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Horse Racing Betting – Understanding the Basics

Horse racing is one of the most popular sports in the world for betting on. The major events in particular attract a huge amount of wagers. Races such as the Kentucky Derby and the Grand National are watched by millions of people, and the vast majority of the audience have some money at stake. That’s WHY they’re watching.

Only a small percentage of people watch horse racing purely for the love of the sport. In fact, if it wasn’t possible to wager on horse races, the sport would probably die out. It’s the betting that ultimately appeals to most fans, as that what’s makes the races interesting for them. It simply wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t have a horse to cheer for. They’d never get that feeling of sheer delight when their selection goes flat out in the final straight to finish first past the post.

The exciting nature of horse racing betting is one reason why it’s so popular. Another reason is that it’s VERY easy to get started. Anyone can place a wager on a horse race without knowing much at all about either horse racing or betting.

With that being said, we believe it’s important to understand a few basics before putting any money at risk. That’s why we’ve put together this section of our horse racing guide. It’s aimed primarily at total beginners, but even those who’ve bet on horse racing before can learn something new here.

We start with some basic information about the sport itself, and then move on to the betting side of things. We also provide some useful tips that should help you to get the most out of betting on horse racing.

Understanding the Sport of Horse Racing

Horse racing is a truly global sport. It’s especially popular in regions such as the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, but there are lots of other countries where racing takes place on a regular basis.

One of the first things you should know about this sport is that it differs in various parts of the world. Horse racing in the United Kingdom, for example, is not quite the same as horse racing in the United States. Although many of the differences are quite minor, it’s a good idea to understand them. The following part of our guide will help with this.

Here you will find lots of useful information about how the sport works in different regions. We’ve covered subjects as regulation and control, the rules of racing and how races are classified. We’ve also included detailed guides to all the major races and events that take place in each region.

Another important thing to understand is that there are several different types of horse racing. Here are some examples.

  • Flat racing
  • Jump racing
  • Steeple chasing
  • Endurance riding
  • Quarter horse racing
  • Harness racing

You don’t necessarily need to learn about each type in detail, but you should certainly learn as much as possible about any type you plan to bet on. It also pays to learn about the different breeds that compete in horse racing. Although this is not exactly ESSENTIAL information, a little bit of knowledge can really help when you’re betting on the sport.

We’ve written articles covering these two topics, and we recommend taking the time to read them both.

We recommend learning all the jargon used in horse racing too, as there are lots of words and phrases used that you may not be familiar with. To help with this, we’ve compiled a comprehensive glossary of horse racing terms. It features all the words and phrases you need to know, with detailed explanations of what they mean.

Please note that this glossary also explains a number of words and phrases relating to betting on the sport. We’ll now look at some of the other things you need to know about actually betting on horse racing.

Understanding Horse Racing Betting

We’ve already mentioned that it’s very easy to get started with horse racing betting. The basics that you HAVE to know are not especially complicated, and you can learn about the more complex aspects as you go along.

The first thing you should understand is all the different ways that you can bet on horse racing. You may not be aware, but there are a few options here. The following are the most common.

  • Fixed odds betting
  • Parimutuel or tote betting
  • Exchange betting

Fixed odds betting is the most popular way to bet on horse racing. This is where you place wagers with a bookmaker at specified odds. If your wager wins, you get paid out at those odds. If it loses, the bookmaker keeps your stake money.

Parimutuel betting is a little different, as there are no odds involved. Payouts are based on how much was wagered on a race in total, and how many people picked the winning horse.

Exchange betting is where you strike wagers with other individuals rather than a bookmaker. This form of betting takes some getting used to, but also offers a few advantages over the other two options.

We explain all these forms of betting in detail on the following page.

This page also covers the various different options you have for WHERE to bet. These include racetrack bookmakers, casino sportsbooks, bookmaking shops and online betting sites.

The next thing you need to understand is that there are several different types of wager you can place on horse races. This often surprises beginners, but there are way more options than simply betting on which horse is going to win.

Some of these options are very straightforward, while others are a little more complicated. We explain them all on the following page, with examples of how they work.

That’s pretty much all you need to know to start placing wagers. If you’re only interested in betting for the fun of it, you can stop reading now if you want. You’ll get plenty of enjoyment out of horse racing betting without ANY further information. You might even get lucky and win a few bucks.

Maybe you don’t want to rely on luck to win though. Perhaps you want to take things a little more seriously, and give yourself a realistic chance of winning money consistently. Is that possible? Definitely! It’s not exactly easy though. There’s more you need to learn, and you’re going to have work hard at your betting.

