Horse Racing Betting

This article provides an overview on how to bet on horse racing in the USA with the best bonuses, including:

#1 Get 150% Bonus up to $1000 + 50 Spins | Code: NEWMARIACHI Read Review Claim Bonus
#2 50% First Deposit Up To $1,000 Read Review Claim Bonus
#3 50% Sign-up Bonus Up To $1,000 Read Review Claim Bonus

Types of Bet in Horse Racing

  • WIN (W) – Your horse must finish 1st place.
  • PLACE (P) – Your horse must finish either 1st or 2nd.
  • SHOW (S) – Your horse must finish either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place.
  • Quinella (Q) – Your selected horses must finish 1st and 2nd place in either order.
  • Exacta (EX) – Your selected horses must finish 1st and 2nd place in exact order.
  • Trifecta (TRI) – Your selected horses must finish in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in exact order.
  • Superfecta (SFC) – Your selected horses must finish in 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place in exact order.
  • Daily Double (DD) – Your selected horses must finish 1st places in two consecutive races.
  • Pick 3 (PK3) – Your selected horses must finish 1st place in three consecutive races.
  • Pick 4 (PK4) – Your selected horses must finish 1st place in four consecutive races.
  • Pick 6 (PK4) – Your selected horses must finish 1st place in six consecutive races.

History of Horse Racing Betting

One of the most interesting sports on the sportsbook calendar is horse racing. Big races happen annually in the US and worldwide, from the Triple Crown across the states to the prestigious British Ascot and the show-stopping Dubai World Cup. There is plenty for individuals to get excited about.

Horse racing in America dates back to 1665, with the first-ever race being held in New York. The sport itself has developed over the years but originally started from thoroughbred racing, which combined different social classes to enjoy horse racing. Something quite rare in those times. American racing has had its fair share of fans fall in and out of love with the sport, but with the introduction of sports betting Americans are rediscovering their love for horse racing again.

Racing in the modern age has changed a great deal since the first-ever races on Long Island in New York. The horse racing calendar is filled with exciting events from the Breeders Cup, Travers Stakes to the Arkansas Derby. America boasts the highest concentration of horse racing tracks in the entire world. With race tracks darted around the US, there’s a total of 75 tracks.

The main types of horse racing are Quarter horse racing, Thoroughbred horse racing, Standardbred horse racing and Endurance horse racing. But the most prestigious and talked-about series in horse racing is the Triple Crown.

Triple Crown

The series takes place throughout May and June each year where to secure the Triple Crown champion title, a three-year-old horse must win all three “jewels” in the series. The three-part racing series is made up of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Maryland and the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York.

There’s no specific money bonus that comes along for winning the Triple Crown. It just refers to the racer or horse who wins all three races in the Triple Crown series, which receives the top prize for each individual race.

Horse Racing Betting Glossary

Whether you’re attending in person, catching the race on TV or even streaming digitally, there will be a lot of phrases or lingo mentioned by fellow bettors and commentators.

Anyone new to the sport can be easily thrown off by this, but once you pick up a few words, watching the race and following along to commentators makes it all worthwhile. It also helps you understand what horse or rider is doing well and will help you make future wagers.

Abandoned – There are a number of factors which can make a race abandoned, for example; a race meeting could be cancelled because a club did not receive enough nominations to stage it. Another reason is bad weather, which would make racing on the track unsafe. All bets placed on abandoned races are fully refunded to the bettor.

All-Weather Racing – This is when racing takes place on an artificial surface, meaning it doesn’t matter what the weather is the race will go on.

Apprentice – Also know as a trainee jockey. Typically an apprentice will only ride flat races.

Baby Race – A race for horses which are two-year-olds.

Backed – A ‘backed’ horse is which has a lot of bets been placed on it.

Back stretch – Straightway on the far side of the racing track.

Bat – A bat, otherwise known as a stick, is the jockey’s whip.

Bell Lap – A bell lap is signalled by the ringing of the bell on the last lap.

Betting Board – A betting board is used by the bookmaker to display all the odds of the horses engaged in the race. People refer to the board to see favourites and underdogs in the race.

Blanket Finish – When the horses finish so close to the winning line you could theoretically put a single blanket across them. This is referred to as a ‘Blanket Finish’

Buck -A buck or dollar bet is the total sum of a $100 wager.

Chalk Player – A bettor who wagers on the favourites is considered as a chalk player.

Close – Final odds on a horse – for example, closed at 8 to 1.

