How to Bet on Horse Racing
How to Bet on Horse Racing
Have you ever bet on a horse before? Do you want to know how to bet on horse racing? Read on to learn how to do it the right way.
Keyword(s): how to bet on horse racing
Everybody loves an underdog. Or maybe an underhorse?
The 2022 Kentucky Derby drew nearly 150,000 spectators to Churchill Downs, and an additional 14 million watched the event on live TV. Then 36 million more people watched the replay of the astounding finish.
At 81-1 odds, Rich Strike came from behind and pulled off a stunning win. Bettors who wagered $2.00 on that horse to win walked away with $163.00. That’s not a bad payout.
But there’s a lot more to betting on horse racing than meets the eye.
If you’ve wondered how to bet on horse racing, keep reading to learn more about the sport. Maybe you can get as lucky as those who gambled on the long shot, Rich Strike.
A Brief Overview of Horse Racing and Betting
Speed competitions for horses have likely been around since the beginning of horsemanship. However, the first known horse race for prize money occurred in the 10th century. By the 15th century, organized horse races began in England and France.
Horse racing in the United States began soon after the British arrived with their steeds in the mid-1600s.
Widespread betting began in the late 1800s. The betting rules quickly shifted to a pari-mutuel betting method. Winning bettors take home a portion of the total dollar amount bet on a race, minus a fee for management.
In the 20th century, off-track betting parlors allowed gamblers to wager at racetracks worldwide. Today, betting at the racetrack is very popular, but many horse racing enthusiasts place their bets online.
The Pari-Mutuel Betting System Explained
Pari-mutuel betting is only used for specific sports, primarily horse racing and greyhound racing. Unlike betting on an event with fixed odds, the odds in pari-mutuel betting constantly change until betting is closed, usually a few minutes before the race begins.
When you bet on horse racing, you’re not playing against the house like you would in casino gaming. You’re betting on the choices made or not made by other gamblers. The number of bets a particular horse receives before the race determines the payout.
Therefore, when betting on horse racing, the odds don’t strictly mean one particular horse will win. It means more people think the horse will win and bet accordingly.
Understanding Odds and Picks
Learning the odds in horse racing can be a bit confusing. For instance, when you see a horse in an upcoming race has 2 to 1 odds and is the favorite to win, this information comes from two sources.
2 to 1 odds means if you bet $1 on this horse and it wins, you’ll receive $2. The 2 to 1 factor is calculated by how many people have bet on this horse. Since most bettors have wagered on this horse, if it wins, the payout is a more substantial sum distributed to a larger pool of people.
But how did this horse become the favorite and receive so many bets? Now we’ll learn where the picks come in.
People spend their entire lives focused on horse racing. For some, it’s their job.
Handicappers know the history of every horse in a race. A handicapper is familiar with the horses’ pedigrees and their racing careers. They also know how fast the horses run in their workouts, how much rest they get, and how much they eat.
The horse’s trainer and jockey are also essential factors in predicting the outcome of a race.
The handicapper takes all of this information and picks which horse they think will win. Websites like The Daily Racing Form publish the handicapper’s picks. The bettors study the date and then place their wagers.
And, as we know, once wagering starts, the odds begin to calculate.
How to Bet on Horse Racing
Choosing a single horse to win each race is one way to wager, but you need to be more strategic for maximum payouts. Most seasoned bettors wager on more than one horse per race or more than one finishing place per race.
The most common bets are win, place, and show. In this scenario, you bet on horse A to win (win), come in second (win and place), or third (win, place and show). If you bet to win, horse A must finish first. If you bet to place, horse A must come in first or second. If you bet to win, place and show, Horse A must finish in the top three.
Exotic bets go a little further. To win an exacta bet, you must pick the horses that finish first and second, in that order. A trifecta bet means you picked the first, second and third-place horses in the correct order.
A quinella bet gives you some leeway. You pick the top two horses and if both finish in first or second place, you win.
A daily double can also offer a high payout. To win you must pick the winning horses in two consecutive races. You can take this further with a pick 3, a pick 4, etc.
The superfecta is the most challenging bet to win in horseracing. You must correctly pick the order of the top four horses in a race. Since each horse runs with its own odds, you can expect a sizable payout if you make this bet successfully.
This is when the data from the Daily Racing Form comes in handy. If you trust the data and the handicapper’s judgment you can leverage that information into winning bets.
Are You Feeling Lucky?
Learning how to bet on horse racing takes skill, intuition and luck. The easiest way to get started is to test your skills with smaller bets and work your way up.
Set up an account with us today and start betting on The Sport of Kings. You could be as lucky as those who bet on Rich Strike in the Kentucky Derby.