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Three Things To Consider When Betting on US Racing

Betting on horse racing in the US is a hugely enjoyable process and there are numerous North American tracks staging regular race-days. Although the Breeders Cup, Kentucky Derby and the Pegasus World Cup attract a fair amount of interest in the UK, there are hundreds of other top-quality meetings taking place at the likes of Santa Anita, Gulfstream Park and Belmont Park. If you're planning a stateside wager, here are three things that you'll need to know before finalising those all-important bets.

Pay Attention to the Surface

Races in the US and Canada tend to be held on one of three different surfaces: dirt, grass or artificial terrain (all-weather). Some tracks such as Golden Gate Fields and Woodbine will hold all non-turf events on the tapeta, and bettors should also pay attention to venues such as Turfway Park, who recently announced a switch of surface, as this is likely to have a significant impact on all previous course records. Just like in the UK, every horse will have its preferred conditions, and it's strongly advised to look for entrants who have proven form on the surface. Bettors may also want to study the breeding of each competitor, especially in maiden events. This will help establish whether they are closely related to any outstanding all-weather or turf performers.

If there are unsettled conditions in the region or there has been a recent downpour, tracks are highly likely to switch the action off the turf. Sites such as equibase will update these details throughout the course of the day so it's always worth keeping an eye on the weather forecast.

Don't Underestimate Grade-Droppers

When horses are entered into claiming races in the US, they come with a 'tag', which is essentially a value that has been set by the thoroughbred's owner. They can be valued anywhere between $3,200 and $100,000 with each track tending to host a handful of these contests each raceday. Occasionally owners will grossly overestimate the value of their charge and enter them for an obscenely high price tag. This is likely to result in them being priced up as an outsider in the betting. If they were soundly beaten in this particular event, they are likely to have their sites lowered next time out.

For example - a horse may have been exclusively running against rivals valued at $50,000. The following month, the owners decide to ease it in grade in order to give it chance of success. It now finds itself racing in a $15,000 contest.

It is coming significantly down in grade and that is something that should always be noted. It is a sign that the owner has relented and finally admitted that their thoroughbred isn't good enough to compete at the higher level. It is now likely to be running against much weaker rivals and should give a good account of itself in this lower grade.

Market Moves Can be Helpful

Although it doesn't necessarily pay to simply follow every single market move, it can be helpful to follow the money when it comes to wagering on US racing. North American horse racing betting markets are available at sites such as Betfair and you can track any seismic shifts in their odds throughout the course of the afternoon. If a debutante has been backed in from 11/4 to 7/4 in the space of a few minutes, this is an extremely good sign.

It is also advised to pay attention to strongly fancied runners who are: returning from an absence, switching surface, switching jockey, making their debut or representing a new stable for the first time. Market moves can also be helpful if weather conditions take a turn for the worse.

It may take a few weeks to fully acclimatise to wagering on US racing as they tend to use different terminology and have a mix of grades and entry conditions on each card. If you are also able to follow the market, spot grade-droppers as well as note any last-minute surface switches, then you'll soon get up to speed with all of the action in North America.


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