How to Bet on Horses
Types of Horse Racing Bets
There are two main types of horse racing bets which are the most popular: straight wagers and exotic wagers. On a straight wager, you only bet on a single horse, while an exotic wager allows you to make multiple bets on multiple horses. The payoff on exotic wagers is usually much higher than straight wagers.
There are also multiple-race exotic bets which allow you to pick winners in more than one race in a single wager. A Daily Double requires you to pick the winners of two races in a row. Pick 3 requires picking winners of three in a row, and so forth, up to Pick 5s and Pick 6s.
Straight Wagers Bets
Win – betting on a horse that will win the race. If the horse you bet on comes in first, you win the bet.
Place – betting on a horse that will come in first or second on the race, in which you receive the payoff for second place. The payoff is lower than in a win bet, but so is the risk.
Show - betting on a horse that will come in first, second or third on a race, and you get the payoff for third place. The payoff is lower than in win or place bets.
Exotic Wagers Bets
Exacta – betting on the first two horses in a race in the exact order they finish the race. Exacta is a very popular bet and has a potential for a high payoff.
Box Exacta – combining bets on two or more horses that finish first and second in any order. Basically, it is placing more than one exacta bet separately. Example: You bet a $1 exacta box with Horse 1, Horse 2, and Horse 3. It will cost you $6, because you’re betting the combinations 1-2, 1-3, 2-1, 2-3, 3-1 and 3-2. That’s essentially six bets.
Quinella - betting on the first two horses in a race in any order. The difference between quinella and box exacta is that in quinella you place only one bet while in exacta it is divided to few bets and therefore costs more to bet. The payoff of a box exacta is higher than a quinella.
Trifecta – betting on three horses that will finish first, second and third, in exact order. You can box a trifecta by betting on the different combinations of the three horses. Boxing trifecta will increase significantly the cost of your bet.
Superfecta - betting on four horses that will finish first, second, third and fourth in an exact order. You can box superfecta by betting on the different combinations of the four horses. Boxing a superfecta will increase significantly the cost of your bet.
Multi-Race Exotic Wagers
If you want to bet on a series of winners, you can also bet multi-race exotics. A Daily Double requires you to pick the winners of two races in a row. Pick 3 requires picking winners of three in a row, and so forth. You may use more than one horse in each of these races, but it costs you more, by multiples.
For instance: You like your chances in Races 3, 4 and 5 at Belmont, and you want to bet a $2 Pick 3. In Race 3, you pick Horses 3 and 5; Race 4, Horses 1, 3, and 7; Race 5, Horses 2 and 7. You multiply 2 times 3 times 2 times $2 = $24, the cost of your bet. If either of the horses you picked in each race wins, you win. The odds of the winning horses determines the value of the pot.
About Horse Racing
Horse racing is an ancient sport. Horse racing in North America started back in the 17th century.
The most popular horse races today are:
- Kentucky Derby – An American annual horse race at Louisville, KY, which is held on the first Saturday of May. The race is known in the U.S. as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports."
- Breeders' Cup – A series of American annual horse races which are held each year at different locations in the U.S., usually on a weekend in late October or early November.
- Belmont Stakes – The final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes is an American annual horse race held each June at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.
- Preakness Stakes – An American horse race held on the 3rd Saturday of May at Pimlico Race Couse in Maryland. It is the second leg of the Triple Crown.
- Travers Stakes – An American horse race held in late August at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
- Arlington Million – An American horse race held in August at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill., and it is part of the Breeders’ Cup qualifying series. The Arlington Million race was the first race to offer a cash reward of $1 million.
- Arkansas Derby – An American annual horse race at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., which is held in April. It is part of the Kentucky Derby qualifying series.
- Santa Anita Handicap – An American horse race held in early March at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. The Santa Anita Handicap offers a cash reward of $1 million or more.
- The Haskell Invitational – An American horse race held in Monmouth Park Racetrack Oceanport, NJ. The Haskell offers $1 million or more in prize money.
- Pacific Classic – An American horse race for thoroughbred horses held at the Del Mar Racetrack in Del Mar, Calif., in August. It offers $1 million in prize money.
The Basics of Horse Racing
There are four main types of horse racing competitions:
Flat Racing – flat racing is the most common competition where horses run between two points directly on a track which can be oval or straight.
Jump Racing – jump racing is a race where the horses race and jump over obstacles. Jump racing is also known as Steeple Chasing and is more popular in the UK and Ireland.
Endurance Racing – endurance racing is a travel across country over a very long distance. Endurance racing ranges are between 25 miles to 100 miles.
Harness Racing - Harness racing is a race where horses pull two-wheel cart which is called sulky.
Horse Racing Horse Breeds
The most popular horses for racing are:
- Arabian horse
- American Quarter Horse
A jockey is a person who rides horses in horse racing, primarily as a profession. Jockeys must be light to ride at the weights which are assigned to their mounts. There are horse carrying weight limits, that are set by racing authorities. The Kentucky Derby, for example, has a weight limit of 126 lb. including the jockey's equipment.
Did You Know?
- The United States is the country with largest number of horses.
- There are approximately 70 million horses around the globe.
- A horse’s age can be determined by the number of teeth in its mouth (by the age of five years old a horse gets all of its teeth, then the teeth just get longer).
- The highest race speed recorded is 43.97 miles per hour at the Penn National Race Course, Grantville, Pa., by a horse named Winning Brew in 2008.
- Horses use their eyes, ears and nostrils to show their moods and communicate how they are feeling.
- A horse can drink 10 gallons of water a day.
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