Introduction to Horse Racing Betting – Horse racing has a long and illustrious history. It is widely believed that early forms of horse racing took place even before the recorded mounted horse racing events that were part of the ancient Greek Olympics as long ago as 648 BC. It is also known that horse racing was popular in times of the Roman Empire. Horse racing became known as the Sport of Kings due to its popularity among the nobility and royalty of Britain.
Today, horse racing is one of the most popular sports in the world. Millions of people watch televised horse races while wagering at horse racing betting sites and stadiums continue to attract large crowds throughout the year. There are many prestigious and high profile horse races that owners, jockeys and trainers all dream of victory in. The sport is exciting, fast paced and offers spectators fantastic entertainment.
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All Formats of Horse Races
Horse racing is a blanket term used to refer to any kind of equine sporting event. Most horse betting sites will offer the most popular events such as thoroughbred racing, but there are others that feature an even greater variety. Horse racing can vary depending on the types of horses that are racing, the kind of track that is used and the length of the race.
Horse racing can be broadly divided into two different categories – flat racing and jump racing. As the names suggest, flat racing involves racing around a flat course, while jump racing will involve fences and hurdles. Traditionally, horses run on turf – hence the term turf accountants, which is how bookmakers licensed to take wagers on horse racing used to be referred to. However, other surfaces are also used – such as all-weather tracks, dirt, or sand.
One of the most famous horse races in the world is the Grand National. This steeplechase race, run over fences, hurdles and ditches, takes place once a year at the Aintree course in Liverpool, England. Even people who rarely bet will have a wager on the National once a year.
In the US, the Kentucky Derby is the biggest race. Together with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, these three races form The Triple Crown and all attract a great deal of interest across the world. The Breeder’s Cup races are also of huge importance to the American racing fraternity.
How Does Online Horse Betting Work?
Horse betting is a simple process that can be performed either at a racetrack or online at horse betting sites. Bettors are given a choice of races to choose from and placing a bet is as simple as picking which horse the bettor thinks will win. If the horse that the bettor chooses is the winner, the bettor will win an amount of money that is dependent on how much he or she placed on the horse and what the horse’s odds were to win. Knowing how betting on horse racing works is simple once bettors know what kinds of wagers are available to them.
Thoroughbred Horse Racing
Thoroughbred racing is the most popular form of horse racing. It is the style that most people are familiar with. Thoroughbred racing can be found at all horse betting sites for bettors to place wagers on. Thoroughbred racing is performed with a thoroughbred horse and a jockey riding atop. There are two forms of thoroughbred racing that may be found on horse betting sites. Flat racing refers to a thoroughbred race over a certain distance where the track is completely flat. Jump racing is a form of thoroughbred racing where the horse and jockey must clear hurdles along the track.
Standard Bred Racing
Some horse betting sites may offer wagers on standard bred racing. This is a popular sport throughout countries such as Australia and Canada. Standard bred racing is performed with standard bred horses. Much like thoroughbred racing, jockeys are involved in standard bred racing. However, in standard bred racing, the jockey is pulled behind the horse in a small cart that is harnessed to the horse. The dynamics of standard bred racing make it unique compared to other forms. This makes it a popular choice for bettors at horse betting sites.
Quarter racing can also be found at some horse racing betting websites. Quarter horse racing is performed with quarter horses, which are known for their short bursts of fantastic speed. This is why quarter horse racing tracks are much shorter than other horse racing tracks – usually anywhere from 220 yards to 870 yards.
There are a few horse betting sites that give bettors the chance to bet on endurance horse racing. These horse races are also performed with a jockey, but they are performed over long distances. Endurance racing is not performed inside of a stadium; rather, it takes place through wilderness and on set trails. Endurance races can sometimes take several days to complete, which makes the anticipation much greater.
Types Of Horse Racing Bets And Wagers
There are many different types of horse racing betting. Novice bettors may well find the range of bets quite overwhelming, but it doesn’t take long to get a handle on them all. The simplest bets are usually the most popular, and we’ve listed the most common forms of bets below. If you are new to online wagering then you may find the following list of the types of horse racing bets and wagers useful. You should note that some are known by different terms depending on whereabouts in the world you are.
