Horse racing and gambling are two peas in a pod. In fact, it is a widely held opinion that there would be no horse racing if gambling were to be removed from the equation. In the same vein, gambling firms would be potentially ruined if horse racing were to disappear from the sporting landscape. Horse racing is a popular sport across the United States, particularly during the countdown to the big races such as the Breeders Cup and Triple Crown races, both of which follow a given set of rules for gambling.
This article is a guide on how to bet on horse races, including an explanation of the different types of bets you could place.
How to bet on Horse Races in the US
There are several ways to place bets on US horse racing. If you are in the US, you could either go the classic way of placing bets at the racing track, place your bet at a casino, or log onto ADW sites such as TVG.com or Twinspires.com and place your bet. If you are outside the US, there are many bookmakers you can go through to make your bets on horse racing in the states.
How US horse racing betting works are that you bet against other people in what is known as pari-mutuel wagering. The racing track gets about 15% of the total amount of money the participants put up, with the rest of the pool divided among the winning tickets.
All horse racing payouts are based on a $2 stake – As such, a $10 bet in which the dividend is $8 would get you $40 in payout (your $10 bet is 5 stakes each of $2 – arrived at by multiplying 5 by 8 to make the $40).
Some races couple the racehorses such that by betting on one horse you are effectively betting on two horses. For instance, horses may be numbered 1 and 1A, and by betting on 1 you are also entering a bet on 1A. Coupling is most common in instances in which the trainer or owner has two or more horses in the same race.
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What Horse Racing Bets are Available
While there are all manner of bets in US horse racing, show, place, and win bets are the most popular.
Win – The most popular bet in horse racing. All you do is place a bet on a horse to win a race.
Place – A little bit more complicated than a win bet. You place a bet hoping that the horse will come in first or second. You get paid the same amount of cash regardless of the position the horse finishes as long as it comes in either of the first two positions. As such, these bets have lower odds as compared to the win bets.
Show – This type of bet adds one more position as you place a bet hoping the horse will come in any of the first three positions. The bet has low odds as compared to the place bets, and even lower than those of the win market. You get the same amount of money if the horse places in either of the first three positions.
Across the Board Bet – In this bet, you will place a bet on all three: the win, the place, and the show bet. An across the board bet typically cost $6 as you are putting up $2. You get a payout on all bets of the horse comes in first (win), two payouts if the horse places second (show and place), and one bet if the horse comes in third (show).
In addition to the show, place and win bets, you could also have bookmakers providing several other exotic bets that offer larger payouts than the regular bets.
Exacta – You need to pick the first and second horse in the correct order. You could also go for the Exacta Box bet, which allows you to win regardless of the order in which the horses finish. You have to remember that the Exacta Box bet needs you to place a double stake – you will have to place $4 rather than the usual $2.
Trifecta – You have to pick the first three finishers in the correct order. Similar to the Exacta, you can also bet on a Trifecta Box so that you win in any possible finishes of the first three horses. Given that there are up to 6 combinations that you could get with a Trifecta Box, you will have to place a bet of $12.
Superfecta – Get the first four finishers in the correct order. This has very low odds but the rewards on offer are very enticing.
Daily Double – You will need to pick the horses to finish first in the first two races. The bet could also roll throughout the day allowing you to bet in the 2nd/3rd races or 3rd/4th races.
Pick 3 Bet – You will need to get right the first three winners of the day. Similar to the daily double, this offer could be available throughout the race meet.
Pick 4 Bet – Similar to the pick 3 bet, though you have to get four winners right.
Pick 6 – One of the most difficult bets to win and there are very few occasions when someone has won it. The good thing about it is that the pool is normally carried over to the following day of the meet and can even run for several days, which means the winner could end up with quite a huge payout. In some instances, the track will give a consolation prize for anyone that picks five winners.