The big horse race is quickly approaching, and you need to know how to bet on horse racing. Well, you're in luck. SportsLine's beginner's guide to horse racing covers the basics of placing a bet on a race for those who don't know the difference between an exacta and a daily double, or a trifecta and a Pick 3.
You'll start by learning the definitions of basic racing terms like win, place and show and then graduate to box, key and across the board. You'll even learn how to communicate your bet with the clerk at the mutuel window like a pro.
By the end of this handy guide, you'll have everything you need to know about gambling on horse racing. Once you're up to speed, see what picks and bets SportsLine's expert handicappers are making on the big race.
To get started, be sure to see these short informational videos by Jonathan "The Coach" Coachman of The Early Edge, a Daily SportsLine Betting Podcast that explain some of horse racing's basic betting terminology.
Here's more on some horse betting terms:
A bet on a horse to finish first in a race. The bettor wins only if the horse finishes first. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 7, $2 to win on 5."
A bet on a horse to finish second in a race. The bettor wins if the horse finishes first or second. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 7, $2 to place on 5."
A bet on a horse to finish third in a race. The bettor wins if the horse finishes first, second or third. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 7, $2 to show on 5."
Across the board
Three equal win, place and show bets on a horse in a race, hence this bet also is known as Win Place Show. A $2 bet across the board would cost $6. If the bettor's horse finishes first, the bettor wins win, place and show money. If the bettor's horse finishes second, the bettor wins place and show money. If the bettor's horse finishes third, the bettor wins show money. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 7, $2 across the board on 5."
Which horse wins the next big race? And which HUGE long shots are a MUST-BACK? Join SportsLine right now to get daily winners, see which long shots contend, and get the finish positions for every single horse, all from some of the nation's top horse racing handicappers!
Pick the top two finishers in a race in the exact order. The bettor wins only if the horses finish first and second in the exact order. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 7, $2 exacta, 5 over 8." (The 5 horse has to win, and the 8 has to finish second for the bettor to win.)
Pick the top two finishers in a race in any order. The bettor wins if the horses finish first and second in any order. The bettor can include more than two horses in an exacta box. A $2 exacta box would cost $4 using two horses, $12 using three horses and $24 using four horses. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 7, $2 exacta box, 5-8-9." (The top two finishers have to come from the 5, 8 or 9 in order for the bettor to win.)
An exacta bet using one horse (the "key") to finish first in a race with multiple horses in second. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 7, $2 exacta, 5 over 8-9." (The 5 has to win, and either the 8 or 9 has to finish second for the bettor to win.)
A bettor can also key a horse finishing second with multiple horses in first. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 7, $2 exacta, 8-9 over 5." (Either the 8 or 9 horse has to win, and the 5 has to finish second for the bettor to win.)
Pick the top three finishers in a race in the exact order. The bettor wins only if the horses finish first, second and third in the exact order. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 7, $2 trifecta, 5 over 8 over 9." (The 5 has to win, the 8 has to finish second and the 9 has to finish third for the bettor to win.)
Pick the top three finishers in a race in any order. The bettor wins if the horses finish first, second and third in any order. The bettor can include more than three horses in a trifecta box. A $2 trifecta box would cost $12 using three horses, $48 using four horses and $120 using five horses. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 7, $2 trifecta box, 5-8-9-11." (The top three finishers have to come from the 5, 8, 9 or 11 in order for the bettor to win.)
A trifecta bet using one horse (the "key") to finish first in a race with multiple horses finishing second and third. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 7, $2 trifecta, 5 over 8-9-11 over 8-9-11." (The 5 has to win, and the 8, 9 or 11 have to finish second and third in any order for the bettor to win.)
A bettor can also key a horse to finish second or third.
Pick the top four finishers in a race in the exact order. The bettor wins only if the horses finish first, second, third and fourth in the exact order. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 7, $2 trifecta, 5 over 8 over 9 over 11." (The 5 has to win, the 8 has to finish second, the 9 has to finish third and the 11 has to finish fourth for the bettor to win.)
Pick the top four finishers in a race in any order of finish. The bettor wins if the horses finish first, second, third and fourth in any order. The bettor can include more than four horses in a superfecta box though the cost can be prohibitive. A $2 superfecta box would cost $48 using four horses, $240 using five horses and $720 using six horses. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 7, $2 superfecta box, 5-8-9-11." (The top four finishers have to come from the 5, 8, 9 and 11 in order for the bettor to win.)
A superfecta bet using one horse (the "key") to finish first in a race with multiple horses finishing second, third and fourth. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 7, $2 superfecta, 5 over 8-9-11 over 8-9-11 over 8-9-11." (The 5 has to win, and the 8, 9 and 11 have to finish second, third and fourth in any order for the bettor to win.)
