Horse Racing Betting Guide 2024

Horse betting has been a popular pastime ever since the 1600s, with gamblers in the court of King James I eagerly placing bets. The popularity of horse racing betting increased in the 1800s, with wagers moving from simple bets on a horse’s speed and stamina to predictions on more sophisticated outcomes.

Today, horse racing is a multi-billion sports betting industry, with punters around the world placing bets and wagering on horse racing odds. Thanks to advancements in technology, betting sites make horse betting more convenient and more accessible than ever, with no need to visit the track in person. Simply place your bets online, watch a live stream, and you’ll be able to enjoy horse racing betting whenever and wherever you like. Take a look at our guide to horse racing betting and sportsbooks, and start enjoying the sport of kings today!

Horse Racing Betting Guide 2024
Ethan Lim
Written byEthan LimWriter
Researched byMatteo BianchiResearcher
Understanding Horse Betting

Understanding Horse Betting

When you’re looking to start betting on horses, you’ll need to find the right sportsbook first. In order to do this, you’ll need to consider factors such as:

  • Horse racing odds
  • Sportsbook bonuses
  • Live streaming
  • Betting markets
  • Reputation
  • Safe payment methods
  • Legitimate licensing
  • Responsible gambling help
  • Customer support

Sports betting online

Once you’ve had a look at the options available to you and chosen the online sports betting site that’s right for you, you’ll need to open a sportsbook account in order to place wagers. Here’s how:

  1. Register an account and login with your username and password.
  2. Add money to your account with your chosen payment mechanism.
  3. Depending on the website you choose, you’ll also be able to claim a sign-up bonus from the site as well.
  4. Once you have money in your account and you’re ready to start wagering, choose ‘Horse Racing’ from the category menu bar and take your pick of the races available.
  5. Find the bet you’d like to place, and click on the racing odds related to it.
  6. The various bet types will then become available.
  7. Simply enter the amount you’d like to wager, click ‘Place Bet’, and your bet will be confirmed!
Understanding Horse Betting
Types of Horse Racing Odds

Types of Horse Racing Odds

Visit any of the online betting sites that allow for wagering on horse races, and you’ll find a number of different options to choose from.


One of the simplest bets in horse racing, a bet on a win (also known as a straight bet) means that you’re wagering on a particular horse to win a race outright. If the horse comes anywhere other than first place, you won’t win any money on your wager.


Place wagers are bets placed on horses to finish either first or second in a race in North America. In Europe, Asia and Australia, these bets work slightly differently in that the number of places varies depending on how many horses are taking part in the race. For example, with seven or fewer runners, the first two finishers would be winners with a place bet, while three finishers would count for a race of eight or more runners.


Placing a show bet means you’re betting that a particular horse will finish in either first, second or third place. Show bets are only available in North America.

Across the board

Another North American bet, wagering across the board, means placing a bet on a horse to either win, or finish second or third. If the horse does finish in the winning position, you’ll be paid for all three positions, or the place and show spots for second place. If the horse finishes third, you’ll win the show money.


Outside North America, you’ll be able to place an each-way bet, where half of the money you wager will be placed on the horse to win, and half to place. Again, the size of the field will depend on how many places will be paid out in an each-way bet.

Types of Horse Racing Odds
Other Types of Horse Racing Bets

Other Types of Horse Racing Bets

In addition to the most common online betting choices, there are a number of other ways to bet on horse races, most notably with exotic bets. These come in two forms – horizontal and vertical.

Horizontal sports betting


Choose the first and second place horses in exactly the correct order.

Exacta Box:

Choose the two horses to come in first and second, without betting on the exact order. Boxing helps give your wager a little latitude by removing the need to select the correct order.


Correctly predict the exact winning order of horses for first, second and third place.

Trifecta Box:

Box your trifecta bet and choose three horses to come in first, second and third, in any order.


Predict the exact winning order of the first four finishers in a race.

Superfecta Box:

Choose four horses in any combination to come in first, second, third and fourth.

Vertical sports betting

Daily Double: This type of bet requires you to correctly pick the winner in back-to-back races.

Pick 3 & Pick 4: Similar to the Daily Double, these bets require you to choose the winners in either three or four consecutive races. The risk is high, but so is the reward!

Pick 5 & Pick 6: Here you’ll be gambling on the winners of either five or six consecutive races. These types of bets have significant risk attached to them, but can pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars if used wisely.

Other Types of Horse Racing Bets
Online Sportsbook Betting

Online Sportsbook Betting

When it comes to choosing the best online betting site, there are a number of factors you need to take into consideration. Aside from the obvious perks like bonuses and promotions, you also need to ensure that the gambling software your sportsbook offers includes:

  • A wide variety of sports and betting markets.
  • Functionality that allows you to make wagers before, during and after matches or races.
  • User-friendly banking options.
  • Stringent online security.
  • 24/7 multilingual customer support.

