Horse race betting is not something new. Since the horses started running, people have started betting on horse racing.

People bet on running horses for so many reasons. Some do it for fun, some do it to make money. And if you know how to beat the odds, then you have a good opportunity to win big.

So, here we have curated a whole list of tips for how to bet on horse races for beginners.

It will guide you to calculate your odds more precisely, along with the types of bets, and the whole procedure to place a bet.

But before we dive into how to bet on horse racing and the related procedures, let’s have a look at the fun facts related to sports betting and why it is such a good source of entertainment for some people.

Why Is Horse Race Betting Fun And Entertaining?

Horse race betting these days is losing its charm. When you go and ask someone to visit a horse racetrack, they would tell you that it is old-school, it’s a waste of time and money, and someone would even say “That’s how my grandpa got broke”.

What I would say is watching those horses running on the racetrack will give you an adrenaline rush and it is a wonderful experience.

Sport betting is way different than gambling in a casino. Here you won’t be sitting in a shady room full of frauds and phonies. It’s entertaining and you will be predicting which horse will win the race.

There’s a lot of history and tradition surrounding horse betting. Regardless if you win or lose, the experience is always worth it.

You can even take your family to a horse race. If you don’t want to place your bet that’s fine, but it is a good sport just like any other sport.

If you take your family to a basketball game, the tickets will cost you around 400 plus food. Whereas, if you visit a horse racing track, it will cost you around a couple of bucks. It can be a unique date too.


Types of Horse Racing Bets

If you want to go professional, then read a horse betting guide book for more elaborated explanations and tips. If you are looking for basic tips for betting on a horse race, then here is what you need to know.

There are two types of horse racing bets that you can choose. Those are the straight bets and exotic bets. If you are a beginner, it is best for you to go for the straight bets.

Straight bets are cheaper and easier to bet. You can choose one horse and place your bet for 1st, 2nd, or for the 3rd positions.

A straight wager will cost you around just a couple of bucks. When it comes to exotic wagers, things get a little complicated and risky.

With exotic wagers, you can place multiple horse bets. For winning on exotic wagers, you will need a lot of experience, and advanced knowledge and skills in horse picking. Though they are worth it because the pay is way higher than straight wagers.

What Are Straight Wagers in Horse Racing?

WIth a straight wager, you can place your bet on only one horse. Now, there are subcategories under straight wagers.

  1. WIN- When you are betting for WIN, it means that your horse will come in first place and you can collect the winning amount.
  2. PLACE- If you bet that your horse will either come first or second, it is called PLACE. The winning amount is less than the WIN amount.
  3. SHOW- If you bet that your horse will either come first, second, or third, it is called SHOW, and obviously the winning amount is less than the PLACE wager.
  4. ACROSS THE BOARD-Also known as a combo straight wager, it means that you are betting for WIN, PLACE, and SHOW. It’s like placing three bets at the same time on one horse. If the horse you placed your bet on comes in first, you will get the WIN amount, if it comes in second, you will get the PLACE amount, and if it comes third, you will get the show money. This is expensive, risky, and less profitable.

What Are Exotic Wagers in Horse Racing?

As said above, in exotic wagers, you have the opportunity to bet on more than one horse at a time. This is a tad more riskier than straight wage but is way more profitable.

Exotic wagers are hard to win and can get expensive if you don’t know what you are doing.

Exotic wagers have sub-categories under them. Here is more of it in detail.

  1. EXACTA- In Exacta, you will be placing your bet on two horses for the first and second position and they will need to come in the same exact order.

For example, you have placed your bet on horse No. 5 and No. 9 as first and second respectively, they need to win in the exact same order for you to collect the money.

You can also place a BOX Exacta bet. This means both the horses can come in any order and you will still win. However, the cost gets doubled when you place a BOX Exacta bet.

  1. QUINELLA- Quinella is more like a box Exacta where you can bet on any two horses, and if both the horses come in any top two positions, then you will WIN. 

Though there is a difference in ticket cost between Exacta and Quinella. If a Quinella costs two bucks, a BOX Exacta will cost four bucks. But, the payout of BOX Exacta is more than Quinella.

This is a core horse betting strategy. The more you invest, the more you gain.

  1. TRIFECTA- With a Trifecta bet, you’re betting on three horses for first, second, and third position in order.

You can collect if all three horses win in the exact same order. Trifecta can be boxed as well, like Exacta. The cost will also eventually go up when you box your Trifecta bet.

  1. SUPERFECTA- You place your bet on four horses who will finish in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in an exact order. You can also box your Superfecta bet

How To Bet On Horses?

The first step is to pick the horse/s. Note down the horse number. Once you are done, you need to find one of the bookmakers to place the bet. Next is:

  • Choose the type of bet
  • Decide the bet amount
  • Collect your pick from the bookmakers and tell them the bet type,  horse number and the bet amount.

The minimum bet amount will be displayed on the result board or you can also ask the bookmakers. When you place a bet, the bookmarker will hand you a ticket. Keep it close and safe. You will need the ticket to collect the money if you win.


When you are placing your bet, make sure you study the horse’s performances, the jockey, and their winning statistics for different race distances. You can also place your bet online with the online bookmakers.