The following wagers are available to bettors at horse betting sites:
- Win Bet – This is the most common and simple bet and can also be referred to as a straight bet or a win single. Quite simply, you are betting on which horse you think will win the race. If you select correctly then you win your wager. Win bets are usually placed at fixed odds, which means the odds on your bet are determined at the time of placing your bet. You can also place a bet and take the starting price (SP) which means, if you win, your wager will be paid out based on whatever odds the horse was at the start of the race.
- Place Bet – The place bet can have different meanings depending on what country you are in. In North America, a place bet means betting on a horse to finish either first or second. The odds on a place bet will be lower than a win bet for the same horse, but you clearly have a greater chance of winning your bet. If your selection finishes in the top two, you get paid out. In the United Kingdom, and most other parts of the world, a place bet can is betting on a horse to finish to finish “in the places”. The number of places that get paid out will depend on the number of horses taking part in the race. For example in a five horse race a place would be first or second third place. In a ten horse race a place would be first, second or third place. The odds for a place bet are usually ¼ of the odds to win.
- Show Bet – This is a betting term used in North America. A show bet is a bet on the horse to finish in the first three places.
- Each Way Bet – Each way betting is a term used most places outside North America. It is a combination of the win bet and a place bet. Basically half your bet is on the horse to win, and the other half of your bet is on the horse to finish in the places. If your selection wins the race, then both parts of the wager get paid out. If your horse does not win but does finish in the places then just the second half of your bet gets paid out.
- Across the Board Bet – This bet is the loose equivalent of the each way bet in North America. It is essentially a wager in three parts; a win bet, place bet and show bet. If you back a horse across the board and it wins, then all three aspects of your wager get paid out. If the horse finishes second, then just the place bet and show bet parts get paid out. If your selection finishes third, then just the show bet parts is paid out.
- Forecast / Exacta – The forecast bet, also known as an exacta bet, is betting on the two horses that will finish in first and second place. To win this bet you must get both the horses correct and in the right positions. For example if you bet on Horse A to win the race and Horse B to finish second, but Horse B wins and Horse A comes second, your wager does not pay out
- Reverse Forecast / Reverse Exacta / Quinella – These three terms all relate to the same bet. It is a similar bet to the forecast defined above, but you don’t have to get the positions correct. You just have to pick the two horses that will finish in the top, in any order.
- Tricast / Trifecata – This bet is similar to the forecast, but you must select the three horses that finish in the top three. Like the forecast, to win this wager you get all three horses right and in the correct order. This bet can sometimes be referred to as the triple bet.
- Reverse Tricast / Reverse Trifecta – To win this bet, you must correctly select three horses that finish in the first three places. You do not need to specify which order they finish in, but must get all three correct to get paid out.
- Lay Bet – A lay bet is where you are effectively backing against a horse to win a race. If you place a lay bet on a horse and it doesn’t win, then you get paid out. If, however, it does win the race then you lose your wager.
- Double Bet – The double bet involves making two selections for horses to win separate races. Both horses must win their respective races for you to get paid out with this bet. You can also place each way doubles, which means both horses need to at least finish in the places for your wager to pay out.
- Treble Bet – To win a treble bet you must correctly select the winners in the three separate horse races. You must get all three right for your wager to win. You can also place each way trebles.
- Accumulator / Parlay – An accumulator, or parlay, is the term applied when you make four or more selections on one ticket, for the winners in separate races. As with a double or treble, you will need all of your selections to win their respective races to get paid out on this wager.
- Permutation Betting – Permutation betting is popular among bettors who want to go for the big pay out possible when you make multiple selections, but also cover themselves if one or more of their selections lose. It involves making multiple selections and then betting on some or all of the different permutations. For example, a Trixie is four separate bets on three selections. You are betting on the three possible doubles and one treble. This way, if one of your selections loses, you will still have one winning double bet as part of your wager. If you placed a Patent bet on the same three selections, then you are also covering the three win singles for each selection for a total of seven bets. The following list details all the different permutation wager and the different bets that they include.
- Trixie – 3 selections with 4 bets. 3 doubles and 1 treble.