A bettor can also key a horse to finish second, third or fourth.
Which horses should you back this week? Which colossal long shots could pay off huge? Join SportsLine here to get daily horse racing picks, betting advice, and must-back underdogs, all from our team of Vegas experts, insiders, and former bookmakers.
Many handicappers use the A-B-C-X method, popularized by Steve Crist, for multirace wagers so that they can most efficiently bet multirace wagers (the Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5 or Pick 6) and leverage their strongest opinions. Here's how it works: Bettor Bob begins by grouping every horse in each race into four tiers: A (top horse or horses), B (backup horses), C (even deeper backup horses) and X (throwouts). Many times Bob will have only a single A horse -- or just one A and one B horse -- and designate the other horses as Xs.
Then, Bob constructs his wagers. First, he takes all of his A horses in each of the four legs of the Pick 4 and pairs them onto one ticket. This is his "All-A" ticket.
He then takes all of his B selections in the first leg of the Pick 4 and pairs them on one ticket with his A selections in the second, third and fourth legs. This is his first "three-A, one-B" ticket. He repeats this process with the B selections in the second leg (pairing them with the A selections in the first, third and fourth legs), the B selections in the third leg (pairing them with the A selections in the first, second and fourth legs) and the B selections in the fourth leg (pairing them with the A selections in the first, second and third legs). He now has four "three-A, one-B" tickets.
If the budget allows, Bob will use the same process above to construct "two-A, two-B" tickets.
Daily double (or double)
A bet selecting the winners of two consecutive races. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 6, $2 double, 4-7 with 6." (The 4 or 7 has to win Race 6, and the 6 has to win Race 7 for the bettor to win.)
For the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby every year, Churchill Downs offers a special Oaks-Derby double.
A bet selecting the winners of three consecutive races. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 6, $2 Pick 3, 4-7 with 6 with 2-8." (The 4 or 7 has to win Race 6, the 6 has to win Race 7 and the 2 or 8 has to win Race 8 for the bettor to win.)
A bet selecting the winners of four consecutive races. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 6, $2 Pick 4, 4-7 with 6 with 2-8 with 1-3-5." (The 4 or 7 has to win Race 6, the 6 has to win Race 7, the 2 or 8 has to win Race 8 and the 1, 3 or 5 has to win Race 9 for the bettor to win.)
A bet selecting the winners of five consecutive races. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 6, $2 Pick 5, 4-7 with 6 with 2-8 with 1-3-5 with 7-10." (The 4 or 7 has to win Race 6, the 6 has to win Race 7, the 2 or 8 has to win Race 8, the 1, 3 or 5 has to win Race 9 and the 7 or 10 has to win Race 10 for the bettor to win.)
A bet selecting the winners of six consecutive races. How to make this bet: "Churchill Downs, Race 6, $2 Pick 6, 4-7 with 6 with 2-8 with 1-3-5 with 7-10 with 2-6." (The 4 or 7 has to win Race 6, the 6 has to win Race 7, the 2 or 8 has to win Race 8, the 1, 3 or 5 has to win Race 9, the 7 or 10 has to win Race 10 and the 2 or 6 has to win Race 11 for the bettor to win.)
$1 MILLION RACES IN THE UNITED STATES*
Pegasus World Cup Turf
Pegasus World Cup
Santa Anita Derby
Shadwell Turf Mile
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies
Breeders' Cup Juvenile
Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf
Breeders' Cup Distaff
Breeders' Cup Mile
Breeders' Cup Sprint
Breeders' Cup Turf
Breeders' Cup Classic
* Many purses and race dates were changed in 2020 due to the coronavirus epidemic.
LEADING JOCKEYS IN 2021 (BY EARNINGS)
1. Joel Rosario ($35.2 million)
2. Luis Saez ($32.9 million)
3. Irad Ortiz Jr. ($29.3 million)
4. Jose Ortiz ($24.9 million)
5. Flavien Prat ($23.1 million)
LEADING TRAINERS IN 2021 (BY EARNINGS)
1. Brad Cox ($33.2 million)
2. Steve Asmussen ($31.5 million)
3. Chad Brown ($22.2 million)
4. Todd Pletcher ($21.9 million)
5. Bob Baffert ($17.9 million)
TRIPLE CROWN WINNERS
Type of race in which any horse in it can be bought for a predetermined price.
A multihorse or multirace bet, such as an exacta, trifecta, Pick 4 or Pick 6.
The most commonly used unit of measurement in horse racing, equal to one-eighth of a mile.
