Horse racing betting guide 2021

Horse racing betting guide 2021

Online horse racing betting in USA and the industry in general generates billions of dollars to the country’s economy. To join in on the fun, we’ll show you how to bet on horse racing, where to find the best sites, show you a win & each-way betting video and more.

Best horse racing betting sites in USA

More on horse racing betting

How to bet on horse racing

How horse racing odds work

There are three main types of odds in horse racing and sports betting: British fractional odds (eg. 2/1), the American moneyline (+200) or decimal prices (3.00), which are most common in USA.

To work out how horse racing odds work, we’ll take decimal odds of 3.00 with a stake of C$10 on a horse winning a race as an example. Basically, your overall winnings would be your stake times the price (10 x 3.00). So, if you bet C$10 on the horse to win, your potential winnings would be C$30 (C$20 profit plus your stake back).

Try for yourself below with our horse racing bet calculator. You can convert odds, find out profits for certain bet combinations and see what the implied probability of winning is.

Horse racing betting guide 2021

Popular types of horse racing bets

Horse racing betting is one of the simplest in sport. Many gamblers find betting on a horse to win or place is enough, but there are other markets and bet combinations to look out for to enhance your experience.

So, what is the best type of bet in horse racing? We’ll take you through all the main types of bets and how they work.

Straight wagers

Betting that your chosen horse finishes first in a race.

A wager that your horse comes first or second. You have an increased chance of a payout compared to a Win bet, but the price will be shorter.

This bet is for your horse to finish first, second or third. Three wagers are combined into one. If your selection wins, you win all three wagers. If second, two. And if third, one. The payout is smaller because the odds are shorter.

Why not combine separate Win, Place and Show bets together? You gamble more with three wagers in one but for greater potential profit.

If you’re wondering how to bet on horse racing with an each-way bet, think of it as a two-in-one wager. Half of your stake goes on a win and half on place terms that are determined by the site. These vary depending on the type of horse race and number of runners.

If your horse wins, you’ll receive a bigger return. If your horse places, then you’ll receive a smaller fraction of the win odds. Each-way can be the best value horse racing bet especially when you pick a big outsider.

Exotic wagers

You’re betting on two horses to finish first and second in the same race in a specific order. This wager is also called an Exacta in the US and Forecast in the UK.

This is like an Exactor, but there are two bets in one. Quinellas see you wager on two horses in the same race to finish first and second in any order.

Taking it a step further, you can also bet on three horses to finish first, second and third in the same race in a given order. This is also called a Trifecta in the US and Tricast in the UK.

Where you bet on two horses to win two different races.

Here, you bet on three horses to win three different races. This is also known as a Treble in the UK.

Horse racing multiple bets (or multi) are the same as a parlay or accumulator in other sports. You bet on multiple horses to win their respective races. All legs of the wager need to win in order to receive a payout.

Horse racing betting tips

Main horse races to bet on

Breeders’ Cup

Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders’ Cup is the premier horse racing event in North America, held annually over two days in early November. And did you know it took place in USA at Woodbine Racetrack in 1996?

A series of Flat horse races around the world carry invites to the Breeders’ Cup for the winners. With events on both dirt and turf, it attracts worldwide entries.

Cheltenham Gold Cup

Cheltenham Gold Cup

If you prefer betting on horses over jumps and under National Hunt rules, then the Cheltenham Gold Cup is for you.

It’s the feature steeplechase race during four fabulous days from the Cheltenham Festival held in the UK every March.

Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby

The best three-year-old North American thoroughbreds contest the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville in early May.

Nicknamed ‘the Run for the Roses’, it is arguably the world’s most famous Flat dirt race. The Kentucky Derby is certainly the most prestigious in the USA and it’s the first leg of the American Triple Crown.

Melbourne Cup

Melbourne Cup

Flat handicaps don’t come more prestigious or valuable than the Melbourne Cup. Known as ‘the race that stops a nation’ in Australia, there is global appeal with horses sent Down Under just to run in it.

Held at Flemington in Melbourne, Victoria on the first Tuesday in November, horses need speed as well as stamina to win.

Queen’s Plate

Queen’s Plate

Not to be outdone by their American neighbours, USA has its own Triple Crown for three-year-old thoroughbreds foaled in the country. The first leg of that is the Queen’s Plate.

Named after Queen Victoria and first run in 1860, this race is on an artificial tapeta surface. The Queen’s Plate takes place at Woodbine in Toronto, Ontario each June or July.

Horse racing schedule for 2022

What horse races are coming up? Make a note of the following key dates in your horse racing calendar for 2022, featuring major events across the globe:

Racebook bonuses

In an ever-growing marketplace, attracting and rewarding your customers is something every sports betting site should do. One classic method they use is offering bonus incentives. These largely fall into three categories:

Welcome Bonus

Enhanced Odds

VIP Club

Horse racing betting on mobile

Sportsbooks are looking to keep themselves at the cutting edge of technology. That means mobile apps for smartphones and tablets can help United States bettors with horse betting online.

We all take our iPhone, Android or other devices with us everywhere we go. Gambling on horse racing online has never been easier with streamlined experiences through downloaded betting apps.

How we review horse racing betting sites

Horse racing online is big business through sportsbooks. We have an experienced expert team who review all the best sites for you. Their advice on what the best online horse racing experience looks like for bettors is as follows:

Horse betting online needs to take place on sites where you believe everything is safe

SSL encrypted sites that are certified and licensed are best, because you can bet with confidence

Additional value on horse racing betting through bonuses makes bettors feel appreciated in this competitive market

A wide range of payment methods for deposits to fund your gambling and withdrawal options for winnings is what to look for

The best online horse betting sites offer you a great variety of wagers to choose from


Yes, as long as you are betting at a legitimate online horse racing betting site in USA, such as the ones we recommend. You also must be of legal gambling age depending on which United States region you’re in. You can find out more in our gambling guide.

In terms of choice of bets, meetings and site security, we’ve picked out the below as our top recommended online horse racing betting sites in USA:

The most popular bets in horse racing are to win or place. Each-way is also a common bet to take. Other straight wagers include a show bet and across the board.

For exotic wagers, you’ll find bets such as exactor, quinella, triactor, double, triple and multiples.

The best and safest horse racing bet is an each-way wager. This is a two-in-one bet, where you’ll receive a payout if your horse wins or places. The higher your horse finishes, the more money you’ll win.

Depending on whether fractional or decimal prices are offered, this is how odds work in horse racing. With decimals, the prices give you a total return. If you wager C$1 at 3.25, then you receive C$3.25 on a winner (C$2.25 profit).

With fractions, the number on the left is what you win and on the right is what you need to stake. For instance, the price 9/4 needs a C$4 stake to generate C$9 profit and total returns of C$13.

Horse racing payouts are no different to any other form of sports betting, unless you have taken best odds guaranteed.

This popular promotion offered by sportsbooks guarantees you a payout at the starting price a horse is sent off for a race, if the odds are bigger than what you took.

For example, you bet on C$5 on a horse at 5.00 but it has a starting price of 6.00. Normally, you would receive a C$25 payout. With best odds guaranteed, you get C$30 – C$5 extra profit.

Not necessarily, but it depends on the site in question. Some sportsbooks will set limits on maximum payouts to bettors.

Check out our list of top horse racing betting sites at the top of this page to find and compare these.

No. Horse racing and sportsbooks are both regulated by various authorities so that all events and betting are fair. Sites must comply with industry rules and gambling laws or risk losing their licenses.

Plenty of sites have horse racing online streams you can access if you’ve placed a bet. Minimum qualifying stakes vary. You can even watch these on mobile.