Beginner’s Guide for How to Bet on Horse Racing

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Beginner’s Guide for How to Bet on Horse Racing

Author: American Gambler Staff | Last Updated: May 5, 2023

Horse racing is a renowned activity worldwide and has consequently garnered considerable interest from gamblers. Typically, the concluding phase of the race attracts numerous wagers. The process of how to bet on horse racing may seem uncomplicated – merely choosing a horse and staking a bet. However, thorough research and contemplation are necessary to make an informed selection.

Becoming extremely familiar with how to bet on horse racing can be advantageous for seasoned bettors looking to place wagers.

Best US Sportsbooks to Bet on Horse Racing

Some Beginner-Friendly Bets for Racing

Straight betting means that novice bettors must become familiar with the concepts of winner, second place (place), and third place (show). 


This bet is probably the simplest and easiest to understand. You place your bets on the horse that you think will win the race. If it does, you win; however, if it doesn't, you lose.


This bet targets which horse you believe will come first or second. The winnings of this type of bet are lower than those of the bet on the winner since there's more flexibility in the final position. However, it's also safer because you get paid if the horse is in any of the first two places.


Here, you bet your horse will arrive in any of the first three places. Since the stake is much more cushioned and safer, your chances of winning are much higher. However, the payouts for these bets are consequently significantly lower.

Across the Board

An “across the board” bet is betting on a single horse to win, place or show in a particular event. It requires spending three times the amount of a single bet (one bet each for win, place and show), but can pay out much more. 

If you place an across-the-board bet and the horse finishes second, you win the “place” and the “show” bet but not the “win” bet. If it wins, you collect on all three; if it comes in third, you only collect on the “show” bet. 

Exotic Bets

Exotic bets refer to bets on more than one horse at a time. Betting on multiple horses means you don't have to settle on just one outcome, so the profit potential is significantly higher. However, this can quickly become risky if you are not careful. Exotic betting requires experience, so an easy initiation into horse racing for beginners includes observing first and experimenting later.

Tips and Tricks to Keep in Mind

Many online publications are available where you can find some free tips from the most popular and successful tipsters.

However, you must also be willing to complete your own research before betting on horse racing. All the most relevant statistics for this purpose are freely available online, and you can consult them at will. 

This includes:

  • The history of the horses
  • History of the Jockeys
  • Conditions of the race in question (some horses do best on a particular type of surface)

There are a variety of bets, each with different returns, so it is crucial to understand how each bet works. Finding a reputable and licensed online sportsbook is also an essential part of horse racing betting. Bettors should look for one that offers good value and bonuses for new bettors and valuable promotions for current bettors. 

American Gambler Staff