Horse Racing Odds

Horse Race Betting

Tried betting on horse races but still figuring out how it works online? Looking to try horse racing betting but don’t know where to start?

Horse Racing Betting Guide: How to Bet Successfully

Online horse race betting makes the experience fun and convenient. Betting can also be profitable if you know what you're doing and can beat the odds.

One huge benefit of online horse racing betting through sportsbooks is that you can wait right up until post time to bet. That means you can watch the tote board and get all the late information you need before you bet.

You can see everything right in front of you on your own computer before you place your bet. That’s a major advantage and one in which you can use in online horse racing to increase your profits.

We also give you complete control over your funds through several deposit options. These include debit and credit cards (Visa and MasterCard), bank transfers (BillPay, e-checks, and wire transfers), and E-wallets (PayPal, Skrill, and Neteller).

You simply have to pick the type of bet you want to place. Then, you indicate your bet in your bet slip and verify the amount.

For single bets, you can add an amount to bet and then confirm to place the bet. For multiple bets, like exacta, trifecta, and superfecta, you will need to add all the selections to your slip.

Now, you’re set to follow and enjoy the race via livestream. Just sit back and enjoy the show.

If you want to try placing your bet at the counter, you can give the teller the following details:

  • Racetrack
  • Race number
  • The dollar amount you want to bet
  • Your chosen type of bet
  • Your horse’s number

For instance, you can say: “At Santa Anita, second race, five dollars to win on number two.”

Placing a Show Parlay Bet on Horse Races

Do you want to bet at horse racing tracks with your friends? Why not try group show parlay?

Simply have each person ante up $5 and then pool the money. Each person in the group chooses one race and one horse to bet to show.

Place the first bet, and if you win, parlay the money on the next race and horse. Your winnings can add up quickly.

For instance, if four people start wagering $20 and each person wins a $3 show price, you can get $101 after only four races. That’s (3 x 3 x 3 x 3) + $20 = $101.

Horse Racing Odds and Picks

The amount of money players bet on individual horses in each race determines the odds.

For instance, if you see 4:1, that means you’ll win $4 for every $1 you stake (plus your initial stake).

But if you see 1:4, then you need to stake $4 to win each $1 of return. This 1:4 selection is called an odds-on, where a horse race has a strong favorite that’s expected to win. And you spend more to win.

Odds for place and show bets are naturally smaller than the odds for win bets.

While winning a bet on horse races may seem to be mostly a matter of luck, those who win consistently do so by skill.

Those who can gather information on the horses, jockeys, and owners and know how to use these details can make their horse race betting experience an exciting and profitable one.

Online horse racing betting sites can help you pick winners by providing statistics on the outcomes of previous races. These can include simple form guides and raw results to detailed records of past performance.

Understanding Horse Race Betting Payouts

All racing bets are pooled, and the total bet around the country on a race is divided among the selections.

Let’s say $1,000 is bet on horse A to win in a race, and the “win” pool has $21,000 total bet on all horses in the field. If horse A wins, then the $21,000 would be split equally among the $1,000 of winning bets. So every $1 bet on horse A would win $20 ($21 payout).

The prizes for show, place, and trifecta bets are determined in the same manner.

Want to calculate how much you’ll win based on the current odds?

Let’s look at the following odds with $2 minimum payout.


$2 Payout





To compute your $2 win price, simply multiply the first number by 2, divide that by the second number, and then add $2.

For instance, you see 6/1 above. That means 6 x 2 ÷ 1 + 2 = 14. So, you can get $14 from your $2 bet.

If you want to compute exactly how much money you'll gain, simply multiply your stake by the first number shown. Then, add that stake back in.

Let's say you bet $10 at 6:1 selection. That’s 6 x $10 + $10 = $70.

Now that you understand how to read odds and know how to calculate payouts, you can already start betting with confidence.

Horse Racing Legality

Betting on horse racing and greyhound racing received an exemption from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). A state can decide whether it wants to legalize online betting on horse races.

States that allow legal horse racing betting online or via a mobile device include

  • Colorado
  • California
  • Florida
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Washington

If you’re in Colorado, you can legally place your horse race bets with us. Soon, we’ll also be available in Iowa, Indiana, New Jersey, and other states.

Horse Race Betting Types

In horse racing, you can choose from various types of bets. Straight bets include win, place, and show. Exotic bets or combination bets consist of exacta, quinella, trifecta, superfecta, daily double, pick 3, pick 4, and pick 6.

Straight Bets

Win, place, and show bets are three of the easiest horse racing bets you can make. Simply pick a horse, and you win if that horse finishes in the correct predicted position.

All three bets used to require a minimum bet of $2, but these days, you can bet for a minimum of $1.

Win Bet

Simply pick the horse you think will cross the finishing line first. If that horse wins, you win your bet.

Place Bet

A place bet means you bet on a horse to finish in first or second place. If your horse finishes first or second, then you win. But you won’t win extra money if your horse finishes first.

Show Bet

A show bet is when you pick a horse, and you win your bet if the horse finishes in one of the top three slots.

Across the Board Bet

An across the board bet means you place three separate bets—one win bet, one place bet, and one show bet. You win all three bets if your horse finishes first.

Then, you win on the place and show bets if your horse finishes in second place. You win on the show bet if your horse finishes third.

Exotic Bets

In exotic bets, you place a bet on more than one outcome at a time, so you bet on more than one horse at the same time.

Each form of exotic bet has different conditions that should be met. You must complete each part of an exotic bet for you to win.


A quinella is a bet on two horses in the same race to finish first or second. It doesn’t matter which of the two horses finishes first and which finishes second as long as they both finish in the first and second place.


