely upon it. You should set aside an amount of money that you can afford to lose without affecting your ability to pay your rent, bills, and household staples. This is called your bankroll. Never bet with money you cannot afford, and try not to gamble while drunk, depressed, or chasing a loss.
How can I manage my bankroll?
Some horse racing bettors like to bet a certain amount of their bankroll on a particular race. It is often 1%. If you start winning, you can increase your stake to 2% of your bankroll and so on. If you are struggling to pick winners, you might consider decreasing it to 0.5% of your bankroll for a period. Practicing sensible bankroll management is key to enjoying horse racing as a long-term wagering pursuit.