Wagering on Horse Races

Horse racing, also called the Sport of Kings, has for centuries maintained a status as a pastime for the wealthy and elite. Times have changed, however, and today millions of people enjoy horse racing on TV, at live tracks and even on the internet around the world.

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An Industry Alive and Well

Wherever you find horse races, you’re also sure to find people wagering on those horses. Horse racing is one of the few sports in the world that has always been closely related to gambling. Other sports look down upon it but horse racing accepts it as a part of life. In fact, gambling on horses keeps the entire racing industry alive and well, and said to have been a savior for an industry that has struggled to keep up with modern times.

Placing bets on horses is also sometimes called pari-mutuel wagering because all the bets are placed together in a pool, the horse track taxes its commission out of that pool and then they are paid out at the end of the match. This differs than other types of sports where payoff odds aren’t officially calculated until all the winning bets have been determined.

Even though the payoff odds aren’t calculated until after the match, you will often still see odds listed before hand in the racebook. These odds are just approximations based on what the bookmaker believes the payoff odds will be. That’s also why the odds change as upcoming races approach and it also should be noted that lines change from place to place as well.

Skill or Luck?

For some people, wagering on horses is no different than gambling at a casino. They pick a horse that looks good, place their wagers and then hope for the best. For these people, you could consider it more of luck if they win since they just want to add a little excitement to the sport which there’s nothing wrong with that.

On the other hand, skill has a major impact on your overall success. The more skilled you are at knowing the horses, the racetracks, jockies, etc., the more money you should be able to make. People who take it seriously cannot be called gamblers any more than stock traders can be called gamblers.

How to Get Started

Getting stared is easy. The first thing you need to do is find online horse racing betting sites that you trust, which we listed above. This is the most difficult part of the process but luckily, we’ve done most of the work for you and have already identified and reviewed the biggest and most trusted bookmakers on the internet.

Once you find a trustworthy site you like, the next step is to sign up for an account and make a deposit. Most have deposit bonuses that match your first deposit there on a percentage basis. For example, if you sign up at a site that has a 10% bonus and you deposit $100, the betting site would add an extra $10 to your deposit absolutely free.

After you have your account set up and funded, the final step is to pick a horse and bet on it. You’ll see a list of upcoming races when you logged in, and just choose your horse and how much you wish to wager.

If you have the right channel, you can then watch your horse race live on TV. Many racebooks on the internet also offer free streaming video of these horse races. The streaming option comes in handy because horse races are often shown on channels that most people don’t already have.

Different Types of Wagers You Can Place

There’s more to horse racing than just picking the winner. If you’ve ever been to the horse track you probably already know what I’m talking about. There are more than a dozen different types of horse wagers and those can be arranged in an almost limitless number of combinations.

Straight Bets

Straight bets are the simplest of them all. They are easy to understand and the odds of winning are typically higher than with exotic bets. Of course, that also means that exotics offer higher payouts.

Win – You simply pick a horse and win if that horse takes 1st place in the race.

Place – You pick a horse and win if that horse finishes in 1st or 2nd place.

Show – You pick a horse and win if that horse finishes in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. It doesn’t matter which place the horse finishes as long as it’s one of the top three finishers.

Exotics

Exotic bets are a little more complicated than straight wagers. These include multiple horses and sometimes even multiple races. Exotics are difficult to win but the payoffs are much larger than for straight bets.

Across the Board – This is similar to the show bet but it’s not the same. In an across the board wager, you win if your horse finishes 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. The difference is that in this bet, you are essentially placing a Win, Place and Show bet on one horse. This means that if your horse finishes first, you collect on all three bets. If your horse finishes second, you only collect on the Place and Show. If your horse finishes third, you only collect on the Show.

Exactasor “Perfecta” – You pick two horses to finish in 1st and 2nd place in the correct order.

Quinellas – You pick two horses to finish in 1st and 2nd place but the order in which they finish doesn’t matter.

Exacta Box – This is similar to a Quinella in that you pick two horses to finish 1st and 2nd place and the order doesn’t matter. Not all horse tracks offer Quinellas so this bet is created by choosing both possible combinations of Exactas.

Box bets are routinely used in combination with Exactas, Trifectas and Superfectas so that bettors can bet on the top horses without having to guess the exact order. A box bet places a wager on every possible combination of finishing places. For example, a Trifecta Box would be made up of 6 bets in one because there are six different combinations of places that 3 horses can finish in.

Box Bets – are easier to win but they also cost more. In the case of an Exacta Box, the cost is twice as much as a normal Exacta bet.

Trifectas – You pick three horses to finish in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the correct order.

Trifecta Box – You pick three horses to finish in the top three places but it doesn’t matter in which order they do so.

Superfectas – You pick four horses to finish in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place in the correct order.

Superfecta Box – You pick four horses to finish in the top four places but it doesn’t matter in which order they do so.

Any 2 – You pick two horses and win if both of those horses finish in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. The order in which they do so does not matter.

Daily Doubles – This is a bet that spans across two races in one day. You pick one horse in each race and win only if both horses take 1st place.

Pick 3′s – This is similar to a double except you are picking three horses. You win only if all three horses take 1st place.

Pick 4‘s – You choose four horses from four different races and win only if all four horses take 1st place.

Pick 6‘s – You choose six horses from six different races and win only if all six horses take 1st place.

Parlays – an odd horse racing wager.