All About Horse Racing

Horse races vary widely in format. Some horse races include particular breeds, some require running over obstacles, and some have running in different gaits. When it comes to horse breeds, the most common one for racing are Thoroughbred, Arabian and American Quarter Horses.

The world’s biggest races are open only to Thoroughbreds. A Thoroughbred is a specific breed that was developed in England during the 17th and 18th centuries. So if you have any sports betting bonus codes hidden away somewhere, you can use them for a special Thoroughbred.

Arabian is one of the oldest breeds of horses there is. Arabian horses have existed for over 4,000 years. Originating on the Arabian Peninsula, Arabian horses were used primarily for war. Even in harsh desert areas, Arabian horses were used for long distance treks to faraway lands, as well as fast invasions of enemy camps.

The American Quarter horses are used for a wide range of equestrian activities, such as shows, races and rodeos. The Quarters are well suited for short races, because they have the ability to spring over short distances.

All over the world, right throughout every year, major horse racing events are held to the delight, spectacle and hoped for profit of millions of racing fans. The biggest American horse races are the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and Breeder’s Cup. In the UK, the major events are the Grand National, British Classics and Cheltenham Festival. In Australia, the most watched races are the Melbourne Cup, Australian Derby and Australian Cup.

Forms of Horse Racing

The common forms of horse racing are Flat Racing, Jump Racing and Endurance Riding.

Flat Racing

Flat Racing is the most widely used format for horse racing in the world. This kind of racing takes place on a flat surface, without any jumps or hurdles. Flat Racing is usually for Thoroughbred horses.

On most race tracks around the world, turf tracks are the typical choice for this kind of race, but dirt tracks and synthetic tracks are also used. Synthetic tracks are particularly used in the UK, because the bad weather usually leaves dirt and turf tracks unusable. There are four racecourses in the UK that use synthetic surfaces (which called “all-weather tracks”) - Lingfield Park, Kempton Park, Southwell and Wolverhampton.

Jump Racing

Jump Racing mostly features Thoroughbred horses. This form of racing is considered more dangerous than Flat Racing due to the obstacles that the horses have to jump over. These obstacles can be fences, ditches or hurdles.

Jump Racing’s increased risks have led it to being stopped in some countries like Australia. It is still popular in the UK, Ireland and France. It is also played in the US, where it is more commonly called steeplechasing.

In the UK and Ireland, Jump Racing is formally called National Hunt racing and there are two kinds: Steeplechases and Hurdles. In Hurdles, the obstacles have to be over 3.5 feet high and the race is at least two miles long. In Steeplechases, the obstacles are plain fences, water jumps and open ditches.

Endurance Racing

As you may have guessed, Endurance Racing is racing over a much longer distance. Any breed of horse can take part in Endurance Racing, but it is commonly the Arabian horses that are used because of their natural stamina.

Endurance Racing is not as popular as Flat or Jump Racing, but it is recognised by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI).

Endurance races can be anywhere between 50 or 100 miles long. The exact rules vary depending on the race course, but the winner is the horse that crosses the finish line first. In these kinds of races, horses have to stop at designated points where they are checked by a vet and have to pass as fit in order to continue.

Types of Horse Races to Bet On

Here are the common types of horse races that you can watch and bet on:

  • Allowance - A non-claiming race with special entry conditions.
  • Claiming – A race where the horses are for sale at a predetermined price. The horses are claimed before the running of the race. The new owner, however, does not assume control of the horse until the race has finished.
  • Derby - Derbies are stakes for three-year old horses.
  • Distaff - A race for female horses.
  • Handicap - A stakes race where horses are assigned weights to be carried, based on the specific conditions of the race.
  • Maiden - A race for non-winning horses.
  • Marathon - A race that involves a distance of 1 to 1.25 miles, or longer.
  • Oaks - A kind of stakes race for three-year old fillies.
  • Route - A race with a distance of one mile, or longer.
  • Sprint - A race with a distance of less than one mile.
  • Stakes - A high-level race where only horses of high quality participate.

Types of Horse Racing Bets

In horse racing bets, there are two main types that you can select from. First is the Straight Wager. Straight wagers are simple. All you have to do is pick one horse to come in first, second or third.

The second is the Exotic Wager. Exotic wagers allow you to make multiple bets of multiple horses on a single wager. As you may have guessed, Exotic bets are much more complicated than straight bets. When you make Exotic bets through top sports betting sites, you have to have advanced knowledge in horse selection and horse racing results.

Straight Bets

With straight bets, remember that you only wager on one horse. Here are the common types of straight bets on horse racing.

