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How to Bet on Horse Racing – Placing Bets on Horses Online Guide

<p>AP Photos</p>

AP Photos

A sport as old as gambling itself, horse racing has been around for no less than seven centuries and people have been gambling on it for equally as long. Despite being around for so long, however, people are more recently becoming educated on how to bet on horse racing, how to place a horse racing bet, and the different types of bets horse racing can offer. 

Let’s take a deeper dive into the basics and how you can get involved in the action online.

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How to Bet On Horse Racing

When it comes to betting on horse racing, there are three primary options for bettors to get in on the action. The most straightforward is at a racetrack, where you communicate with a teller in-person the race number, horse number, bet type, and amount you want to bet. All of this information will be available in a booklet or on a posted board.

While the number of racetracks has fallen in recent years, you can also bet on horse racing at most casinos, as well as Off Track Betting (OTB) locations.

Most common in states such as Arizona, California, and the ones in the northeast, OTBs are local establishments that accept horse racing bets, and often offer seating areas and televisions for viewers to watch their money in action. 

For these in-person options, you will be handed a paper slip with confirmation of your bet, which you’ll then use to redeem any winners.

How to Bet On Horses Online

If you are more prone to use your computer or mobile device, there are online options as well, such as TVG, Xpressbet, and TwinSpires. Depending on what state you live in, major sportsbooks such as FanDuel and DraftKings will have partnerships with preferred operators.

For online-only players, your account will be credited automatically with your winnings.

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Types of Bets for Horse Racing

With no shortage of ways to bet on a horse race, let’s look at a few of the most basic terms when learning how to bet on horses.


Just as it sounds; if your horse wins the race, you win your bet.


To win a “Place” bet, you’re wagering that your horse comes in first or second place in the race. Though the odds will be shorter, your probability to win increases from an outright win.

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Building on the “Place” bet, to win a “Show” bet, your horse must come in first, second, or third place in the race. The payout is often much lower than Win or Place but does give you some extra cushion.


An exacta is the most common of the “exotic” betting options in horse racing, as it offers higher payouts with the catch being you must bet on multiple horses in a single bet. In this bet, you’re picking two horses to finish first and second in exact order.

For a lower payout, a bettor can also “box” an exacta, which means the two horses can finish in either order for you to win your bet.

The Major Horse Races to Bet On

While we will be getting into the big horse racing betting guides as the Triple Crown races kick up early next year, what are the major races? Each year, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont States are the big three that get the international sports community’s attention.


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