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Horse Racing

How to Bet On Horse Races

Horse racing and gambling go hand-in-hand, in fact some say the two wouldn’t survive without each other. Many millions of dollars are wagered on horse racing every day in the US, with the sport most popular around the time of the Triple Crown.

There are many ways to gamble on each and every race, and here you’ll see an explanation of each bet type.

Horse Racing Betting – Pools

All horseracing betting is done in a pool, otherwise known as pari-mutuel betting.

All of the stakes are added together to form the overall pool, and after the track have taken out their cut, this pool will be divided out equally amongst all of the winners. In horse racing all winnings are declared to a two dollar stake.

Win Bets in Horse Racing

In the win market you’re simply betting on which horse will win the race. This is the most popular bet in horse racing – with the win pools normally exceeding every other market. The return you will get depends on the total pool, divided by the bets for each horse. The ‘favorite’ is simply the horse with the most bets, if this horse wins, then a lot of people get paid, meaning the payout per ticket is smaller.

Place Betting

In the place market you are betting on the horse to finish either first or second. You’ll receive a lower payout on this market then the win market, as you have double the chance. If you think an outsider has a chance of upsetting the favorite, then this bet is an option to get good odds, while reducing your total risk.

Show and Across the Board Bets

A bet on this market is for a horse to finish first, second or third. Once again here you’ll receive a lower payout than you would on either the win market or the place market.

You are also able to place an ‘across-the-board’ bet which covers the win, place and show markets – you’ll win all three bets if the horse wins – the place and show if the horse comes second, and just the show bet if the horse comes third.

Exacta and Trifecta Bets

In the Exacta market you have to correctly predict the horses that finish first and second, in the correct order. Obviously this is much tougher than predicting just the winner, so therefore the rewards are much greater. In this market you’ll win more if two outsiders finish first and second, then you would if two favorites occupy those places.

You can also place a bet called an exacta box, where you can cover different combinations. For example, an exacta box on numbers one, two and three covers all combinations of those numbers coming first and second. The more horses you include in the exacta box the more bets it will cost you. Three horses will cost you six bets and four horses will cost you twelve bets. A two horse exacta box is just two bets and covers those finishing in the first two in either order.

The Trifecta is very similar to the Exacta, except with this bet you have to predict the horses coming in first, second and third. This market has one of the highest payouts in horse racing. Trifecta Box betting is also available – a three horse box costs six bets, a four horse box costing twenty four bets.

horse racing at bookmaker

Horse Racing Betting – the Daily Double

This is a bet where you have to pick the winners of two consecutive races. The most popular daily double bet is on the first two races, however some tracks offer a rolling daily double, covering the 1st and 2nd races, then the 2nd and 3rd races, the 3rd and 4th and so on.

Pick Six Bet – Your Shot at a Big Payout

This is the most exotic bet with the biggest payouts in horse racing. This wager requires you to pick six winners in a row – and the rewards for doing so can be huge. On many occasions, the pick six will not be won on a given day, and the prize fund will roll over to the following day. In most cases, a percentage of the prize fund is paid out to players who pick five winners (normally 25% of the pool will be set aside for tickets with five winners).

Many successful Pick Six bettors use a multiple selection strategy. For example, you could pick two horses in each race to give yourself more chance of advancing past each race. This would cost 64 (2*2*2*2*2*2) bets.

On occasions, when the pick six has rolled over on more than occasion, the tracks will publicize the fact, the bigger the fund, the bigger the buzz around the bet.

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