Author: Steve Ashwell
Last Updated: October 11, 2023

How to bet on Horse Racing: The basics

How to bet on Horse Racing: The basics

Horse racing is an exciting sport enjoyed by millions of people around the world, and betting on horse racing is just as exciting. Whether you are a seasoned punter or a beginner, learning how to bet on horse racing is essential in order to maximise your chances of winning. This guide will cover the basics of horse racing betting, the different types of bets, the odds and the basic betting tools you will need. So, let’s dive in and begin your horse racing betting journey.

Horse racing betting explained

Betting on horse racing is essentially predicting the outcome of a race and wagering money on your prediction. There are numerous types of horse racing bets you can place, each with varying degrees of complexity and odds. It’s essential to understand how different bets work, the odds associated with each type, and how to choose the best bet for you.

What are the different types of horse racing bets?

There are two primary categories of horse racing bets: straight bets and exotic wagers. Straight bets are straightforward, involving only one horse, while exotic wagers allow you to bet on multiple horses in a single race or across multiple races. Let’s break them down:

Straight Bets:

  • Win: You bet on a single horse to win the race.
  • Place: You bet on a horse to finish first or second.
  • Show: You bet on a horse to finish in the top three.

Exotic Wagers:

  • Exacta: You bet on two horses to finish first and second in the exact order.
  • Trifecta: You bet on three horses to finish first, second, and third in the exact order.
  • Superfecta: You bet on four horses to finish first, second, third, and fourth in the exact order.
  • Daily Double: You bet on the winners of two consecutive races.
  • Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, and Pick 6: You bet on the winners of multiple consecutive races, usually between 3 and 6.

Horse racing betting odds

Odds represent the probability of a horse winning a race, and they determine the amount of money you could potentially win if your bet is successful. There are three main types of odds: fractional (used primarily in the UK), decimal (used across Europe and Australia), and moneyline (used in the United States).

Starting prices (SP) at horse racing bets

The starting price (SP) refers to the odds of a horse at the time the race begins. It’s determined by the on-course bookmakers and represents the most common price offered across all bookies. The starting price is crucial as it ultimately determines the payout if your bet is successful.

Types of horse racing wagers (and your chances of winning)

When betting on horse racing, it’s crucial to understand the different types of wagers and how they impact your chances of winning. Below is a table comparing the main types of horse racing bets and their odds:

Bet TypeChances of WinningPotential Payout
WinLowHigh
PlaceMediumMedium
ShowHighLow
ExactaLowHigh
TrifectaVery LowVery High
SuperfectaExtremely LowExtremely High
Daily DoubleLowHigh
Pick 3, 4, 5, 6Very LowVery High

Online horse racing betting has exploded in popularity, and some of the most popular online bets include win, place, and show bets, as well as exactas and trifectas. These bets are favoured by punters due to their simplicity and potential for significant returns. Additionally, many online betting platforms offer promotions and bonuses to entice new bettors, making it an attractive option for those looking to try their hand at horse racing betting.

Horse racing betting terms

As you venture into the world of horse racing betting, it’s essential to familiarise yourself with some common terms. Here are a few essential horse racing betting terms to know:

  1. Across the board: A bet on a single horse to win, place, and show.
  2. Dead heat: When two or more horses finish the race in a tie.
  3. Furlong: A unit of measurement in horse racing, equal to 1/8 of a mile or 201.168 meters.
  4. Handicap race: A race where horses carry different weights based on their ability, to level the playing field.
  5. Longshot: A horse with low odds of winning, but potentially high payouts if successful.
  6. Photo finish: A close race where the winner is determined by examining a photograph taken at the finish line.

What are fixed odds in horse race betting?

Fixed odds are betting odds that remain unchanged once you place your bet. This means that even if the odds change after you’ve placed your bet, you’re guaranteed the odds you initially agreed upon. Fixed odds offer certainty and can be particularly attractive when betting on longshots or horses with high odds.

Betting tools you need

To maximise your chances of success when betting on horse racing, it’s essential to have access to the right tools and information. Here are three essential betting tools every punter should consider:

Racetrack program: A printed guide available at most racetracks, providing information about the horses, trainers, jockeys, and other race-related details.

The Daily Racing Form (DRF): A daily publication containing detailed information about the horses, past performances, and expert handicapping advice.

Public handicapper selections: Tips and picks from professional handicappers, often published in newspapers or online platforms.

Place your bet

Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the basics of horse racing betting, different types of bets, odds, and essential betting tools, you’re ready to place your bet. You can do this at a racetrack, a betting shop, or online through a reputable betting platform. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set a budget before betting.

In summary, learning how to bet on horse racing involves understanding the different types of bets, odds, and the tools needed to make informed decisions. With this guide as a starting point, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a skilled horse racing bettor. So, grab your race card, study the form, and best of luck with your bets!

Steve Ashwell

Hi, welcome to our website! My name is Steve Ashwell; I run these expert pages for UK gamblers. Here you find everything for A-quality pastime at the Best Non Gamstop Casinos.

I’m 37 years old British and work as a digital specialist. I spend a lot of time making things work. My job is partly about engineering and evaluation stuff. Also, I love gambling.

That’s why my team and I made that site. Here we collect all the knowledge about that industry, our experience and our learnings.

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