The Basics of Betting: Horse Wagering Explained


It’s undoubtedly a fact that most people go to the races to bet on the horses. While the sport itself is thrilling, many participate in it for the betting games. There’s a good reason, too, because horse racing betting can be profitable.  

This is especially true if you know what you’re doing. Not only that, there are a lot of things that can help you pick a winner. However, if you’re new to horse racing, everything can be too overwhelming. The terminologies, the math, and even betting itself can give you an information overload that would seem too daunting.  

Luckily for you, we will be talking about the basics of horse racing betting and some tips to get you started on your journey. But don’t worry! It won’t be too complicated, and the information you will be given will be a good foundation for you as a bettor. Let’s get started. 

How to Place a Wager 

There are different methods to placing a wager, and they depend on your method of choice, be it through the traditional way or online. However, they all follow the standard procedure.  

Most often, you just place your bet, take your ticket, and tear it up after you’re done. Be careful not to tear it up immediately when you win, though. If you win and you had your ticket torn before you claim your payout, then it would be a huge waste.  

If you want to have a more detailed step-by-step on how to fill a horse racing slip, here it is. 

  • State the name of the racetrack 
  • Determine what number race you’ll be betting on 
  • Pick the dollar unit 
  • Type of bet 
  • State the number of the horse/s 
  • Check the ticket 

Tools You May Need 

Along with an umbrella and sunscreen, there are a few items you should consider bringing with you during the races. You may think of binoculars, which are good options, but the following tools should be more useful. 

Racing form: This form contains all of the information about the races. From the jockeys to each horses’ track record, it’s a very useful tool, especially when you know how to use it. You can use this form to get some information about the possible outcome of the races, helping you make an informed decision when it comes to placing your bet. 

Public handicapper selection: You can find this in a newspaper. The local newspaper covers some races. In this selection, there will be a handicapper, which can give you information about the horses and even have their predictions on the outcome of the races. 

Types of Horse Racing Bets 

There are two categories you can choose from for horse betting: straight and exotic bets. Straight bets are the easiest to understand and also the most straightforward. For beginners, starting with straight bets is optimal if you want to build experience. 

Straight Bets 

Here are the types of straight bets you can wager on: 

Win – to win this bet, you only have to pick a horse you think will win. If you’re right, you get the pot. 

Place – this is just like the win bet, but you’ll be betting if the horse finishes the race in either first or second place. 

Show – If the horse you’re wagering in finishes first, second, or third, you’ll win the bet. 

Across the Board – When you bet across the board, you’ll be wagering on a horse that you think will win the win, place, and show bets. It’s also called a straight combo wager. Of course, since it’s a combination of three bets, your total cost would be $6 if you decide to bet $2, for example. If the horse comes first, you win all three bets. If it comes in second, you win place and show, and if it wins third, you only win the show bet. 

Exotic Bets 

Exotic bets allow you to bet on multiple horses in a single race in the correct order. This might be a bit challenging compared to straight bets, and it is, but the payout of these games is huge. 

Exacta: You will be betting on two horses in the correct order. For example, you bet on numbers 5 and 3. Let’s say those horses finished first and second. If they aren’t in the correct order according to your bet, then you still lose. 

Trifecta – this is an exacta bet but with three horses. In this bet, you’ll be betting on three horses in the order you think they’ll finish in the race. If your guess is right,  you win. 

Superfecta – this is also exacta but with four horses. This bet is typically the hardest to win, but the payout is huge. It’s because you’ll be betting on four horses to win in the correct order. So if you’re feeling lucky, you should try this one. 

Final Words 

Horse racing is fun, and betting on it is thrilling. If you’re feeling lucky and have a lot of money to burn, then betting on horse racing can be an enjoyable hobby. But if you want to take horse racing betting seriously, be prepared to do a lot of research. It can be challenging, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll surely have a winning edge the next time you place a bet. 

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