- Patent – 3 selections with 7 bets. 3 singles, 3 doubles and 1 treble.
- Yankee – 4 selections with 11 bets. 6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 four-fold.
- Lucky Fifteen – 4 selections with 15 bets. 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 four-fold.
- Canadian – also known as a Super Yankee. 5 selections with 26 bets. 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds and 1 five-fold.
- Lucky 31 – 5 selections with 31 bets. 5 singles, 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds and 1 five-fold.
- Heinz – 6 selections with 57 bets. 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and 1 six-fold.
- Lucky 63 – 6 selections with 63 bets. 6 singles, 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15 four-folds, 6 five-folds and 1 six-fold.
- Super Heinz – 7 selections with 120 bets. 21 doubles, 35 trebles, 35 four-folds, 21 five-folds, 7 six-folds and 1 seven-fold.
- Goliath – 8 selections with 247 bets. 28 doubles, 56 trebles, 70 four-folds, 56 five-folds, 28 six-folds, 8 seven-folds and 1 eight-fold.
Online Horse Racing Betting Tips and Strategy
Betting on horse racing is like cheese and pickle, they were simply meant to go hand in hand. It’s one of the few sports where the majority of its enthusiasts are geared towards placing a bet rather than simply watching the sport for what it is. It’s for this reason that there are loads of horse racing tips that have been passed on through generations with ways in which to pick successful winners. This article should hopefully give you some good pointers to consider before finally placing your wager on a horse.
- Check Race Distance – The distance of the race is all important to horses. Some will stay a lot better than other horse whilst some are built for out and out sprinting. Even just a couple of furlongs more or less can have a dramatic effect on how a horse could perform. It’s for this reason that whilst checking the form of your horse makes sure you note the race distance in their results. It’s all well and good seeing a horse place in 5 of their last 6 races but if that horse was running in races 5 furlongs shorter than its current race its likely going to suffer. Check the history of the race to see how the horse both stayed and finished to determine if any changes in race distance will have a positive or negative effect.
- Analyze Class – As an extension from the previous point it’s also massively important to check the class of the race. Classes basically determine the standard of the race – higher class, higher standard – and horses making a step up in class are basically stepping into the unknown as the gulf between each class is generally quite wide. Make sure you note previous races in each class prior to betting on the horse.
- Consider Current Ground Conditions – The ground is all important for the majority of horses. Some suit the harder faster ground, whilst others will have the stamina to stay in softer, slower ground. Whilst each horse might not necessarily have a preference as such, they will likely have an advantage over the field depending on the type of ground. It’s not uncommon for horses to be pulled out of races because of the ground not being to their liking. This is the extent trainers will go to as it’s just not worth risking an injury in ground that does not suit.
- Compare Weights – You simply must determine which jockeys or horses are required to carry extra weight in the race. Again checking back over previous results, see what weight they were carrying and then again what they are carrying in the race that you are looking at. The weight is basically a handicapping tool where an independent panel tries to even up the field for a more interesting race. Weight may also be added after a horse has been victorious to essentially penalise them for doing well. A horse carrying more weight will have to step up in class compared to a lighter horse that may not be as accomplished. Be sure to compare both current and previous weights.
- Time Frame Since Last Race – If you are looking to back a horse that has quite a few races under its belt then you are at a massive advantage. One of the main reasons for this is that you can check as to how they perform with differentiating amounts of rest days in between. Some horses may well like a good rest of a few months in between races, this allows them to get back to full fitness and run well in the next race. Others like to run a few races in a short space of time, this means they are ‘in their stride’ and feeling fit. Note the date of the last race and then compare the time in between to that of previous races with similar resting periods. From this you should be able to determine what their ideal resting period is.
- Distance Travelled to Race – Now this may seem a little obscure and you’ve got to look a little deeper at this one as there are two reasons behind it. The first being that some horses simply don’t travel well and a long trip can make them anxious and perform poorly. The second is a little more ‘trickier’. Let’s say Joe Bloggs was willing to take his horse all the way from Brighton to Newcastle – the length of the country – for one race. Why would he bother? Well, he must certainly think the horse has a very good chance or indeed he wouldn’t bother. So look out for trainers willing to ship their horses’ long distances especially for races which aren’t the biggest in the world by any means.
