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Horse Race Betting

Sometimes referred to as the “Sports of Kings,” horse racing can trace its history back to the days of ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Rome, and Babylon. The rules have remained largely unchanged over the centuries, and so has the potential for profit. With a global fanbase, the sport generates over $100 billion annually in wagers, and there’s no reason to expect that to change.

One welcome perk of horse racing is the convenience for gamblers. When you attend an NBA or NFL event, there’s not a betting widow located down by the concession stands. At a racetrack, however, you can watch the ponies run and place your bets within the same facility. The point of this article, though, is to present you with our list of best horse race betting sites and online racebooks.

Our Top Recommended Horse Racing Betting Sites

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Types of Horse Racing Wagers

Most sporting events use the same types of wagers, from point spreads and money lines to the over/under. Horse racing is considerably different, however, which is why I’ve put together this handy guide that spotlights some of the most popular options.

  • Across the Board:
    A bet on the horse to win, place, and show. If successful, this wager can deliver from one to three payouts.
  • Boxed Bet:
    When the bettor chooses all combinations in a multi-horse wager such as a trifecta or exacta.
  • Daily Double:
    The bettor must select the winner of a pair of consecutive races, usually the first two of the day.
  • Exacta:
    Also known as a “Perfecta,” this wager requires the bettor to choose the top two finishers in a race in exact order.
  • Pick Six:
    The bettor must correctly choose the winners for all included races. Picking six is common, but it can be five or any other number.
  • Place Bet:
    This wager pays if the horse finishes the race in first or second place.
  • Place Pick All:
    In order to receive a payout, the bettor must successfully pick a horse to finish first or second in every race on the card (usually eight or nine events).
  • Quinella:
    You must pick the horses that finish first and second in the race, but they don’t have to be in exact order.
  • Show Bet:
    A wager for a horse to finish “in the money,” which is third place or better.
  • Superfecta:
    In order to collect a payout, the bettor must choose the top four horses in their exact order of finish.
  • Trifecta:
    Also known as a “Triple,” this wager requires the bettor to choose the top three horses in the exact order of their finish.
  • Win Bet:
    A wager that only pays if the horse finishes in first place.
  • Title:

Types of Horse Racing

While those unfamiliar with the sport might assume that all races play out like the Kentucky Derby, that’s not the case. Horse racing is available in numerous styles and formats, and the following are the most common:

  • Flat Racing:
    The most popular style of racing in the world, it requires the horse and rider to navigate a flat track in the shape of an oval or figure-eight. Turf and dirt are the two most common surfaces, and the distance of a race often ranges from 440 yards to 2 ½ miles.
  • Harness Racing:
    The horses move at a regulated gait while pulling a driver behind them in a two-wheeled cart known as a “sulky.” The gait is known as a trot or pace, and any horse that begins to gallop must be taken to the outside of the track until it resumes the proper style of movement.
  • Endurance Racing:
    This form of racing takes place over much longer distances. The shortest is known as a “pleasure ride” and goes for 10 to 20 miles, while the longest are referred to as “endurance rides” and last up to 250 miles.
  • Jump Racing:
    In addition to running, this style also requires the horse to successfully leap over objects. Depending on the part of the world and the specific style of the race, it can be known as hurdling, steeplechasing, or National Hunt racing.


Whether you attend the local track, watch the races at an OTB facility, or take part in live events streamed on the Internet, there are plenty of ways to get involved with horse race betting. In addition to being a welcome change of pace from the wagering opportunities offered by most athletic competitions, the Sports of Kings also offers a surprising variety of tracks and breeds. From North America to Asia, this is one pastime that’s here to stay.