People all across the globe love nothing better than to watch horses hurtling around the racetrack, nose to nose as they fight for supremacy. However, if you are new to the sport, then it might all seem a bit confusing. That’s why we are here, to help you understand how to bet on horses. In this horse betting guide, we’ll look through all the different bet types, how it works, the different terms you need to know – and how to be in with the best chance of winning so that you can get your horse race betting off to the very best start!

How to Bet on Horse Races

How to Bet on Horse Races

When choosing your horse, it’s simple – you need to decide whether you want to bet on the favorite for less money but more chance of winning or, bet on the underdog for more money but less chance of winning.
Whatever you bet on, even if it’s the favorite, you could still lose. You simply need to decide what your risk tolerance is. The more you are prepared to risk, the more you could end up winning. The risk you take also depends on what type of horse racing bet you make, which we will look at next…




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Types of Horse Racing Bets

As with any type of sports gambling – football, basketball or hockey- there are different bet types available when betting on horses. You can choose which type of bet suits you the most, assess how risky they are, how confident you are and whether the risk is worth the reward. Here are the main types of horse race bets:

Win Bets

A Win bet is the most popular type of horse race betting. Punters simply choose the horse they think will finish first in the race. This type of bet is commonly known as ‘on the nose’. Following the selected runner throughout the race is all that is required. Once the horse has won, it’s time to celebrate! The minimum bet is usually $1, but this may vary depending on the betting agency. Maximum bets are also determined by the wagering operator.

To Place Bet

Place betting is a popular type of bet. It requires the punter to pick a runner to finish in the top 3. This bet is easier than Win betting and can even be used to hedge your win bets. To place a bet, select a horse to finish in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. There must be more than 8 horses in the race to have a 3rd place dividend. Place betting pays less than win betting and typically offers about 1/4 of the odds of win betting.

A Show Bet

The show bet is similar to the place bet, but covers three positions instead of two. This bet requires you to choose a horse you think will finish in the top three of a race. You win if your horse comes in first, second or third, but lose if they come in fourth or lower. Show bets need at least eight runners in a race and typically pay less than place bets.

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An Across the Board Bet

An across-the-board bet combines a win, place, and show bet into a single selection. It’s like having three bets in one. To cover all three selections with a $2 bet, you must pay a total of $6. If your horse wins the race, you’ll receive payouts on all three bets. If your horse finishes second, you’ll get payouts on the place and show bets. If your horse finishes third, you’ll receive a payout only on the show bet. If your horse finishes fourth or worse, you’ll lose your entire bet.

Exacta Horse Bet

To place this bet, you must pick two horses from the same race to finish in the top two spots. But that’s not all – you also need to correctly predict the order in which they will finish to cash out. This type of bet is much more challenging than a win bet, hence why the payout is much higher.

Exacta Horse Bet

Trifecta Bet

Punters love trifectas, which require them to choose the first three horses to cross the finish line in order. A boxed trifecta, on the other hand, allows the horses to finish in any order but comes at a higher cost. Despite this, trifectas have a high payout rate for a small investment, making them very popular amongst bettors. For a boxed trifecta of three horses, it will cost $6 for a 100% dividend since there are six possible winning combinations taking this approach.

Superfecta Bet

Superfecta is a challenging exotic bet in horse racing. You have to select four horses to finish in exact order from a single racing event. This bet is more difficult than trifecta. If any horse among your selection doesn’t make it to the top four or if one of your horses finishes in the wrong position, you lose the bet.

Hi-5 Bets

The Jackpot Hi-5 is a type of bet in which the bettor must choose the top 5 finishers in a race in the correct order, with a twist. If only one winning ticket exists, there is a guarantee plus a jackpot carryover that will pay out. If multiple winning tickets exist, 50% of the guarantee will be paid as a consolation, and the rest will be added to the carryover. If there are no winners, the guarantee will be added to the carryover for the next available guarantee. This guarantee is offered in the last race of every Woodbine Thoroughbred and Standardbred card of racing. The carryover will continue to grow until a single ticket wins.