Hit the board
A first-, second-, third- or fourth-place finish.
In the money
A first-, second- or third-place finish.
Two-year-old colt or filly.
A horse who has never won a race.
Morning-line odds (or morning line)
The odds set by the track's oddsmaker prior to the opening of betting based on the oddsmaker's predicted final odds for each horse in the race. Note: These odds will change by the time the horses leave the starting gate and are NOT the final odds, only the oddsmaker's prediction of what those final odds will be.
Usually expressed as a fraction (such as 3-1), the probability of a horse's chance to win a race based on the public's betting to that point.
A horse who has odds greater than what a bettor perceives to be fair value and is, thus, a good bet. Opposite of underlay.
Post position (or post)
The stall in the starting gate from which a horse will start. Post positions are drawn randomly. The No. 1 post position is the stall closest to the rail.
Time a race is scheduled to start.
A metric that rates a horse's performance in a race, factoring in several variables including final time, distance of the race, track or turf condition and level of competition, among others. The Beyer Speed Figure is the most prevalent speed figure today.
A horse who has odds less than what a bettor perceives to be fair value and is, thus, not a good bet. Opposite of overlay.
Looking for the best picks against the spread, sharp action on the total and props you can take to the window? Join Jonathan Coachman on the Early Edge as he speaks with SportsLine's top handicappers to preview every day's biggest games. We promise to keep it short, sweet and to put some green in your pocket. Early Edge is under 10 minutes and in your feed every single day by 11 AM ET.Download right hereor wherever you get your podcasts.
How do you place a bet on a horse race? ›
If you are making a wager in person, you will have to verbalize your bet to the teller, including the track you are betting on, the race number the horse is entered in, the amount you are wagering, the type of bet you are placing and the saddlecloth number of the horse you want to bet on.What are the terms in horse racing? ›
- Ex. ...
- Win — If your horse finishes 1st, you win $$$.
- Place — If your horse finishes 1st or 2nd, you win $$.
- Show — If your horse finishes 1st, 2nd or 3rd, you win $.
- Across the board — Three equal Win, Place and Show bets.
- Exacta — Pick two horses in one race. ...
- Quinella — Pick two horses. ...
- Trifecta — Pick three horses.
An each-way bet consists of two bets of equal cost, a win bet on your selection to win an event and a place bet on it to finish within a certain number of places specified by the bookmaker beforehand.What is the most common horse bet? ›
A win bet is the most common and straightforward bet. You're simply betting on a specific horse to finish in first place. If the horse that you wager on doesn't finish first, you lose the bet. Of the straight bets, this usually offers the best payout, as it has the greatest risk.How do you bet step by step? ›
- Navigate to your desired game and bet type.
- Click the “bet cell”
- The bet will populate in your bet slip.
- Enter your bet amount.
- Submit bet.
- The favourite doesn't always win. ...
- Don't just stick to one bookmaker – shop around. ...
- The fewer selections, the better. ...
- Avoid the temptation of odds-on prices. ...
- Consider the less obvious markets. ...
- Make sure you understand the markets. ...
- Don't bet with your heart. ...
- Pick your moment.
The number represents the position the horse finished in. Abbreviations are also used here. P = Pulled Up, F = Fell, UR = Unseated Rider, BD = Brought down, R = Refused. A hyphen indicated a new season, while a forward slash indicates two seasons have passed.What does C and D mean in horse racing? ›
What does C&D mean? As well as numbers showing the horses' most recent finishing positions, look out for letters such and C and D next to its name. C means they have won previously at the course and D means they have previously won over the same distance.What does F mean in horse racing form? ›
The following abbreviations normally apply to jump racing: F indicates the horse fell. R indicates a horse refused. BD indicates the horse was brought down by another runner. U or UR indicates that the horse unseated its jockey.When should you not bet each-way? ›
Be very wary of betting each-way in big, fields. In general, the punter has an advantage over the each-way bookmaker in fields 'Of eight to 12 runners if he backs each-way horses quoted at 7/1 or shorter for the win. The shorter the win price, the greater the advantage for a place.
What is 3 way in a bet? ›
Simply put, three-way betting odds offer three wagering options that focus on regulation time results only. They differ from two-way odds as a TIE is added as a third betting choice. Three-way lines are offered in most competitions where a draw is a possible outcome.What does each-way 1/5 mean? ›
This means you will be paid for your win part of your bet at the odds chosen when you placed the bet and for the place part of your bet at 1/5 of your odds.How do you pick a good horse bet? ›
Here are the factors to take into consideration when trying to select a winning horse:
- Horse Form.
- Breeding and Pedigree.