To ensure that when you start betting, you’re playing with one of the best sportsbooks around, you’ll also want to consider these important points:


Sportsbooks rely on their reputation, which is why partnering with a trusted software provider is so crucial. To ensure that you’re gambling with a reliable vendor, you’ll need to check that it’s registered in a legitimate territory such as the USA, Great Britain, the EU or Australia. You’ll also need to make sure that it’s properly licensed for legalized sports betting, as gambling operations are strictly monitored and controlled.


The more, the merrier, particularly when it comes to betting on sports. Make sure that your sportsbook offers a wide variety of not just popular sports, but niche ones as well, as this will ensure it caters to a wide audience and will be able to suit all your gambling needs. From bets on sports to esports, fantasy sports, virtual sports and live betting too, a sportsbook that offers a wide selection is a safe bet.


Online sports betting is highly lucrative, with millions in bets changing hands every day. As such, it’s imperative that sportsbooks employ strict security and privacy controls, and keep their user data confidential at all times. Make sure that your sportsbook takes your safety seriously with the highest level of encryption technology, and protects you against online fraud and data theft.

Online Sportsbook Betting
Choosing the Best Online Sports Betting Site

Choosing the Best Online Sports Betting Site

Finding the sportsbook that’s right for you is all about finding the website with the best odds, and that’s why it’s so crucial you know how to read horse racing odds accurately.

Firstly, it’s helpful to know how horse betting works in general. In the USA and in many other countries, wagers are made using pari-mutuel betting, which is a unique type of betting pool. Instead of betting against the sportsbook, you’re betting against the other punters who have placed bets on the same event. All these wagers go into a pool, and after the sportsbook has taken its cut, the remaining money is used to pay the winners. What this means is that as the betting action determines the final odds, pari-mutuel betting odds are not fixed, so payouts can change.

By contrast, fixed-odds betting is set by the sportsbook and is final, so no matter how much money is bet by other punters, the odds and the winnings will remain the same.

How horse racing odds work

While other forms of online sports betting may use decimal odds, horse racing uses fractional odds, which means you’ll see odds displayed as 6/1 or 10/1, for example.

This represents the ratio of the profit to the initial wager made. So if you’re betting on a horse at 6/1, you’ll win $6 for every $1 you wager, including the initial amount you wagered. So, if you bet $1 on 6/1, you will win $7 (your $1 stake + $6 profit). It can be complicated to begin with if you’re new to the sport, but the more experience you gain, the more familiar you’ll become with horse racing odds.

Choosing the Best Online Sports Betting Site
Other Sports to Bet on

Other Sports to Bet on

Over and above horse racing, sportsbooks also offer a wide variety of other popular sports to bet on, including:


As the most-watched sport in the world, soccer (or football) is the number one sport to bet on, with punters wagering over £1 billion in the UK alone.


The third-most popular sport to bet on after soccer and horse racing, tennis offers a variety of bets, such as win bets, low odds tie break bets, and live betting too.


With major tournaments happening year-round involving 78 players at any given time, golf has a variety of odds and outcomes that make it ideal for betting online.


The USA’s biggest event for sports betting, the NFL and the Super Bowl command billions of dollars in bets every year.

Other Sports to Bet on
Sports Betting Tips and Tricks

Sports Betting Tips and Tricks

Give yourself the best chance of succeeding with these handy sportsbook tips and tricks:

Do your research

Studying the form of horses, trainers and jockeys will give you an advantage when selecting the right bet.

Read the odds

Similarly, learning how to read the odds and choosing the website with the best odds will also help contribute to your success.

Play favorites

While everyone loves an underdog, the fact is that favorites win 32% of all races on average, with 85% of all winners coming from the first four favorites in the betting. So if you’re looking for a safe bet, the favorites are where you’ll find it.

Start small

As a beginner, your best bet is to start with a small wager and increase your investment over time as you become more confident. This way you’ll gain the experience you need without risking your bankroll.

Sports Betting Tips and Tricks
About the author
Ethan Lim
Ethan Lim

Ethan Lim, a native of the Lion City, is Singapore’s rising star in the domain of online casino guide localization. He masterfully blends his intimate knowledge of local culture with international gaming standards to produce content that resonates deeply with Singaporeans.

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What is the minimum legal age for sports betting?

In most countries, the legal age for sports betting is 18. However, some US states will not accept bets from persons under the age of 21.

What is the easiest horse racing bet?

The simplest and most popular horse racing bet is the win bet, which involves you betting on a particular horse to win a race outright.

How do I find the best horse betting sites?

To find the best horse racing betting sites, you’ll need to compare what they offer in terms of bonuses, odds, payment mechanisms, security and support.

How do I read horse betting odds?

Horse betting odds are fractional, and expressed as 6/1, for example. This means that for every $1 you wager, you’ll receive $6 profit, plus your stake back, giving you a total of $7 for a $1 bet.

Can I bet on any sport other than horse racing?

Yes. Choose a website that offers a variety of sports and you’ll be able to bet on soccer, tennis, golf, NFL, MMA and many more.