Daily Double

Daily Doubles require you to predict the winner of two races at the same meeting. The TAB selects these races, often including the feature race of the event. These races are typically the third last and final ones. Some argue that Daily Doubles are superior to running doubles due to the larger pool-size, enhanced by the inclusion of the feature race, and the fact that they are only per meeting, rather than across the whole program.

Pick 3, 4, 5, and 6

Exotic bets work like the daily double bet. They require more racing events to win. Pick 3 exotic bet that needs you to choose the winning horse from three consecutive racing events. Pick 4 requires four consecutive events, and pick 6 requires six consecutive events.

Horse Racing Betting Glossary

When understanding how to bet on horse racing, you need to know all the terminology:

  • Abandoned: A race meet that has been cancelled. All bets will be fully refundable.
  • Accumulator/Parlay: Multiplier bets placed into one big bet. In order to win, all selections (legs) must win.
  • Across the Board: Type of bet (as mentioned previously)
  • Also Ran: A horse that didn’t place in the top 4
  • Ante-Post: A bet that is placed before the event starts
  • Apprentice: Trainee jockey
  • Arbitrage: Where a specific variation in betting odds allows you to bet on all outcomes and guarantee a small payout.
  • The Barrier Draw: The ballot held before the race to decide where each horse will start.
  • Box bet: All possible combinations of the horse bets are covered.
  • Breeders’ Cup: The end-of-year championship consisting of 8 races with combined purses and prizes totalling around $13 million.
  • Buck: A $100 wager
  • Daily Double: Type of bet – see above
  • Dead Heat: Where 2 or more horses finish first
  • Derby: A stakes race or event only for 3-year-olds
  • Dime Bet: $1000 bet
  • Dog: The underdog in a race
  • Dog Player: Someone who mainly bets on the underdog
  • Drift: When odds get higher or lower
  • Even money bet: A +100 bet that wins $100 for making a $100 wager
  • Exacta bet: Type of bet – see above
  • Exotic: A bet other than a win, place or show bet
  • Exposure: How much money you could lose on the race
  • False Favorite: The horse considered favorite even when there are better runners
  • Favorite: The horse that is considered most likely to win
  • Field: All of the runners in the race
  • Flat Race: Run on a flat track (as opposed to a hurdle race or steeplechase)
  • Form: The previous performance of a horse.
  • Furlong: 220 yards, ⅛ mile or 660 ft
  • Graduate: First-time winner
  • Handicap: A race which has weights assigned to be carried to make it more equal
  • Head: The margin between two horses – one leading another by the length of a head.
  • Hedge: Covering one bet with another bet
  • Juice/Vig: The sportsbook commission
  • Lock: An easy winner
  • Long Odds: Odds of more than +1000
  • Maiden: A horse that has never won
  • Meeting: A number of races held on the same day
  • Nose: The smallest advantage by which a horse can win
  • Odds: The price given by a bookmaker on an event happening
  • Outlay: A bettor’s stake
  • Outsider: A horse that is unlikely to win
  • Parlay: See Accumulator
  • Pick 3 (4, 5 or 6): Bet type – see above.
  • Place: To finish in the top 1, 2, 3 (or 4) positions
  • The price: The odds
  • Racecard: The day’s racing schedule
  • Runner: A horse participating in the race
  • Short Price: Low odds
  • Steeplechase: A race with hurdles and ditches
  • Track Condition: The condition of a racetrack’s surface: Fast or slow, muddy, good, frozen etc
  • Track Record: The fastest time on a course
  • Triple Crown: The three main US races: The Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
  • Value: Getting good odds for a bet

The Best Horse Racing Betting Tips: Horse Racing Betting Strategy

So, what are the best horse racing betting tips we can give you? Well, no matter what horses are racing and what races there are, certain horse betting strategies apply to all.

