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Horse Racing Betting 101 — How to Bet on Horse Racing for Beginners

If you love horse racing but never tried to place a bet on it, you have no idea what you’ve been missing. Horse racing is fun to watch, but it becomes even more fun when you place a wager on your favourite.

Apart from finding a good horse racing betting site, there are some things beginners should know to make their betting experience smooth and enjoyable. Keep reading this text to learn all the necessary tips and tricks!

Types of Bets

Before you start betting on horse racing, it is important to learn what type of bets you can place. For a start, you should know you can choose between straight and exotic wagers, but as a beginner, try using the simplest ones first.

Straight wagers allow you to bet exclusively on one horse, and for your first several betting slips, go for some of these:

  • Win — You’re betting that your favourite horse will arrive first and win the race.
  • Place — If you say your horse will place, you’re betting that it will win the race or arrive second. If your horse finishes first or second, you can collect the prize.
  • Show — This is kind of a security straight bet, as by placing it, you hope that your horse will end in first, second, or third place. Naturally, as your chances to win are higher here, the payout will be lower.
  • Across the board — If you want even more security, you can go for this bet where you are betting that your horse is going to win, place, or show. It is a bit more expensive as you cover all three positions — you basically bet a specific amount of money for each of the possible scenarios, and if the horse ends up winning the race, you get all the profit. However, if the horse finishes second or third, your profit decreases, which is why many horse betting experts do not recommend this bet.

Once you try out these a few times, you can move on with exotic wagers and bet on multiple horses on a single slip. However, don’t forget these are much harder to guess because all your predictions need to come true.

Placing a Bet

The process of placing a bet will become a piece of cake once you do it a couple of times. To place a bet quickly and easily, you must have specific information ready to act on:

  • The racetrack name and race number
  • The amount you’d like to wager
  • The bet type
  • The number of your horse

For example, you can bet $5 that a horse number 3 will win at Churchill Downs. However, before you place a bet, check if all the information is accurate and whether you’re betting on the right horse.

How to Choose a Winning Horse

While the mere process of placing a bet isn’t that difficult, choosing the right horse to bet on might be. Yet, there are still some tips and tricks you can use to learn what horse you should bet on. Let’s take a look at the most useful ones:

Do your homework — Before you start betting on horse racing, the first step is to learn all about them that might be useful for your betting endeavours. This is easily done by reading the race programs, as these often include history and statistics for all the horses participating in the respective race.

Check the surface — When it comes to horse racing betting, it can easily be compared to tennis. In other words, the surface on which the race takes place has a lot to do with picking the right horse. Some perform better on dirt while others dominate the artificial tracks. Therefore, first check the surface of the track, and then look for your champion.

Check the jockey — Sometimes it’s more important to find out more about the jockey than the horse itself. Some jockeys simply have the talent and always win one of the first three places, no matter the horse. So, after you do a full check-up on horses, find out the jockey's history as well.

Check the odds — Last but not least, always check the odds a bookie is offering. They can immediately let you know which horse is a favourite and which is an underdog, so you can easily form your slip according to that even though your knowledge regarding horse racing is still at a beginner level.

We wish you good luck in your horse racing betting attempts, and remember to always play responsibly!