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Horse Racing Betting Online Guide

Known as the sport of kings, horse racing has a long tradition that’s been around for hundreds of years. From races across the Arabian Desert to the modern-day racing tracks, horse racing betting has made many people with coin

It’s extremely popular all over the world with millions of dollars being bet on each day. Considering that betting on horses is the oldest form of gambling, it’s come a long way from having to visit the racetrack to place bets and watch races. With the advent of TV, and more specifically the internet, horse racing betting has become a lot easier.

There are hundreds of online betting sites, it can be difficult to know which one is the best for you. With, American bettors can rest easy knowing that the horse racing betting sites on offer are legitimate and have some of the best odds.

In our guide to horse racing betting, you’ll find the basics on horse racing bets, how to bet on horses, horse racing odds, and some basic tips.

Best US Horse Racing Betting Sites


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What you’ll find in this horse racing betting guide:

Bets in Horse Racing

The saying ‘simple is always better’ applies well to betting on horse races. The best bet you can place is the simplest one, the Win bet. There are also other bets you can stake your wager on. These split into three categories: basic or straight, exotic, and multi-race exotic.

Basic Bet

Under basic bets, there are three types – win, show, and place. As mentioned earlier, these are the easiest bets to place and are rewarding for beginners.

  1. Win: you’re placing a bet on who you think will win the race. This is the simplest bet as you only have to predict one outcome – whether your horse loses or not. Usually, the minimum bet is $2 but some sites offer it at an even lower value.
  2. Place: this is a bet on who you think will be in the top two – first and second position. Expect lower payouts on place bets as they have to be divided among a more outcomes – between the horse that wins the Win bet and the runner-up.
  3. Show: this is betting on a horse that you think will come either first, second, or third. If it come fourth and lower, it’s ‘off the board’ and you lose.

Exotic Bet

You’ll find five types of exotic bets in horse racing. Generally, these are placed on bets in a single race.

  1. Exacta: similar to a Place bet with the exception of having to correctly project which horse wins first place and runner-up.
  2. Hi-5: placing a hi-5 bet is about predicting which horses will finishing in the top five position. Because the number of outcomes you have to predict are so high, the odds are tougher but the payout is significantly higher.
  3. Superfecta: the Superfecta requires bettors to guess the four winning horses in the correct order. Because of the difficulty of this type of bet, the payout is very high.
  4. Trifecta: much like the Superfecta but in this instance you have to guess the three winning horses in their correct order.
  5. Quinella: finally, this bet is about predicting the top two horses in their correct order.
horses crossing the finish line at horse racing betting event

Multi-race Bet

Much like the exotic bets, there are also five different types of multi-race bets. Like the name states, these bets include more than one race on the ticket.

  1. Daily Double: bettors wager on which horse will win two races back-to-back.
  2. Pick 3: pick the winners of three consecutive races to win.
  3. With a Pick 4: guess the winner of four consecutive races.
  4. Pick 5: in this one you’ll have to pick the winners of five consecutive races.
  5. Pick 6: the final pick bet where you have to pick winners of six races back-to-back.

Horse Racing Betting Odds

horse running
Type of Bet Ease of Betting Explanation and Expectation Influencing
Show Very good Your horse must finish 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Modest payout
Place Good Your horse must finish 1st or 2nd Payout better than a Show bet
Win Average Your horse must finish 1st The payout depends on the horse’s odds of winning
Quinella Average Your horses must be in the top 2 in any order Payout depends on the horse’s odds of winning
Exacta Hard Your horses must finish in the top 2 in exact order The payout depends on the horse’s odds of winning
Trifecta Very hard Your horses must finish in the top 3 in exact order Payout depends on the horse’s odds of winning
Superfecta Extremely hard Your horses must finish in the top 4 hard to bet Bettors need a large bankroll; payout potential is large
Daily Double Hard Your horses must win the two consecutive races Bet on mid-level price horses for balance and there will be potential for a decent payout
Pick 3 Very hard Your horses must win three consecutive races Stick to the minimum bets for good payout potential
Pick 4 Extremely hard Your horses must win four consecutive races Need to have a large bankroll; large payout potential
Pick 6 Harder than Pick 4 Your horses must win six consecutive races Bettors need a large bankroll; payout potential is large

Calculating the payout odds of your horse racing bet requires just a bit of math. Multiply the odds of your horse with your minimum bet. Then, divide that number by the odds of the horse, add your minimum bet to that number = expected payout.

Read our guides on the most popular racetracks in America below:

Important US Horse Races

While there may be many races being run throughout the year, we’ll be looking at the four major American races in the horse racing and betting industry.

  • Kentucky Derby: the most well known of horse races in the US. It has a long horse racing betting history, with the first race being run in 1875 at Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky. Generally, it is run on the first Saturday of May every year. Also, it is the first race of the Triple Crown Series.
  • Preakness Stakes: held exactly two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, this horse race is run on the third Saturday of May annually. The first race took place in 1873 and it’s been run on the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland ever since.
  • Belmont Stakes: run three weeks after the Kentucky Derby at Belmont Park, New York. It’s the most gruelling of the three races of the Triple Crown series. Furthermore, it holds the title as the oldest horse race dating back to 1867.
  • Triple Crown Series: in the world of horse racing, this is considered the upper echelons of racing in US. To win the Triple Crown, one horse must win all the three races above in a that one year. It’s happened only a dozen times in the last 98 years.
  • Breeder’s Cup: held annually at different race tracks, it takes place over two days. Titled the World Championships of Thoroughbred Horse Racing, it features many categories. Currently, the total prize money for the Cup is nearly $30 million.

See our guides on important US horse races:

Top Horse Racing Tips

Entering the horse racing betting scene can be quite daunting, especially if you’re not sure about what you’re doing. However, if you follow the right horse racing platforms, read guides like ours, and keep checking on tips from expert horse racing bettors, you will be on the right path. The following three tips will help you make better bets.

  1. Firstly, watch the commentary on horse racing channels. You will pick up insights from experts on horses and the jockeys.
  2. Secondly, the top 10 jockeys always have 90 percent odds of winning races. Learn who they are.
  3. Finally, winning horses usually have a 33% edge.

See our guides on horse betting:

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