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What Should I Consider When Betting on a Horse Race?

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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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While betting on a horse race may be a good way to get some additional money, there are a number of things to consider when looking at the most appropriate choices. For example, betting on the favorite is often not the best bet to make. Whether the favored wins or not, there are plenty of other bets and ways to make money when betting on a horse race.

The first thing to consider is what type of bet one wishes to place. The most common bets are the straight up bets, such bets to win, place or show. A win bet pays if the horse chosen wins the race. A place bet pays if the horse places first or second. A show bet pays if the horse places third or better. If a horse is bet to show and places first, the person placing the bet will get a lower payout than had he or she bet on the horse to win.

The other types of bets to consider when betting on a horse race are called exotic bets. They run the gambit of choices. An exacta bet is a bet meant to predict the horses that finish first or second in that order, and is the most common type of exotic bet. A quintella bet predicts the horses that finish to the top two spots, no matter the order. A trifecta predicts the first three finishers in exact order. A superfecta predicts the first four in that order.

Naturally, the more difficult the bet, the higher the payout. Therefore, it may be that one win per day at the track on an exotic bet can put a gambler ahead very quickly. These are very lucrative, but very difficult, bets. In some cases, betting on a horse race becomes betting on multiple horse races. Some tracks will offer bets such as a daily double, where gamblers can try to pick the winners of two selected races. In other cases, it may be possible to choose the winners of more than two races.

Betting on a horse race is often done through what is known as a parimutuel betting system. This pools all bets of a certain type into a single entity. Once done, the payouts are based on the amount in that pool, minus a cut for the track. In some cases, a horse can be so heavily favored that, if it wins, the track may actually lose money. However, in these cases, the payouts are usually very low.

Therefore, many of those who try to make a living at the track may try to choose a winning horse that is in the middle of the odds such as being 8/1 to 14/1. This will provide a good return on investment, should the horse win. Choosing horses with lower odds may increase the chances of winning, but in cases of loss, it will take more time to regain those losses.

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Feryll
Post 3

My uncle took me to the race track when I went to visit him a couple of weeks ago. I have seen horse races on TV and I have seen TV shows and movies about gambling and people who bet on horse racing, but I had no experience with any of this in real life. In fact, this was my first time setting foot on the grounds of a horse racing track.

The whole atmosphere is so chaotic and confusing. I went into the area where you place your bets and I was intimidated. There were people all around and people lining up, and everyone seemed to be in a rush. I felt like I was in the way

. My uncle helped me place a couple of bets, and the rest of the time I just stayed in my seat and watched everything that was going on around me.

Most of the time, what was happening around the stadium was more interesting than the races themselves.

Drentel
Post 2

@Laotionne - Like this article alludes to, if you are betting on horse races and you are only betting on the horse to win then your chance of winning money is very slim. Sure you could get lucky, but the odds are not in your favor.

I am by no means a professional gambler, but I do know you have to vary the amounts and types of bets you make when you bet on horse racing. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is that they only bet on which horse they think will win.

Laotionne
Post 1

Who knew betting on horses was so complicated. I was under the impression that when you were going to bet on a horse race you looked at all the horses in the field, chose the one you thought had the best chance of winning, and then you bet on that horse. I didn't know there could be so may options. I have to admit that the options make the process of betting more entertaining.

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