- Trainer Form.
- Days Since Last Race.
A trifecta is more difficult than win, place and show wagers, as well as exacta wagers, so it yields a higher payout than any of those bets. These horses must finish first, second, and third, in that exact order, for you to win the wager.
The safest bet in horse racing is an each-way single bet. A single bet means you do not need multiple horses for you to receive a return for your bet.Which bet is easiest to win? ›
- BTTS: BTTS bet demands the punters to predict if both teams will score a goal or not. ...
- Over/Under: This bet can work in your favor when you have chosen a smaller figure as reference. ...
- Double chance bet: In this bet, you win money when any two from the three outcomes are obtained.
A First 4 consists of selecting four runners to place first, second, third and then a fourth in the correct order. You can select as many runners as you want and make it a boxed First 4 bet, or even pick a standout for any of the 4 positions.How do I win a bet every time? ›
- Follow expert football predictions.
- Profit with matched betting.
- Keep a betting record.
- Change bookmakers.
- Stay impartial.
- Know football inside out.
- Know your markets.
- Take the small wins.
- Carry out Extensive Research. ...
- Avoid Overconfidence. ...
- Make use of a Handicapper. ...
- Avoid Parlays.
A generally accepted strategy in NFL betting is to place bets early in the week, and it's a fairly simple principle: As bettors make wagers, bookmakers adjust their lines, and those lines only become more accurate and thus harder to beat.
What is the easiest thing to bet on? ›
- College Basketball – Easiest Sport for Beating the Book.
- NFL Football – Most Accessible Sport to Bet On.
- MLB Baseball – Best Sport for Beginning Sports Bettors.
S - slipped up. U - unseated rider. V - void race. Live coverage. ATR - At The Races.What does H mean in horse racing? ›
H. half-brother, half-sister: Horses out of the same dam, but by different sires. Horses with the same sire and different dams are not considered half-siblings in Thoroughbred racing.What does V mean on horse racing? ›
L: Left at start. O: Ran out. B: Brought down. S: Slipped. V: Void race.What is W and P in horse racing? ›
Win / Place Betting. Backing a horse to win or place is as simple - and for many, as good! - as punting gets. Of all the bet types available these are the two most simple to place; they are also the easiest to follow and enjoy as a punter.What does Fe mean in horse racing? ›
|Special Incidents Index|
|DNF||Did not finish|
|FE||Horse fell during the race|
ODE: One Day Event. PB: Part Bred. PC: Pony Club. Placed every time out: The horse has been placed at every show it has attended.What does B mean in horse racing results? ›
BD, also written as B, means that a horse fell during the course of a race due to a collision with another horse.What does G1 G2 G3 mean in horse racing? ›
Graded races are the premier stakes races, whereby a Grade 1 (G1), Grade 2 (G2) or Grade 3 (G3), designate the class of horses participating. The size of purse, amount of added money and the historical significance of the race also are determining factors in the grade status. Grade 1 (G1) is the highest designation.What does GG mean in horse racing? ›
Wikipedia says that the term "Gee-Gee" is taken from horse-racing where a Gee-Gee is the first horse out of the starting gate. Other sources say that GG is short for the command given to horses to go: "gee up".
What hands should you 3-bet? ›
What is a good 3-bet percentage? Strong, winning players do not 3-bet only their strongest hands. At the low stakes, a good 3-bet percentage will be around 5%–9%. Players can win aggressively with 3-bet percentages as high as 11%, however generally for beginners it is much easier to play with a tighter 3-bet range.What hands should you 4 bet? ›
The best 4-bet bluffing hands are suited Ax and Kx hands that can not profitably call the 3-bet. They have the best blockers to our opponent's continuing range.How many horses do you need for an each-way bet? ›
Any race with less than five runners will be win only, whereby no bets can be placed on a horse each-way. If there are five, six or seven runners in a race, then there are two places available, meaning there is a payout if backed each-way on horses who finish first or second, at 1/4 of the odds.What does a 2 way bet mean? ›
In 2Way bets, there are two possible outcomes and you have to predict the right one. These bets are usual for all types of sports that don't allow draws (basketball, tennis, etc.). There are also lots of special bets that work according to the same principle.What is 1st Half 3 way bet? ›
A three-way moneyline asks you to pick one of the two sides as the winner OR if the game will end in a tie or draw. So, if you're wagering on a sport that doesn't have ties, like college basketball or the NBA, you generally would pick between Team A and Team B to walk away as the winners.What is a 1X2 bet? ›
1X2 bets are hugely popular and a simple way of betting on sports where there is the possibility of a draw. The 1 refers to a home win, the X the draw and the 2 the away win. Unlike Asian handicaps or totals, 1X2 betting doesn't seek to even out any difference in perceived quality between the teams or players.What is a 4 horse bet called? ›
Accumulator. An accumulator comprises of four or more selections in one bet. All of the selections must win to guarantee a return.Is each-way top 3 or 4? ›
It essentially gives you the chance to get a return on your money if the horse you back doesn't win but instead finishes in 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th place. Each-way means you are betting on two things. The first is that the horse will win. The second is that it will finish anywhere up to 5th place.What's 7 2 odds mean? ›
So odds of 7-2 mean that for every $2 invested, the punter gets $7 profit in return. This means when you bet $2, the total return if the bet is successful is $9.What are the 4 factors to consider when selecting a horse? ›
Having a clear idea of what you are looking for before you begin will help to focus your search. Factors you may want to consider are likely to be the horse's age, breed, colour, sex and perhaps, where the horse is currently based.
