Horse Racing

Betting on horse racing is often considered to be complex and complicated and new comers are usually advised not to get into the ring without picking up the ropes and learning the basics. However this notion is not entirely correct since the system of placing basic wagers which has been around for decades are fairly simple and easy to understand.

However, as a new comer in the field of betting on horse racing, there are some basic tools that you cannot possibly do without. The first and the most important is the racetrack programme that has all information about the horses, owners, trainers and jockeys. The next is the Daily Racing Form (DRF) which has details of past performances of all horses running on the day. In case of OTB (Off-track racing) local newspapers covering the races pay a handicapper to make horse selections. Get a copy of that handicapper selection. Finally, there is the handicapping tip sheets that are the selections made daily by the handicappers at the track.

With all these things ready with you, it’s time now to bet on the “Sport of Kings”. Here are the options before you.

  • Win – As the name suggests, this requires your chosen horse to finish first. The takeout rate for a Win bet is usually 15 to 20 percent depending on the track. This rate is the amount of money from the pool that is taken by the track before the rest is divided equally amongst holders of Win tickets. The odds for a win can be viewed on TV monitors or tote boards or on any Internet enabled device. This is how the odds work. If a horse has odds of 8-5 or 1.6-1, you will get back $1.60 for every dollar bet on the horse plus your original investment. By the same calculation you will get $5.20 for every $2 dollar wagered.
  • Place – If you bet Place, it is necessary for your selection to be placed first or second. The chances of collecting are more than a Win but the payouts are smaller too. This is because the pool is typically divided in two ways with bettors on the first and second placed horses getting payouts. Likely payoffs are not available to the public as it is dependent on the odds of the horses finishing first and second. It is advisable that as a new comer you do not get into intricate calculations and rather let the track officials decide for you.
  • Show – This is the easiest of the wagers as it requires that your selection place anywhere within the first three. But since the pool is now divided amongst three groups of bettors, the payoffs are usually very low. While Show bets are the ideal place to start for dummies and newcomers to horse racing, the quantum of returns can be a big letdown which can even be less than $1 for every $2 wagered.

There are other aspects to betting on horses but this is as simple as it can get for beginners trying their luck at the tracks.