We can help with this, but we need to make one thing very clear. There’s no shortcut to success when it comes to betting on horse racing. We can offer you some expert advice that will improve your chances of winning, but we can’t provide you with a system that GUARANTEES a profit. No such system exists.

Successful horse racing betting ultimately requires three things. These are as follows.

  • An understanding of value.
  • The ability to manage your money correctly.
  • A defined process for picking your selections.

Don’t worry if you have no idea where to start with any of these. This is where we’re going to help. We’ve written two articles featuring all the information and advice you need. Take the time to read them and you’ll be well on your way to success.

There are several articles in our general sports betting section that you might find useful too. Although none of them are specific to horse racing, a lot of the topics covered are relevant in at least some way. The following articles are especially worth reading.

It may be that you don’t feel ready to take so much information on board yet. That’s fine, as there IS a lot to digest here. There’s nothing wrong with just jumping straight in and then learning more as you go. You should try to form good habits from the start though, so be sure to read the next section. We’ve got a few tips that will help you get the basics right from the moment you place your first wager.

Top Tips For Beginners

You shouldn’t expect to make money from horse racing betting as a beginner. That’s not realistic at all. Success doesn’t come instantly, no matter how well prepared you are. It will take a bit of time until you really know what you’re doing, and are able to make the right decisions on a consistent basis.

This isn’t an excuse to get things completely wrong though. You’ll make some mistakes for sure, but you want to keep those mistakes to a minimum. The more you get right at this stage, the better your chances of long term success.

The tips we’ve provided here will help you to approach things in the right way and avoid making unnecessary mistakes. If you follow them as best you can, you should get your horse racing betting career off to a promising start.

  • Start with small stakes
  • Set an overall budget
  • Don’t bet on every race
  • Avoid parlays
  • Watch the races
  • Don’t be afraid of backing outsiders
  • Bet online

These tips are all pretty straightforward, and don’t need much in the way of further explanation. We’ll now provide a little more detail on each though, just to be sure you understand what you should be doing and why.

Horse RacingStart With Small Stakes

This tip is self-explanatory really. Like we said, it’s not realistic to think that you’re going to make money as a beginner. Losing is FAR more likely, and it’s important that you keep your losses to an acceptable level. Betting for small stakes is a good way to do this.

Horse RacingSet an Overall Budget

This just follows on from the above tip. In addition to staking small amounts, you should also set an overall budget for how much you’re prepared to lose. This will ensure that you stay in control of your betting, and don’t spend more than you can afford.

Horse RacingDon’t Bet on Every Race

Horse racing takes place almost every day in one country or another. This means there are plenty of races to bet on. You don’t have to bet on them all though! There’s no way you can make properly informed decisions when betting on dozens of races each day. It’s MUCH better to be selective, and only bet on races when you’re confident of making a good selection.

Horse RacingAvoid Parlays

Parlays (or accumulators) are popular among horse racing bettors. They involve making multiple selections as part of a single wager, and they can be very lucrative. The problem is that they’re VERY difficult to get right. We strongly recommend that you avoid them as a beginner, and focus on making individual selections.

Horse RacingWatch the Races

Studying a horse’s form can tell you a lot. Analyzing the key statistics can tell you even more. These are both things you should spend time on, but there are certain things that they CAN’T tell you. This is why you need to actually watch the races too. Seeing how the horses run for yourself can give you the kind of insight that you’ll never get from a form guide. It’s this insight that will give you a real edge when it comes to make betting selections.

Horse RacingDon’t be Afraid of Backing Outsiders

Outsiders win horse races all the time. Although it’s not easy to predict WHEN an outsider is going to win, you shouldn’t be afraid to try. A lot of beginners are reluctant to back outsides because they figure the risk is too high, but this is flawed thinking. If there’s a good reason to back an outsider then you should always go ahead and back it. Otherwise you’ll be missing out on a ton of potential value.

Horse RacingBet Online

Betting online is the easiest and most convenient way to place your horse racing wagers. This is a fact. It offers several other advantages too, some of which can directly improve your overall chances of making money. So if you haven’t already done so, you really need to consider signing up with a horse racing betting site.

Just make sure that you choose a good site. Most of them are reasonable enough, but there are only a few that are truly high quality. Check out our recommendations to find the very best.

BEST HORSE RACING BETTING SITESAs recommended by GamblingSites.com