Ask anyone from Louisville, and they’ll tell you all about how the whole state grinds to a halt for the most exciting two minutes in sports, also known as the Kentucky Derby. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a breeder, jockey, or even a fan to join in with that excitement and thousands of other races every year. Instead, you can give any race meaning with horse race betting.

Betting on horse races falls firmly into the easy to learn, challenging to master category. Fortunately, it’s nowhere near as complex as it might appear on the track, and if you’re just getting started, read on for everything you need to know about horse race betting for the first time.

Placing a Wager

Even if you’re brand new to horse racing as a betting pursuit, you’ll understand the general concept of bets. You pay a bookmaker a certain amount at a specific price. They set those prices based on all sorts of factors, often incorporating a horse’s chances of winning, but also to come out ahead no matter the result!

Bets can get complicated. If you’re a beginner, you probably don’t want to get involved with parlays and combo bets. Instead, your focus should be on the money line.

It’s easy enough. Pick a horse, see the price, and hope it wins. If it does, you’re paid out at those odds. If you’re feeling a little exotic, you can go for a place bet that covers first and second or a show bet that covers first through third.

Naturally, if you decide to hedge your bets in this way, you’ll cut the potential winnings. Nevertheless, it can make sense, especially on bigger-priced horses that are seemingly less likely to win.

When you’re happy with your pick, you place the wager at the window. State the track’s name, the number of the race, the horse’s number, and the dollar unit and type of bet. That gets processed – remember to check the ticket for accuracy – and it’s time to wait and see how things play out!

Picking a Horse

As you feel your way around betting on horse races, you’ll find that everyone has an opinion!

Reading form is a skill in its own right, but it doesn’t take long to get used to it. You’ll have access to the racetrack program, detailing horses, jockeys, and even trainers and owners if you’re at the track. That’s all relevant when making picks, especially when introducing the concept of form.

That form applies to everyone involved, even if they’re not on the course. A trainer responsible for getting a horse race-ready could be on a hot streak with all their runners defying expectations.

It’s a genuine concept in horse racing as much as in any other sport. Jockeys go through periods where everything clicks. Look no further than October 1987 for evidence, when jockey Chris Antley rode a record nine winners in one day, four in New York and five in New Jersey.

Successfully reading form and making predictions comes with experience. You’re new to the game, but plenty of people are happy to share their opinions. Take a look at Docs Derby Picks for an excellent example of what to expect from tipsters. The best ones will tell you which horse they’re backing and why, so you can understand the thought process behind it and add it to your skillset.

The Advantages of Horse Race Betting Online

It can be fun to head to the track, especially if you’ve got one nearby. However, if you take a liking to betting on horse races, you won’t want to ignore that there’s a whole world of races out there every day.

There are dozens of races daily in the US alone. Factor in the incredible popularity of the sport in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and the Middle East, and you won’t be short of opportunities if you decide to bet online.

Doing so doesn’t only open up the global racing calendar. You’ll also enjoy:

A Broad Range of Betting Sites

Once you start taking horse race betting seriously, you’ll find that every edge and sliver of value matters. By betting remotely, you’ll have the luxury of wagering wherever the best odds are – and don’t forget the wealth of loyalty rewards, bonuses, and free bets available to improve the odds further.

Live Race Streams

If you’re confident in your picks, you don’t necessarily need to watch the race – it’s over in a flash, after all. Nevertheless, if you bet for entertainment and enjoyment, there’s nothing like cheering your picks on as they run. Many online platforms boast far broader race coverage than any television channel, and you won’t have to switch between ESPN and TVG2 constantly to stay on top of the action.


If there’s a can’t miss race, and you’re otherwise occupied, it’s impossible to overlook the convenience. Virtually every online betting site worth using complements the website with a mobile app. That means all the same events, identical bonuses, and even the same race streams you can enjoy online.

A Wealth of Information

As your understanding of form and other factors grows, you’ll start to look into all sorts of sites to inform your picks, which isn’t always as easy at the track. It’s not just about data, either. The internet means anyone can become a tipster, and you’ll find plenty of discussion forums and amateur tipping sites if you decide to look for them – and bettors hit purple patches of form, too, so they could be worth a follow!

Master Betting on Horse Races With Our Guides

Horse racing is captivating, to the point that you probably won’t remain a beginner for long! There’s a lot to learn about horse race betting, but it all fits together nicely, and you’ll approach the expert standard in no time!

If you want to hurry the process along and find out more about everything, from choosing the best betting sites to making the best picks, you’ll find all that and much more here on our blog.