Horse Betting Trends

Betting on horses is very much about knowing the records of the trainers, jockeys and horses in the race. You need to look at:

  • The weight range of the horse that usually wins the race
  • The most common age of winners
  • The form of the horses
  • The favorite courses of the riders and trainers

Knowing this information may help you pick a winner. Understanding the importance of weight in a race and how age can affect its performance is essential. Go into the race understanding as many trends as you can and this may help you to pick out a potential winner.

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Weather Forecast and Track Conditions

As horse racing is an outdoor sport, knowing the weather conditions and potential track conditions is essential. Rain can mean muddy conditions, a long period of sun can mean hard and dry conditions. Different horses prefer different tracks and weather conditions.

  • Muddy Conditions: Can slow the horses down
  • Dry/Hard Conditions: Little give which can hurt the joints.

Use Different Sportsbooks

You can now find horse betting at all different sportsbooks. Register at a few and you will access more bet types, be able to choose the best odds and you will have access to more horse racing bonuses and promotions! For example, one sportsbook might have excellent odds for the favorite horse, but the rest are poorly priced. If you shop around, you will get the best value odds for your bet.

Bankroll Management

You need to make sure you manage your bankroll. Have a set budget for your bets and don’t go over it. You don’t need to bet on every race. Simply choose how much you want to bet per week or month and look for the best value bets. The best horse race bettors are selective. Check out our bankroll guide to understand more about how this can help your horse racing betting.

Bet With Your Head

Lots of people like to bet on the horse because they like its name. This isn’t going to be a winning strategy in the long term. Also, you should not just bet on the horse because it is the favorite. Do your research, look at the trends and the form of jockey and horse – and bet with your head, not your heart.

How to Bet on Horses and Win

So, now you know a little bit more about how to bet on horses online and are wanting to get started. Well, here are the simple steps you need to take to put this knowledge to the test and start winning big!

  1. Choose your preferred horse betting sportsbook: Look at our top sportsbooks and our top horse racing apps to find the best one for you.
  2. Create a new account: Click on register, enter your information and verify your account.
  3. Make your deposit: Pick your preferred banking option and make your first deposit.
  4. Claim your welcome bonus: This can get you off to a very valuable horse betting journey. Simply look at our list of the best bonuses out there.
  5. Look for your preferred wager and enter your stake
  6. Check everything through and when you are sure, place that bet!

If you want to place bets online, finding a reputable and reliable sports betting site is crucial. Look for a site that is licensed by a world-class regulatory body to ensure a safe and hassle-free experience. You’ll have access to trusted payment methods and competitive odds for horse racing events. Plus, you can expect superior customer support that’s available 24/7 to assist with any questions or requests.

To determine if an online sports betting site is worth your time and money, you need to evaluate certain aspects. We’ve compiled a list of factors to check before signing up for a new account. This will help you make an informed decision.

  • Banking options
  • License and regulation
  • User interface
  • Company reputation
  • Customer support quality
  • Betting options
  • Speed of withdrawals
  • Race coverage
  • Bonus offers and promotions

After examining all the factors, you can proceed to register a new account with the online sportsbook. Add your preferred payment method and make a deposit once the account is registered. When you have funds available, you can place bets on horse racing events.

Sports betting sites can have various differences such as layout, user interface, sports section, and betting slip. You can quickly familiarize yourself with the site within a few minutes and get to know how everything is situated. To bet on horse racing, find the list of available sports and select it.

When you go to the “Horse Racing” section of the site, you will find upcoming races from across the globe. Races from the United States, Ireland, United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, Dubai and more will be displayed. Once you have picked a horse racing event that you are interested in, you will learn about a range of bet types available.

To bet on a horse racing event, choose your preferred horse and the type of bet you want to place. Your selection will appear on a betting slip located on the right-hand side or bottom of the screen. The betting slip will display the total amount needed to complete your purchase.

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