Correct Weight – To allow for a fair race, horses are allocated a weight to carry during the race. They are checked before and after a race. Correct weight must be signalled before bets can be paid out.

Dead Heat – Referred to as a tie, its when two or more horses finish equal in a race.

Derby – Stakes event for horses that are three-years-old

Dime – A ‘dime’ or dime bet is the wager of $1,000.

Dog – Referred to as underdog in any betting proposition. Typically has the worse odds of winning but usually fields the highest payouts because of the risk if bet on. 

Dog Player – A bettor who mainly wagers on the underdog.

Enclosure – Area where the runners gather for viewing before and after the race.

Favorite – The most popular horse in a race, which is quoted by sportsbooks with the lowest odds because it has the best chance of winning the race.

Flash – Change of odds information on the betting board.

Front-runner – Depending on the running style, some horses like to lead early in their races and will get out the gate as quick as possible to gain the position. They try to establish 1st or 2nd position of the pack and remain there as long as possible.

Going – Condition of the racecourse which could be firm, heavy, soft as an example.

Hand – To measure a horse’s height, officials use a metric in hands and inches which is measured from the top of the shoulder to the ground. Thoroughbred horses range in height but the typical range is from 15 to 17 hands. For example, 16.3 hands are 16 hands, 3 inches.

Head – This is used as a reference to distance or the margin between horses. One horse leading another by the length of its head.

Home Turn – This is the final turn a horse must travel/ run around before entering the home straight leading up to the finish line.

In The Money – This betting reference describes the horses that finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd and sometimes 4th in a race.

Juice – This is the bookmaker’s commission, also known as vigorish or vig.

Juvenile – Two-year-old horse.

Lock – “That’s a Lock” is a term used to describe almost a certain or easy winner. Keep your ears open if you ever hear that term used, as it might be a good choice!

Long Shot – A runner that is often referred to as being a long shot, means that they have very little chance of winning the race. However, these runners typically have high returns if they do win the race.

Nickel – $500 wager.

Nose – This is the smallest advantage a horse can win by: “Won by a nose”.

Official – Typically known as a racing official, the term is a sign displayed when the result is confirmed.

Off the Board – Refers to odds that exceed 99 to 1 on a horse. Based on a $2 wager, a horse with 99-1 odds would have a payout of $200.

Out Of The Money – Which literally means the wager on the horse is out of the money as the horse has finished worse than 3rd place.

Pacesetter – A Pacesetter is referred to the horse that is running out in front, or leading.

Penalty – In horse racing, a ‘penalty’ means weight is added to the handicap weight of a horse. This is a disadvantage, or handicap, imposed on a horse for winning a race under certain circumstances. The horse will typically be reassessed to see whether they need to carry on using the weight in other races.

Photo Finish – When the horses cross the finish line, a photo is automatically taken.  If the race is too close to judge or too many horses came across at the same time, the photo is used to determine the order of finish.

Punt – Another term for wager or bet.

Racecard – A programme set out for the day’s races, detailing racers and horses.

Spell – Used to explain the resting period between preparations or racing for horses and jockeys.

Spot Play – This is a type of play or strategy where bettors will risk money only on types of races and horses which seem relatively worthwhile risks. They calculate the bets in such a way, the size of the bet depends on the risk.

Stake – The prize money for the winning horses paid to the owner. Also known as the trophy or prize money.

Store – Sportsbook or bookie.

The Jockey Club – This specific term will be referenced when talking about the horses breeding. It is an organization based in New York, dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing. Within North America’s it’s responsible for the maintenance and registry of all Thoroughbreds foaled (bred) in the United States and Canada. As well as dealing with all imports that are registry recognized by ‘The Jockey Club’ and the ‘International Stud Book Committee’.

Track Condition – Refers to the condition of the racetrack surface. For example, slow, fast, good, muddy, frozen, hard, firm, soft, yielding, heavy. This will give you an idea of how a horse may perform due to the conditions impacting the race.

Trail – Racing immediately behind another horse, the trail is also known as a sit.

Turf Course – Grass race track.

Wager – Another term for a bet.

Wire – The finish line of a race.

Yankee – A multiple bet which is considered as a Parlay consisting of 11 bets: 6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 4-fold on 4 selections in different events.

About Kris

Kris Hunt is a content editor with over 7 years experience. Kris is an expert on all matters iGaming & sports in the USA. Kris is an Arsenal & Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow Kris on Twitter or on LinkedIn.