The sport of horse racing is often referred to as the “Sport of Kings” due to the overall cost. However, in recent years, this sport seems to be on its way out of the kingdom, with track attendance drying up around the world. Yes, the Triple Crown events in the United States are still very popular as standalone events, but the idea of “going to the track for the evening” isn’t nearly as alluring as it once was.
Online betting has played a part in the low attendance numbers, but we believe that without the ability to bet on horses from the comfort of your own home, the sport might be in an even faster rate of decline. Many sites allow you to bet on horses, but finding the best ones can prove a bit tricky for the untrained eye. In addition to our introduction on this page, we’ve also created some detailed articles on the specifics of handicapping and betting on horses written by our resident in-house expert:
- How to Read a Horse Betting Program
- How to Bet on Turf Racing
- How to Bet on Dirt Tracks
- Using Speed Figures for Betting
- Understanding Pace Handicapping
- Basics of The Horse Racing Class System
- Using the Class System For Betting
- Saratoga Race Track Betting Guide
- Gulfstream Park Betting Guide
- Belmont Park Betting Guide
Features of a Good Horse Racing Betting Site
At Betting News, we have a team of sports betting experts who review every site we can find. Our goal is to bring you the most up-to-date information from around the betting world, as well as rankings of our favorite betting sites. When it comes to Horse Racing betting sites, our criteria is slightly different than for other sports. Have a look at some of the items our team is looking for when reviewing these sites.
Races and Tracks Offered
Despite the shrinking of the industry, there are still dozens of horse tracks in the United States and around the world. We assume that the majority of sites will offer odds on popular races like the Triple Crown Races and Kentucky Derby.
However, the best sites in our opinion are the ones that offer the most tracks for betting on the ponies. Even the smaller races from obscure locations give you a chance to feel the rush, so when we review the sites, we look for those that have races running throughout the day.
With so many tracks offering races, there still isn’t much horse racing on television these days. Off Track Betting locations will have the tracks coming in on closed feeds, so unless you are heading to one of those, you will likely be looking for a place to watch the races you are betting on online. The top Horse Racing betting sites offer their players a live stream from most of the tracks, which means you can follow along with the races as opposed to just waiting for the results to post. Seeing the action on your computer or mobile device can also help when horses are scratched, as this can have an impact on betting right up until post time.
These days, more people are making their bets from phones or tablets rather than sitting in front of their PCs. The online betting industry has worked hard to ensure that their mobile offering is a robust as the desktop one, but not all sites have succeeded. When we review a site, we take a detailed look at the mobile offering, giving each site a full test to make sure the interface is intuitive. We want you to be able to make your bets quickly and accurately, and this is especially true when looking at the intricacies of horse racing bets. Most sites offer a browser-based version of their mobile product, but we give extra credit to those that offer a native app for either iOS or Android.
Basic Horse Racing Betting Strategy
While there is a lot of interest in the Triple Crown races (The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness, and The Belmont), there are hundreds of races being run every day at tracks around the world. Gaining a sense of the basic betting strategies is a good place to start for every stakes level of bettor, so we have broken down 5 simple rules to follow.
Understand the odds
Betting on horse races is unlike any other type of sports betting. Let’s start with the fact that the races are subject for the most part to pari-mutuel odds. These are odds that are dictated by the amount bet on a horse as a percentage of the entire pool of bets being made on a race. This is much different than the fixed odds for other sports. For horse racing, the larger the race, the larger the pool of money. Once the house removes their cut, the remaining amount of money is used to determine the odds. This eliminates any risk for the operator of course, and it puts the power of oddsmaking into the players’ hands.
The types of bets you can make on a horse race are also slightly more complicated than on another sporting event. We have a whole page dedicated to explaining exactas, trifectas and pick sixes – if those bets didn’t ring a bell, then you should definitely head right to that page.
Research – do it.
Horse racing betting comes down to how much information you can gather on a horse. This can be anything from the info on the lineage of the horse to the breeder and trainer, to the jockey-horse combination and if they have had success in the past. All of this information comes from different sources, but you would be best served to both look online and subscribe the Daily Racing Form, which is considered the industry standard for horse racing data. Horse racing is also a very personal sport, so maybe you have some connections at tracks or training facilities which may be able to offer some information you can’t find anywhere else. This would be a good time to comb through your Facebook friends to see if any of them have an interest in horses…
No matter what, horse racing bets, like any other sport, require you to have done enough research to make informed decisions on the outcome.
Follow the leader
Sometimes, even reading all the available information doesn’t make things any more clear for you. In this case, you need to turn to the experts. There are many handicapping services to which you can subscribe, where you can get insider information from experts in the field. Of course, they are also gambling on the races, so they are in the same position as you, but their experience and expertise can be worth the few bucks you shell out for their assistance.
Watch for late scratches
The one issue with horse racing that occurs time and time again is the late scratches of horse from a field. This can be for injury or other factors, but this will have a direct impact on the odds and your bets. You want to be playing with a site that offers live updates if possible, or else you will need to find a site that lets you know the late changes. Also, finding a site that offers a live stream from different tracks can help keep you up to date and interested in each race. This can also mean the difference between making adjustments to your bets in time, so you have a better chance of winning with the new information on your side.
Manage your bankroll
This one seems obvious to most people, but when it comes to betting on horses, there are far too many factors that put novice gamblers in a terrible position to end a session a winner. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to tread slowly into the waters of horse racing betting. The races aren’t going anywhere, and not every “sure thing” comes in, so make sure the bankroll you bring to the track is representative of what you can afford to lose while being entertained by the races themselves. Yes, this sounds like we are sheltering you…but, in the long run, you will thank us.
The Best Horse Racing Betting Sites
For horse racing fans, finding the best site to bet with involves a different set of parameters than for other sports betting. When we review sites with an eye to what horse racing enthusiasts need, a different list of sites bubbles to the top. Whether this is because horse racing is legal in many of the United States, or the operators understand the sport better than most, the list we have compiled of the Best Horse Racing Betting Sites includes many names that won’t be familiar to sports bettors. Don’t worry – the fact that these sites have made this list is proof that our reviewers liked what they saw enough to award the highest ratings. These sites offer the best of everything from live streams of tracks, odds and information, and the easiest betting interfaces so you can make your wagers quickly and without any errors.
This page is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to strategies for betting on horses. There are so many systems and concepts out there these days that you could dedicate a significant amount of time to learning them all. We think the best way to start is to make some small bets while following some of the advice our experts have provided above. That way, you can become comfortable with the concept of betting on horse racing before you jump into some system that requires a form of commitment.