What are 5 things to consider when buying a horse? ›
- What level of risk is the purchaser willing to assume?
- What is the purchaser's level of experience?
- Does he or she own a farm or board?
- What are his or her goals?
- Is this horse being purchased to be sold in the near future?
Of the many things to consider, the one factor that will probably be near the top of most punters list of important handicapping factors is the going, or essentially the horse's ability on the going.What type of bet is most profitable? ›
Football. Many sports bettors consider football to be the best sport to bet on, and it is without a doubt the most popular. Betting on the NFL and college football brings in the most sports betting handle each year.What are the 3 horse races called? ›
The Kentucky Derby (first run in 1875), the Preakness Stakes (1873) and the Belmont Stakes (1867) make up the Triple Crown series for 3-year-old thoroughbreds.What is the term for riding a horse? ›
Equestrianism (from Latin equester, equestr-, equus, 'horseman', 'horse'), commonly known as horse riding (Commonwealth English) or horseback riding (American English), includes the disciplines of riding, driving, and vaulting.What is the start of a horse race called? ›
|Under starter's orders||Before a race, the starter brings the field of horses into order to prepare them for the start of the race.|
|Undulating||A track that does not have a flat terrain. Cheltenham is often referred to as an undulating track.|
The difficulty in horse racing's Triple Crown is that the races are at different lengths, at different tracks, requiring different combinations of talents (just like baseball's Triple Crown), with different sets of competitors. Fresh challengers who haven't run in the previous races pop up.What does black type mean in racing? ›
Group/Graded and Listed contests can be referred to as “black type” races. The phrase refers to the system of printing in bold type within the pedigree charts of sales catalogues the names of those horses that have won or been placed in Group/Graded races.What is it called when two horses tie in a race? ›
In horse racing, a dead heat occurs when two or more selections to win end up tying at the end of the race.What does riding B * * * * mean? ›
(slang) To be a passenger in the middle seat of a car with two others at either side.
What is a female rider called? ›
What do you call a female horse rider? The most common terms are equestrian and cowgirl, which are not discipline specific.What is it called when you stop a horse? ›
To cue for a halt, close your fingers and squeeze backward. The horse should stop as he feels the backward pull on the reins. As you use the rein aids, you will eventually learn to stop by using your body, seat, and legs. By stopping your body, you are cuing your horse to stop as well.What is the R word in racing? ›
The R word in racing is “retirement”. It's a decision that every driver and team has to make at some point in their careers.What does B Main mean in racing? ›
Seat Time - Time sitting behind the wheel, competing in a race, qualifying, etc. Semi-Main - Referred to as the B-Main or last chance race. Transfers will go to the main event and the rest are done for the night.What is B Main in racing? ›
Semi-feature/B main/last chance showdown
This race is called the last chance qualifier or B feature. The cars who did not make the A feature through the heat race or qualifying session get one more chance to qualify for the A feature through the B feature. The B length is anywhere up to circa 20 laps.
Sprint—A race that is shorter than seven furlongs. Marathon—A race that is longer than 1 ¼ miles (The Kentucky Derby is 1 ¼ miles). Stretch Turn—The final turn of the track that leads into the straightaway—or the final leg of the race. Break Maiden—The first time a jockey or a horse wins a race.What do you call a man who rides a horse in a race? ›
countable noun. A jockey is someone who rides a horse in a race. Synonyms: horse-rider, rider, equestrian More Synonyms of jockey. 2. verb.What is it called when horses leave the gate? ›
Post parade — When horses leave the paddock and pass the stands on their way to the starting gate. Post position — A horse's position in the starting gate from the inner rail outward. Also happens to be a horse's number. Post time — Designated time for a race to start.