1) Win

A Win is a wager where you have to bet on a horse that will finish in first place.

2) Place

When you wager on a horse to “place”, you are betting that this horse will come in first or second place. If the horse does come in in first or second, then you get to collect. The winnings that you get for a Place bet is generally lower than a Win.

3) Show

When you place a Show bet, you bet on a horse to come in first, second or third place. If you get it right, you collect. The winnings that you get from a Place bet is generally lower than a Win bet or Place bet.

4) Across the Board

When you bet across the board, you are betting that your chosen horse will win, place and show. An Across the Board bet is also called “Combo Straight Wager”, because it’s practically three different bets in one. Although you have good chances of winning, an Across the Board wager is usually more expensive and has less profit potential.

Exotic Bets

If you are already familiar with horse racing and you want to take some risky bets, you can try placing exotic wagers. These kinds of wagers involve much thinking and research on your part. But if you do get it right, you can turn a small amount of money into a huge payout.

1) Exacta

If you want to make an Exacta bet, you have to predict the two horses that will come in first and second place in that exact order. This type of bet is popular among regular race bettors because the payoff can be very lucrative.

There are also some bookies that will allow you to “Box” your bet. This means that the two horses that you pick can come in any order, as long as it’s the top two spots. To “Box” in your bet can cost twice as much as the Exacta bet, so if you do that, you will not earn as much.

2) Trifecta

When making a Trifecta bet, you have to predict the top three horses of the race, and which will come specifically in first, second and third place. Just like in Exacta, you do have the option to “Box” your pet, but you will have a bigger payoff if you just stick with the regular Trifecta.

3) Superfecta

This is a difficult kind of bet where you need to predict four horses that will finish the race in first, second, third and fourth in the exact order. This takes a lot of research and analysis on your part, but if you get it right, then you will be bringing home a large wad of cash!

4) Daily Double

The Daily Double is similar to the Win bet, but you pick two horses that will win two consecutive races. Daily Doubles are usually offered for first two races and the last two races of the day.

5) Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 6

In Pick 3, you have to select three horses that must win three consecutive races. In Pick 4, you must choose four horses that will win four consecutive races. In Pick 6, you have to pick six horses who have to win six consecutive races. These Pick bets get more difficult as you raise the number of horses to select, but there are huge payoffs to collect if you happen to get them right.

Tips for Betting on Horse Races

When it comes to horse races, the first thing that you need to note is that anything can happen. Your horse doesn’t win every time, and you can get very surprised by the outcomes. To be successful in horse race betting, you need a basic understanding of sports odds. If you are a beginner, you can start by making Win bets with fixed odds. This is pretty easy to do, all you have to do is pick a horse and then watch how the race unfolds.

If you want to make riskier bets for greater chances of profit, then you need advanced knowledge in horse racing. So how exactly do you pick a winning horse? There are literally hundreds of opinions our there about what makes a winning horse. And while luck is always a factor on whether you win or lose a bet, the surest way you can make better wagers is by learning more and more about live horse racing.

When you want to bet on horse racing, you have to take into consideration many factors, such as:

  • Current form of the horse
  • Overall performance of the horse
  • The current horse trainer
  • The current jockey
  • Speed rating
  • Class
  • Fitness
  • And Course Record

After you have researched these factors, you should analyse what you have compiled and make smarter and more well-informed decisions when wagering on horse races.

If you want to try more elaborate bets like Trifectas and Superfectas, you should try record keeping. Record keeping allows you to note down the strengths and weaknesses of horses throughout several races. This will allow you to figure out which types of races and which types of bets produce the best results for you.

As you spend more time on horse races, you will eventually find statistics that are far more relevant than others. This is where your experience will start to count, because you can fine tune your evaluations based on your understanding of the game. You can then develop personal strategies that you will use regularly when wagering at the latest and greatest online sportsbooks.

There is no secret formula that will make you win all of your racing bets, but with dedication and patience, you can make better and cleverer bets while enjoying the race.

Lastly, you should always be a responsible bettor. The excitement and suspense of a race can really get into your head, and it can be easy to forget how much money you’ve already wagered. So make sure that you always stick to some kind of money management. Set a limit, and stick to it. This way, you get to enjoy the horse racing experience even more.

Start Betting on those Ponies!

Now that you know the kinds of bets you can make and some helpful horse racing tips, you can start wagering and making money! The suspense and thrill of knowing that a horse race can make you a bit richer is definitely exciting. You won’t be able to stop yourself from jumping off of your set, pumping your fist in the air and yell “Go! Baby, Go!” as your lucky horse turns the last corner on the track and takes the lead.


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