We have been betting on horse races for years, since we thought to wager which horse was going to be the fastest.

 We have been betting on horse races for years, since we thought to wager which horse was going to be the fastest. Romans would bet on horse races, and we are still doing it now, even if it is more organized, little has changed. 

We are just as excited about betting the Kentucky Derby with TVG as ever. Betting on the races can be profitable, but more than anything it is entertaining, and it is fun. 

So, if you are a beginner hoping to get into horse race betting, and enjoy the thundering of hooves as you eagerly await to see if you will grasp at your winnings, then stick around as we will talk you through all you need to know to get started. 

There is more to horse race betting than just picking a horse, putting some money on it and hoping for the bet in the race. It is more complex than that. 

Today, we will explain why, and talk you through everything, so you know how to pick a winner with the right bets at your first race. 

How Do You Place A Wager?

Placing bets is not complicated. Usually just place your bet, take the ticket, and rip it up in frustration when it doesn’t pay off. However, if the luck is in your favor, you can take your ticket back and collect your cash from a win. 

All you need to do is state the name of the track, which race you are betting on, how much you are betting, the type of wager you are making, the number of the horse, and then check your ticket to make sure everything is correct. 

Super simple!

What Should You Have On Hand?

Aside from your knowledge of the races, and horses in it, you will need a few other things. 

If you are at the races yourself, you should also make sure you have sunscreen, and perhaps sunglasses, some binoculars too if you want to be able to keep track of the race at all points on the track. 

However, you should also have a program with you. It will usually contain information on the horse, jockey, owners, and trainers. This will give you plenty of information on those competing and if they have a shot at a win.

You will also need the DRF. This will inform you of all the past performances of the horses that are in the race. This will also provide you with plenty of information on the horses and help you to figure out which horses have the best chance at a win. 

Do not forget the handicapper selection and the handicapping tip sheets. The selections will cover any information that is covered by a local newspaper, such as daily horse selections, and the tip sheets will also be useful. 

Always make sure you have these to have all the information you require to make good bets. 

Odds & Starting Prices

Odds will indicate how likely a horse is to win. 2/1 odds are great odds, however 7/1 odds are not so great. The lower the first number is, the more favored a horse is. However, the lower the number is, the lower the payout will be. 

For example, if you bet on a 2/1 horse, it is likely to win, but if it does win, and you bet $10 on this horse, your payout would only be $30 ($20 + your $10 bet). If you bet on a horse with 7/1 odds, this horse is less likely to win but if it did, you would get $80 ($70 + your $10 bet).

Horses will also be favored for the amount of betting action they are getting, not just on the performance of the horse in the past. So good odds do not always guarantee a winner. 

Also consider starting prices. You can consider the odds or the starting price when you go to place a bet. 

Starting prices are odds for a horse at the beginning of the race. Some odds will drop as the race beckons, others will advance. You can never know which way they will go. 

If you are betting on a big race though, any horse with a good backstory will usually have shortening odds.

Odds can also be volatile if changes, things like the weather forecast can be useful, as heavy rain can impact things. Some horses are great in muddy conditions, others are terrible at it. So, always consider this. 


Jump races are usually handicapped races as the best horses will usually have to carry a weight to even things out. This will influence the outcome of the race. Look at the runners for the race and seek out numbers underneath the horses. 

There will be three numbers, this indicates the age of the horse and how much weight it carries. 

Flat races are typically not handicapped, so it is easier to predict these. However, a successful horse of the flat will have shorter odds and so you can’t win so much.

Parimutuel Betting

You can also try parimutuel betting. This is a useful type of bet to know. It is pool-betting. All bets will be pooled together, thus the more bets there are, the bigger the pool is, and those who win share the pool. 

This means that instead of betting against the bookmakers, you bet against other betters. And instead of dealing with fixed odds, you get probabilities instead. 

 Tips & Strategies

Horse racing is mostly sheer luck for bettors. Although there is some common sense to it. 

The best thing you can do is get to know the horses and the people associated with it. Look at past races, their stats, in which conditions the horse performs best. 


Research can save you money. And also, never just best on the favored horse, as they statistically only win 1/3rd of the time. So, use your common sense, understand the competition, and do your research.