An exacta bet is similar to a quinella. You bet on the first- and second-place finishers, but they need to win in the exact order that you’ve chosen.


A trifecta is also similar to an exacta bet, but instead of choosing the top two horses, you’ll have to pick the top three. Each horse needs to finish in the exact order that you selected to win your bet.


Here, you pick four horses. You win if the horses you picked finish first to fourth in that exact order.

Daily Double

In a daily double bet, you pick the winner of two consecutive races. You win if each horse finishes first in both races. Note that you need to place your bet before the first race.

Pick 3

Pick 3 is similar to the daily double bet, but you choose the winner of three consecutive races.

Pick 4

Like the Pick 3 and daily double bets, in a Pick 4 bet, you choose the winner of four consecutive races.

Pick 6

Here, you choose the winning horse in six consecutive races. If you win, you win big.

Bets made on an event before the final field has been declared are called all-in bets. If your horse doesn’t compete in the race that you bet on, your bet will be considered a loss.

The best bet in horse racing depends on your betting habits and personality. If you’re a handicapper whose goal is to make a huge score on a single bet, then you can choose straight bets and grow your money over time.

If you don't like handicapping, you may find it easier to choose individual winners. If you want to find multiple winners and longshot wins, go for exotic bets.

Where to Watch the Horse Races

You can watch horse racing in many ways. You can head directly to your local track or enjoy the race in the comfort of your home via a live stream. Below are your top choices.

At the Track

Hundreds of racetracks nationwide make it easy for people to watch races within driving distance. Various tracks have entertainment complexes, with some offering casino games.

Via Simulcast

Racetracks are linked together, so many offer big screens for races at other venues. You can make your bets on these races.

OTB Venues

Some states allow you to bet and view races or check results at dedicated OTB (off-track betting) venues that don’t host live races.

Biggest Horse Races Across the US

In the US, horse racing offers various betting options and opportunities. Aqueduct Racetrack and Gulfstream Park are two of the better-known horse racing venues in the nation.

One prestigious horse racing event is the Triple Crown. It involves three races for thoroughbreds, each of which has qualifiers to make sure that only the best horses participate.

A horse must win all three of the following races in the same year to complete the Triple Crown.

Kentucky Derby

Every year, the Kentucky Derby runs at Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville. It caps a two-week festival that features many races.

Several traditions characterize this race, including mint julep cocktails and a blanket of roses placed on the winning horse.

With a massive $2 million prize up for grabs, the Kentucky Derby attracts the best jockeys, trainers, and owners in the business.

Preakness Stakes

May is one of the most remarkable months for US horse racing. Held on the third Saturday of May at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, the Preakness Stakes is the Triple Crown’s second leg.

This race is on a dirt track, at a distance of 1,900 meters. A blanket of flowers—black-eyed Susans—is placed on the winning horse.

Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes is the Triple Crown’s final race. The race is held in Elmont, New York in June every year, three weeks after the Preakness Stakes.

If a horse topped the first two races, all eyes will be on it for the final leg of the Triple Crown. Once more, flowers are part of the tradition. But this time, the winner is draped with a blanket of white carnations.

Other Races

You can also bet on the following races:

  • Breeders’ Cup – Del Mar (2021)
  • Stars and Stripes Racing Festival – Belmont Park
  • Santa Anita Derby – Santa Anita, California
  • Travers Stakes – Saratoga Race Course
  • Haskell Invitational Stakes – Monmouth Park
  • Dubai World Cup – Meydan Racecourse, Dubai

Horse Racing Breeds

Racehorses may look similar, but behind the difference in color and height, you’ll see many unique breeds in various races.

Thoroughbred Horses

The biggest races are for thoroughbred horses. They originate from three horses born in the 1700s and imported to England.

Bloodlines established in England were then imported to the US.

Standardbred Horses

In harness racing, a different breed known as standardbred is used.

Compared to the highly strung thoroughbreds, standardbred horses are easier to handle. They are used for showjumping and harness or trotting racing.

Arabian Horses

Although many races today are over short distances, some racers also schedule longer endurance-type races.

Arabian horses take part in these contests. They are perfect for long-distance racing, although not for short bursts of speed.

As their name suggests, these horses were first bred in the Middle East and are considered a subsection of thoroughbreds.

Quarter Horses

Quarter horses arise from mixed breeds that came from Spanish colonial stock. The name comes from the quarter-mile racetrack that was famous in the early days of horse racing.

Virtual Horse Race Betting

From the name itself, virtual horse race betting refers to a digital sports betting game where punters can bet on one or more out of six to eight horses racing at the track.

These events are computer-generated simulations based on real-life races. You get a set of forecasts and can choose the winning horse.

As the structure is similar to traditional horse racing, you can pick from single bets, trifectas, and other types of bets.

The main difference is that the results of virtual races are decided by random chance and not by the real horses’ efforts.

The chances of each horse are weighted by their odds. Just like the real world, a 3/1 favorite is still more likely to win than a 25/1 longshot.

Horse Race Betting: Basic Terms You Need to Know


The furlong is a distance of one eighth of a mile. A racetrack can measure anywhere from two furlongs to a mile or more.


Races are graded on the horses’ quality and the purse. Grade 1 races have the best competitors.


To level the playing field, various races add weight to the better horses based on past performance.

Harness Racing

Harness racing involves jockeys in small carts behind the horses.


In pari-mutuel betting, bets are pooled, with the payout based on the number of bettors who chose a winner (or other bet types).


This is the prize money awarded for a race.