Betting on a horse race is tricky, but don't be put off. There are ways to improve your chances, and leave the racetrack with a thicker wallet. Just follow this guide and you'll have better luck in no time!
1) Choose your track
Research your chosen racetrack ahead of time. Visit it before your race if you get the chance. The more you know, the better.
2) Buy a racing program
This should cost you no more than $5 and is crucial. It provides information on the horses and jockeys, and gives you statistics which help determine your bet.
3) Sit near one of the racing monitors
The monitors give you odds, horses' numbers, and the number of the race that's currently being run. Using that number, open your program to the current race.
4) Choose your horse(s)
Using your program, decide which horse has the best chance of winning. The numbers listed correspond to the number on each horse's saddle. The statistics you need are:
- Percent chance that a jockey will win on his horse
- Each horse's race record
- The odds of a horse winning (these odds can change throughout the race - keep an eye on the monitor)
- The estimated outcome for the first three places
- Each jockey, trainer and owner's win percentage (usually on the back page)
- Weigh these statistics and determine which horse, in your opinion, has the best chance of winning
5) Determine your bet(s)
There are many types of bets. The most common are:
- Win - bet on one horse you think will place first
- Place - one horse for first or second
- Show - one horse for first, second or third
- Exacta - two horses for first and second, in order
- Trifecta - three horses for first, second and third, in order
- Quinella - two horses for first and second, no order
- Superfecta - three horses for first, second and third, no order
Remember that if you bet on a horse across the board (win, place, or show) you can improve your odds, but you will not win as much.
6) Find the betting window
Go to the window and place your bet(s). You will get a ticket. Hold onto it.
7) Enjoy the race
If your horse(s) placed, return to the window and collect a voucher for your winnings. Congratulations! If you didn't win, keep practicing, but remember to gamble responsibly and to not bet more than you can afford to lose.
Good luck and happy betting!