Beginners Guide to Horse Racing Betting

Horses with jockeys running on the turf in front of a large crowd- a metaphor for a guide to horse racing betting
Horse Racing. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Equine sports have been around for thousands of years, with the earliest basic guide to horse racing betting appearing during Roman times. Rome’s Circus Maximus and Constantinople’s Hippodrome attest to the penchant for wagering on equines going back to antiquity. 

Horse racing is amongst the oldest competitive sports in existence. Records of horse racing go back to the second millennium before Christ. The races provided both entertainment and a chance for swarms of spectators to make a quick buck by watching skilled jockeys and charioteers cross the finish line. 

Horse racing has evolved, although its fundamental principles have remained the same. One of these is the enduring link between racing and betting. Today, bettors worldwide wager on race outcomes, either by directly attending events or through off-course bookmakers. 

In fact, betting is one of the primary funding mechanisms of the modern horseracing industry, with sponsorships and prize money derived primarily from this income. Subsequently, most racetracks would not be able to stay afloat without the contributions generated by bookmakers. 

Guide to Horse Racing Betting

Horse racing is jam-packed with thrills and excitement, with even the smallest bets causing adrenalin levels to skyrocket during a race. Even so, many people tend to shy away from trying their luck due to the misconception that horserace wagering is an overly complicated process.

Naturally, like any game of luck, there are some complex aspects. However, the fundamentals remain straightforward. All you need to do is select your horse and place your money on it. You might not always win but giving it a shot is worth a try. 

Types of horse racing

While there are many types of horse racing, the one preferred by punters is thoroughbred racing since it provides the broadest selection of betting opportunities. The other two kinds of racing are harness racing and steeplechase.

Type of bet

While your bet can take many forms, most punters use the straight win bet. Additionally, there are place and show straight bets, as well as five different types of exotic bets.

Is Horse Racing Profitable?

While horse racing is fun, it is also one of the few forms of betting that can generate long-term profits. Although bookmakers will always have an advantage over you, since they set the odds, they are not unbeatable. And, judging by the number of regular bettors that consistently win money at the races, the possibility of anyone striking it rich is realistic.

However, consistent wins are not easy. It takes a lot of practice and experience to master all aspects of the game that are needed to bet on a horse successfully. Ultimately, it can be achieved if you are serious about professionally betting on horse racing and boosting your chances of winning.

Legalities of Horserace Sports Betting Globally

Horserace betting is legal in most parts of the world, although we advise you to double-check your local laws before engaging in any gambling activities. Please remember that online and offline betting laws might differ and vary from region to region. Basic knowledge of the law in your area can keep you safe from any legal issues and will assist you in finding online betting sites that cater to customers in your region.

Most Prestigious Horseracing Events

Horse racing has always been viewed as the pastime of the rich and famous. Although some of these events are glitzy and star-studded, anyone is welcome to enjoy the happening and mingle with the crowd.

Here’s the list of some of the more prestigious horseracing events around the world:

Preakness Stakes

2,000 Guineas Stake

Grand National

Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

Kentucky Derby

Breeder’s Cup

St Leger Stakes

Dubai World Cup

Belmont Stakes

Epsom Derby

Melbourne Cup

Triple Crowns of Racing

Major Racecourses and Racetracks Around the World

Almost every major city has got a horseracing track. Some of these have been around for a long time and are steeped in tradition, while others are more contemporary yet offer superior experiences. 

Here’s our top pick of premium horseracing tracks:




Churchill Downs


Belmont Park




Top 5 Annual Horseracing Events in Canada

Here are five of Canada’s leading horseracing events:

  • Queen’s Plate – Canada’s oldest and most prestigious horse race, first run in 1860. It is held annually in June at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. The race is restricted to three-year-old thoroughbred horses bred in Canada and is run over 1 1/4 miles on the dirt track.
  • Canadian Derby – This is a Grade 3 stakes race held annually at Century Mile Racetrack and Casino in Edmonton, Alberta. It is run over 1 3/8 miles on the dirt track and is open to three-year-old thoroughbreds.
  • Breeders’ Stakes – This is the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown and is held annually at Woodbine Racetrack in August. The race is restricted to three-year-old thoroughbred horses and is run over 1 1/2 miles on the turf track.
  • Woodbine Mile – This is a Grade 1 stakes race held annually at Woodbine Racetrack in September. The race is open to horses aged three and up and is run over one mile on the turf track.
  • Prince of Wales Stakes – This is the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown and is held annually at Fort Erie Racetrack in Ontario. The race is restricted to three-year-old thoroughbred horses and is run over 1 3/16 miles on the dirt track.


We hope our guide to horse racing betting has given you the necessary information and the confidence to place your wager. Good luck, and yeeha!

Frequently Asked Questions

There are numerous horse racing types, although bettors generally prefer thoroughbred racing.

Straight win bet is the most popular betting style, although there are numerous other straight and exotic bets.

The annual Queen’s Cup is the oldest and most prestigious horseracing event in Canada.