- Recent Results and Stable Form – Winning is a habit and is definitely something that rubs off amongst horses. An inform stable can be massive not only for the horses confidence but also with the calibre of jockeys they can attract. It won’t be much surprise to many canny punters that in the big meets it’s the same trainers often coming out with several winners. This is because if your stable is in form it’s likely they are going to be getting the most out of their horses.
- Bet Smaller Races Over Major Events – There maybe people reading this article of whom the only race they bet on all year is the Grand National and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. However if you are serious about becoming successful at horse racing betting then it’s these types of races we need to avoid. You may as well go and put the lottery on as it’s a race with just too much variance. If you want to place a couple a bets as bit of fun then that’s up to you, but don’t waste your time mulling over potential winners in this race, invest it in smaller races that are likely to yield a higher win percentage.
- Pick Your Races Wisely – Throughout any one day in the UK alone there may be 50 races and then you have races from the US, Australia, New Zealand and Dubai all with pretty substantial markets from most of the larger bookmakers. It can be easy to go and bet on a race just because you can. Stick with what you know, do your research on potential horses and back them at horse betting sites if you think they have a chance and are at the right price. Once you start betting on each race for the hell of it is when horse racing betting no longer becomes a profitable hobby, but more an addiction.
Horse Racing Events Around The World
Horse racing takes place on a daily basis across the world at hundreds of different race courses. Dedicated horse racing bettors will generally look through most race cards every day to try and find the stand out bets that offer the most value. Certainly, anyone betting on horse racing will never struggle to find a betting opportunity with the amount of horse races that take place.
Most horse betting sites will cover the majority of horse racing events so getting an online wager is not difficult.
With all these horse races going on, you could be forgiven for that one horse race is much the same as another. However, this is far from true. Every year, there are several horse races that are considered the most prestigious and glamorous and it is these races that attract huge audiences. Winning any major horse race, such as those mentioned below, is the pinnacle of achievement for any race horse owner, trainer or jockey.
Major Horse Races in the United States
Horse racing in the United States dates back as far as 1665, when the first American racetrack was built on Long Island. Today, there are several famous race tracks across North America and the sport remains incredibly popular.
The most famous races in America are the three that make up the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, namely the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness Stakes. These classic horse races attract a lot of attention and are considered high profile races across the world. Unlike the more traditional turfed surface that is commonly used for horse races, particularly in Europe, these three races are run on dirt tracks. Each Triple Crown race is open to colts and fillies and geldings are also allowed to enter.
Any horse that wins all three of these races in one calendar year is known as a Triple Crown winner, a feat that has only been achieved by eleven horses in history. The last horse to win all three did it as long ago as 1978 when Affirmed, trained by Laz Barrera, was victorious in each of these classics.
The Kentucky Derby is the first of these three classics to take place each year. It is usually held on the first Saturday in May and takes place at the Churchill Downs course in Louisville. The race is run over 1 ¼ miles, and was first ran in 1875. It is often referred to as The Run for The Roses which is a reference to the blanket of roses which gets draped over the winning horse.
Next up is the Preakness Stakes which is run over nine and half a furlongs at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The Preakness Stakes is run on the third Saturday in May and is typically the second most watched horse race of the year in America, behind the Kentucky Derby.
The third, and final, leg of the Triple Crown is the Belmont Stakes. This is always run three weeks after the Preakness Stakes and takes place at Belmont Park in Elmont in New York. It is the oldest established of these three classics having first been run back in 1867. It is also run over the greatest distance at 1 ½ miles.
Other major horse races in the United States include the Kentucky Oaks and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Kentucky Oaks is for fillies and is run the day before the Kentucky Derby each year. The Breeder’s Cup Classic is the biggest race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is held at a different racetrack each year. It offers one of the biggest purses in world horse racing at $5 million.
