How To Place Bets On Horse Races?

Horse racing betting guide

Betting on horse racing is a beloved pastime for many – the thrill of placing a wager, watching the actual race, and celebrating when it turns out you’ve chosen a winner. Not to mention the excitement of attending the races in person – an event worth dressing up for, and a day for everyone to enjoy.  

Of course, if you’re new to betting on horse racing, it can seem a little confusing – which are the best bets to place, and how do you go about making that choice? That’s why we’ve put together this simple guide to horse racing betting, to help you get the most from the entire racing experience.   

Horse racing betting – an overview 

The form of betting that legal horse racing betting takes is known as parimutuel betting – a system in which all those taking part place their bets into a pool, with the winners being paid out from this collective prize pool. With fans from more than 53 countries around the world taking part in horse racing betting and more than $100 billion spends on bets, it’s clear that it’s one of the most popular forms of betting around the world – while being a significant contributor to tax revenue as well.   

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Will you enjoy horse racing betting? 

There’s no doubt that horse racing betting is exciting, and with the races usually part of a larger event spanning a day or more, it can be a hugely entertaining experience as well. Even if you’re a complete novice, there’s still an adrenaline rush to choosing a horse, placing a bet, and cheering as it leaves the starting gate. Of course, the more knowledge you have about horse racing, the more chance you have of picking a winner, which is ultimately down to experience. Are you the type of person to enjoy horse racing betting? You’ll have to place a wager to find out!  

The basics of horse racing betting 

To get started with horse racing betting, you’ll first need to know the basics. It’s here where the terms ‘win’, ‘show’, and ‘place’ are important, as these are the types of bets you’ll be making. Let’s take a look at what each of them means:  

  1. Win – The simplest type of bet, a win involves choosing the winner of the race. To help you choose which horse you think will win, you’ll need to know about the various horses and jockeys, and study the information booklet you’ll receive at the event for more details on each race, and the horses and jockeys competing. Having this information to hand will give you the best chance of picking a winner.  
  2. Show – With a show bet, you’ll be choosing a horse to come in either first or second, giving you a better chance of a win. Again you’ll need the information booklet to help you – it’s up to you whether you make your bet based on the horse, or the jockey riding it.  
  3. Place – Finally, a place bet is one where you’ll be betting on a particular horse to come in either first, second or third. With even more options than a show or a win bet, this is often a popular choice for punters, giving them even more chances to win. Choose a place bet, and you’ll be able to place a higher wager as well, meaning a higher payout if the horse you’ve selected places at the end of the race.  

More horse racing betting options  

Once you’ve mastered the basics of win, show, and place, you can move onto other varieties of horse racing bets, such as: 

  1. Exacta  Here you’ll select the horses you think will come in first and second place in a particular race. You’ll need to predict this 100% accurately, so take your time to consider your choices, and study the information booklet carefully.  
  2. Quinella – Similar to the Exacta bet, the quinella bet involves you choosing the first two horses to finish the race – however this time they don’t need to be in the exact order. It’s still important that you study your information booklet carefully, however, as you’ll want to be as precise as possible.  
  3. Double – Finally with a double bet you’ll be betting on just one horse, but this time to win two consecutive races. This type of bet is usually for very experienced horse racing fans, as to place it, you’ll need to have in-depth knowledge of all the horses and their jockeys. 

Keeping the odds in mind     

In addition to the various horses and jockeys racing, you’ll also need to be aware of the odds available, as these will determine the winnings you’ll be paid out if your bet has a successful outcome. Check the live scoreboard at the races for updates on these, and the more familiar you become with understanding the odds, the more easily you’ll be able to choose your horses based on the amount you’ll be able to win. It does take time and practice however, so keep at it to give yourself the best chance of winning.  

Placing your bets 

When you’re new to horse racing, you might not want to risk huge amounts on your bets – and this is completely acceptable. Keep to small amounts while you’re still learning, then slowly increase the amounts as you become more comfortable with the format. Remember to never bet with more than you can afford to lose, and always keep your bankroll in mind.  

Above all, remember to have fun. Horse racing is a pastime that’s just as entertaining for those placing bets as it is for those there for the excitement, so keep the occasion in mind and don’t ever become so focused on the outcome that you lose your love for the sport altogether. It’s an occasion to be celebrated – and if you can make some money at the same time, so much the better!