How To

How to bet at horse racing

Have you ever wanted to go to a horse race, but weren’t sure exactly how to proceed with horse race betting? No need to worry. Slots of Vegas Online Casino has got you covered. Before we get into the strategic art of horse racing odds and horse race betting, you might wonder why anyone should visit a horse race in the first place.

Firstly, watching horse racing at the highest levels in person is a thrilling experience. If dark casinos littered with the occasional shady characters and competitive card sharks isn’t your thing, then horse racing is sure to have what you need. Maybe even with a little sophistication.

At the very least you get to be outside and grab some fresh air as you bear witness to a sport that has a long history and tradition.
Nowadays if you’re looking for a way to spend a day out with friends, many pro sporting events will cost you a small fortune just to get in the door. Most of the professional sporting events talked up by the experts at lines.com will cost you an arm and a leg — if you’re lucky enough to get tickets. But you’d be happy to know that admission to horse racing tracks are often free! Minimum bets can go for as low as a $1, and many allow you to bring your own food and drink. It’s a great way to watch incredible animals perform at the peak of their ability. Slots of Vegas Online Casino wants to share with you what you need to know about the exciting world of horse racing and show you how to bet.

Types of Horse Racing Bets

The two main categories of horse racing bets that take place are straight wagers and exotic wagers. Straight wagers are the simplest types of bet to make, and are recommended if you’re new to the sport. All you need to do is pick one horse and decide if it will come in first, second, or third. Some tracks offer this type of bet for as low as $1, but the standard minimum for a straight bet is usually $2.

The type, exotic wagers, allow for a combination of bets on more than one horse for each wager made. Not surprisingly, these types of bets are harder to predict accurately than straight wagers. Though they are harder to make, the payoffs for exotic wagers can be extraordinary.

Straight Wagers

Bet to win

You’re betting that your horse will come in first place and win.

Bet to place

This bet is made when you’re betting that a horse will come in first OR second. Payout for place bets are less than a win wager, but the odds are generally better.

Bet to show

This bet is made when you’re betting that your horse will come in first, second, or third. Logically, this bet pays out less than the previous two.

Across the board

This bet is made when you’re betting your horse to win, place, AND show. This bet type is also known as a combo straight wager because technically it’s three different bets in one. These types of bets are more expensive, so e.g. if you’re betting the minimum you’re wager will be threefold the minimum bet. If your horse wins, you win all three bets. If your horse places second, you get place and show money. Lastly, if your horse comes in third, you only get the show money. These types of bets are not recommended because of the high wager-high risk ratio.

Win/Place, Place/Show

This type of bet is very similar to an across-the-board bet with some minor differences. In a win/place bet, you’re betting your horse to win AND place. If he wins, you collect both the win and place money. If he finishes second, you collect just the place money. In a place/show bet, you’re betting that your horse will place and show. If your horse finishes second, you collect the place and show money; if he finishes third, you just get the show money. Once again, these are more expensive bets and should be made with caution.

Exotic Wagers

Exotic wagers allow you to bet on multiple horses at once, drastically increasing your chance to up your profit margin. However, players should be careful, because exotic wagers require much more skill.


You’re betting on two horses to come in first and second in an exact order. For example, if you placed a $2 exacta on horses 3 and 5, you can only collect if horse #3 comes in first and horse #5 comes in second. Exacta bets are popular among skilled horse handicappers because the payoff can be very lucrative. You can also “box” your exacta bet which means your two horses can come in any order in the top two spots and you still win. Boxing an exacta costs twice as much as a straight exacta bet. So a $2 box exacta on horses 3 and 5 will cost you $4.


This type of bet is made when you’re betting that two horses will come in first and second in either order. If you’re two horses come in first and second in any order, you win. This is similar to a box exacta, but the latter is a more expensive bet that pays out more.


This type of bet is made when you are betting three different horses to come in first, second and third in an exact order. You can also perform a box trifecta, where your three picked horses can come in first, second, and third in any order. The latter wager is more costly however than the exact trifecta due to the variety of winning combinations, so be careful which horses you pick.


This type of bet is popular, but exceedingly difficult to predict accurately. It functions the same as a trifecta, but instead of three you wager on four separate horse to place first, second, third and fourth in an exact order. Box superfectas are also possible, but come at an extra cost. Minimum bets for superfectas are generally low, sometimes as low as 10-cents.

Keying a horse

Is an advance term used for only the most skillful horse race better that involves all possible combination for a selected ‘key horse’ (or horses) when combined with other ‘non-key’ horses for a particular type of box bet. A ‘key box’ wager means that you key or select a horse(s) with other horse selections to be included in a particular order. Only your “key” horse can be included with all potential winning combinations. This type of bet is not recommended for beginners.

What to say to the teller when you’re placing your bet

Horse racing odds and horse race betting now seems a little easier doesn’t it? Now that you’re ready to place your bets, be sure to approach a teller at the racetrack. Choose your track and race number if you’re betting on a race that is not at the track you a physically at.

We recommend that you go with a human teller, as you might accidentally make a mistake at an automatic teller and misplace your bet. Have a set amount in mind, know that type of bet you’ll be making beforehand and the horse’s program number. Once you’ve handed the teller your money and he/she have marked down your bet, you will receive a ticket. If you end up winning, you’ll have to hand this ticket back to the teller at the end of the race to claim your money.

How to pick a winning horse (to give you the best horse racing odds)

Well now that you know a little about betting and feel confident on how to do it, there is only one question remaining: what horse(s) should I bet on? Well, if you are a total beginner, you can select at complete random, but if you’re like most people you might want to make the most out of handicapping a horse (this means picking).
There are many factors involved in picking a horse, and while plain old luck is without a doubt the biggest factor, being able to select the right horse makes horse race betting that much more fun.

Get to know the race day program

The biggest factor in successfully handicapping horses depends on how well you can read the race day program. These programs offer tips on how to make smarter bets, and each race will have section on the participating horses, their statistics and race history. It takes a bit of getting used to the race track lingo, but it won’t take long before you’ll be able to read it with confidence.

Class levels

For each race there are different levels of classes. The higher you go up in class, the harder the competition, and the higher the purses. There are four classes in horse races: maiden races, claiming races, allowance races, and stakes races. Racetracks usually only allow horses to race at the same class level, and depending on performance a horse can move up and down in class. Always be sure to pay close attention to your horse’s prior class as it will help you determine the potential outcome of a race.

Track surface type

Every racetrack has a different type of surface, be sure to play close attention to your horse’s past performances based on the types of tracks they have run on. These can vary from dirt, and natural grass, to artificial turf and all weather terrain.


This is an often overlooked factor when it comes to horse race betting. Most people are so preoccupied with following the horses that they can tend to forget the history the jockey has with the horse in question. It’s also good to look at a jockey’s past performances, and if they are consistently coming in high rankings regardless of horse, then you might want to stick with the jockey.

Pay attention to horse racing odds

For every race, each horse will have their horse racing odds of winning marked next to its name. For each race, there is usually a favorite to win. This is the horse with the lowest odds. Past performance is never a guaranteed prediction of future results, but it’s definitely a strong indicator.

The easiest bet you can usually make is to bet the race favorite to win, place or show.
Pro tip: If you want to make the most out of your horse racing odds, be sure to check the paddock. Horses are usually paraded around for the spectators prior to a race, check the paddock to see how the horses are behaving to better inform your bet.

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