Major Horse Races in the United Kingdom
Horse racing in the UK has hundreds of years of history and has a fanatical following. There are two distinct types of racing in the UK – flat racing and jump racing. Traditionally, races are run over turf but there are also a number of all-weather tracks in the UK these days. There are around 60 racecourses in the United Kingdom, the oldest being Chester racecourse which is nearly 500 years old.
The most famous race in the UK is the Grand National, a National Hunt race that is known the world over. It is held every year at Aintree Racecourse – in Liverpool, England – over 4 miles and 856 yards. It generally takes place on one of the first two Saturdays in April. Race horses taking part in the Grand National have to jump thirty fences over two circuits of the course and it is a race famed for many fallers. Just finishing the Grand National is an achievement for any jockey, winning it is an ambition held by many a jump jockey.
No mention of the Grand National is complete with a reference to Red Rum, one of the most famous racehorses in the world. Red Rum won the Grand National three times in the 1970’s, a record that has never been surpassed. Red Rum’s first win, in 1973 when he made up 15 lengths in the run in, is widely considered the most memorable Grand National finish of all time.
The Epsom Derby, generally referred to in the UK as just The Derby, is the most prestigious of the British Classics. The British Classics consist of five flat races, each of which is held annually. The other four races which make up the group are the 2000 Guineas Stakes, the 1000 Guineas Stakes, the Epsom Oaks and the St. Leger Stakes.
The Epsom Derby was the first “Derby”, a term that has since been used by many other major horse races. It is considered one of Britain’s greatest sporting events and attracts an audience across the globe. It was first run back in 1780 when it was won by Diomed. Since then, it has gone on to be one of the most competitive horse races in the world. It takes place at Epsom Downs each year, in early June.
Also held at Epsom Downs during June is the Epsom Oaks, another of the British Classics. The Epsom Oaks was first held the year before the inaugural Derby and was won by Bridget. Bridget was owned by the 12th Earl of Derby, after whom the Epsom Derby was named. The Epsom Oaks is open to three year old fillies and is run over a distance of just over 1 mile and 4 furlongs.
The first two British Classics of the year are held towards the end of May or early April at Newmarket. The 2,000 Guineas Stakes comes first – run over exactly one mile and open to three year old colts and fillies. The 1,000 Guineas Stakes is next, also run over one mile but open to fillies only.
The fifth, and final, of the British Classics is the St. Leger Stakes, held at Doncaster in England. At just over 1 mile and 6 furlongs, this race is the longest of the classics. It is also the oldest of the five having first been established in 1776. The race is open for both colts and fillies and is named after Antony St. Leger who devised the event.
There are many other high profile race meetings in the United Kingdom; including Royal Ascot, Cheltenham Festival, Glorious Goodwood and the King VI Meeting. These meetings are attended every year by race goers in their thousands and watched by many more on television.
Major Horse Races in Europe
European horse racing has a rich history and is host to some major horse races throughout the year. Horse racing is particularly popular in France and Ireland, where many of the top race horses are bred. Hungary, Italy and Poland also have long standing horse racing traditions.
The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, generally referred to as The Arc, is arguably the most famous horse race in Europe. It is held annually in France, at the Longchamp Racecourse, on the first Sunday in October. It is the richest horse race in Europe with a prize fund of €4million and is one of the most watched horse races in the world. The Arc is a flat race open to thoroughbreds of at least three years old and run over approximately 1.5 miles. It was first run in 1920, when it was won by a horse called Comrade.
Also held at Longchamp is the Grand Prix de Paris, which is contested by three year old colts and fillies over a distance of 2,400 meters. Established in 1863, the Grand Prix used to be the premier horse race in France until the introduction of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. It is usually held on July 14th to coincide with the French national holiday of Bastille Day.
Horse racing in Ireland primarily revolves around jump racing. Indeed it was in Ireland that point to point to racing – the amateur version of National Hunt Racing – was established back in the 19th century. The thoroughbred breeding industry is very prosperous in Ireland and the country is home to the main operation of Coolmore Stud, the largest thoroughbred stud in the world.
There are 26 race courses in Ireland hosting a number of racing festivals throughout the year. The Fairyhouse festival stages the most valuable horse race in Ireland, the Irish Grand National, which is held each year on Easter Sunday. The Punchestown racetrack is home to one of the most popular race meetings, the five day Punchestown Festival which features the Guinness Gold Cup.
