Horse Racing Betting Guide

Betting Guide for Horse Racing

The thrill of betting on horses is that returns are frequently 3/1 or higher which is a much greater return than sports betting.  Horse Race wagering can be divided into Future Book wagering or Live wagering. This is our Betting Guide in which you’ll find a variety of ways on how to bet on an individual race, the basic horse race bets, exotics and how pari-mutual works. Learn how to bet on horse racing!

Future Book Wagering

This allows players to wager on a race that will take place in the future.  While there are risks of your horse not running in the race the potential payouts can be huge. Medina Spirit went off at 12/1 to win the 2021 Kentucky Derby but if you had played him in the Kentucky Derby Future Book the odds were as high as 75/1 only two months prior to the race.  Future Book pools are used for many famous races but the biggest each year is the Kentucky Derby Pool.  This will frequently be opened (wagers accepted) in November and wagers can be made all the way to the first Saturday in May when the race is run. 

Horse Racing Odds will change based on their performances and the likelihood of them running in the Derby.  Each year there can be as many as 200 possible horse that plan to run in the Derby and odds will range from 5/1 to 250/1 on a given horse.  Entry into the Derby is based on points with a maximum of 20 horse so bettors are not just betting on who will win the Derby but also who will be eligible to run in the race.  Other races that have future book wagering include the L’Arc d’Triomphe in Paris, The Melbourne Cup in Australia, as well as the Breeder Cup races held in the United States in early November and are considered horse racing world championships.

Live Wagering on Race Day

There are two systems of wagering: Fixed Odds wagering where a player bets against the bookie and locks in a fixed price and Pari-mutual where bettors wager against each other and the odds are determined after all wagers have been made.

In Fixed Odds wagering, bettors will go to a bookmaker who will list odds for each horse and offer a variety of other wagers on a race.  The advantage to this type of wagering is that the odds you get are locked in and will not change.

Pari-Mutual wagering is the primary method of wagering in the United States.  In this type of wagering players wager against each other and the track takes a percentage of the total wagers.  This can be as low as 10% and as high as 25%.

How Pari-mutual wagering works

Three horse are competing and money is bet on each horse

Total Wagers
Horse A $100
Horse B $200
Horse C $300
Total wagers $600
Take out Pct 20%

Total wager 600 – 20% ( $120 Takeout) = wagering pool $480

Horse A would be odds of 4.8 to 1 (480/100)
Horse B would be odds of 2.4 to 1 (480/200)
Horse C would be odds of 1.6 to 1 (480/300)

So, you can see that when players wager on less popular horses the payouts are significantly higher than betting on the popular horse.  That said, favorites (horses with the most money wagered) win 33% of the time.

All wagers are grouped by method (win, place, show, exacta, double, etc) and placed in the pools that are calculated the same way.  The disadvantage to this system is that a bettor does not know what his/her payout will be until after the race is run and oftentimes can be affected by money that is added to the pool at the last minute “late money”.  These wagers frequently dramatically change the potential payouts.

Types of Wagers

Straight Wagers

The basic or “straight” wagers newcomers generally become familiar with upon their first exposure to horse racing are Win, Place, and Show.  

WIN: This wager, as its name implies, requires that your selection finish first.  Win odds can be seen by checking out the tote board. 

PLACE: The Place bet requires your selection to finish first or second. It’s easier to cash than a Win bet, but the payoffs are typically smaller due to the Place pool being divided two ways rather than one (bettors with Place money on the first horse and second horse divide the pool).

SHOW: The easiest of the three straight wagers to cash, it requires that your selection finish first, second, or third. Because it’s the easiest, and the fact the pool is divided among three groups of ticket holders, the payoffs can be very low.

Exotic Wagers

All non-straight wagers are referred to as “exotic” bets:

EXACTA  – pick the first two finishers in one race in exact order.    
QUINELLA – pick the first two finishers in one race in either order
DOUBLE – picking the winner of two consecutive races
TRIFECTA – pick the first three finishers in exact order
SUPERFECTA – pick the first four finishers in exact order

Pick 3 – Picking the winners of three consecutive races
Pick 4 – Picking the winners of four consecutive races
Pick 5 – Picking the winners of five consecutive races
Pick 6 – Picking the winners of six consecutive races

Horse Racing Betting Guide Step-by-Step

We present to you the most complete Horse Racing Betting Guide for first-time players, who are totally new to the world of online horse betting as well as, for Intermediate and Advanced horse betting guide to learn from gambling experts and industry insiders to learn how to bet on horse racing and succeed with your Horse race bets.

Whether you are planning a day at the races, you want to place a bet or you want to know more about how it all began Horse Racing Tote is the ultimate betting resource for your handicapping, experts advice, free picks, and analysis. Learn how to bet on horse races, how to strategize the betting picks and odds to discover the winning system that pays off with this betting guide.

Horse racing is often referred to as the “Smart Man’s Bet.” However, developing your own system is key. Here you can learn to develop the one that will get you to succeed with your Horse Betting Strategy and your Horse Racing picks.

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