The Irish Derby is another major race in Ireland, and is held in June at Curragh Racecourse. This race has been established since 1866 but was not considered a major international race until 1962, when the prize money on offer was greatly increased.
Also run at Curragh is the Irish Oaks, a flat race open to three year old fillies. It takes place each year in July, over a distance of 1 mile and 4 furlongs. This event was established back in 1895 as Ireland’s answer to the Epsom Oaks, one of the more famous races in England.
Major Horse Races in Australia
Horse racing is a very popular spectator sport in Australia and the country is considered one of the top racing nations in the world. With a phenomenal 360 racecourses across Australia, horse racing is the third most attended sport in the country. It has been well established as a sport in this part of the world since early settlement days.
The most popular race in Australia by quite some margin is the Melbourne Cup, often referred to as “The race that stops a nation”. It is one of the richest turf races in the world and is held at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. This horse race is open to three year olds and over and is run over a distance of 3,200 meters. It is held annually on the first Tuesday in November.
The Melbourne Cup was first held in 1861 and was contested by 17 horses and won by the stallion Archer. The same horse also went on the win the race the following year. The race has gone on to become a major horse racing event not just in Australia, where there is a national holiday to coincide with the race, but all over the world.
The Australian Derby is held annually in Sydney at the Randwick Racecourse. This turf race takes place in late March or early April and has been won by some of the greatest Australian race horses such as Phar Lap. It was established in 1861 and originally called the AJC Randwick Derby Stakes, before being changed to the AJC Australia Derby Stakes. It officially became known as the Australian Derby in 1994 but is still referred to by many as the AJC Derby.
Also held at Randwick Racecourse is the AJC Australian Oaks. This horse race is contested over 2,400 meters and is open to three year old fillies. It takes place in April as part of the Sydney autumn racing carnival. The Australian Cup, run at Flemington Racecourse, takes place the month before in March. It is run over 2,000 metres and has been established since 1861.
Horse racing is also popular in neighboring country New Zealand, which is home to 59 racecourses. The richest horse race in New Zealand is the New Zealand Derby which is run over 2,400 meters at Ellerslie Racecourse in Auckland. It takes place annually on the first Saturday in March with a prize purse of AUS$2.2 million.
Major Horse Races in Asia
The continent of Asia is also home to some famous horse races and is popular in many countries. China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and the United Arab Emirates all have regular horse racing calendars and the sport has a big fan base throughout these countries.
The richest horse race in the world takes place in Asia. The Dubai World Cup, established in 1996, is run annually at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It has a purse of $10 million and was created by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. The race is 2,000 meters, approximately 10 furlongs, and is run on a synthetic surface. The Meydan Racecourse was opened in 2010 and is the largest racecourse in the world.
Japan is host to many horse races throughout the year at thirty different racecourses across the country. The most prestigious of these races is the Japan Cup, which takes place in November each year. It is held at the Tokyo Racecourse and is run over 1.5 miles for a purse of around $6 million. The Japan Cup is an invitational event and is widely respected as a horse race of international importance.
Asia may not have the same long history of horse racing as some other parts of the world, but there are some fantastic races that take place in the continent every year. There is a huge amount of money involved in Asian horse racing and the sport continues to grow in popularity and stature.
It is not easy to consistently win money by betting on horse racing, but it IS possible. It does, however, require a lot of dedication and commitment. To be a successful in the long run, you need to know the form book inside out and have an in depth knowledge of not just horses, but the courses they run at, the jockeys who ride them and their trainers.
That being said, it is possible to win money in the short term without the same amount of hard work. By just spending a bit of time looking at the race card and the form of the horses, you can make an informed judgement about the outcome of any given race and give yourself a reasonable chance of backing a winner.
One important aspect of betting on horse racing is knowing which races to bet on, and which ones to leave alone. A successful horse racing bettor will choose his wagers wisely and always look for value in their bets.
With so many different online horse racing betting sites out there, choosing where to bet is another important decision. Make sure you bet at one of the best online betting websites to ensure you get the best prices and other extra benefits.