Betting Horse Races at Online Sportsbooks

There are any number of ways to bet on horse racing these days. Yet, the best way is still through an offshore sportsbook taking action online. They have the leeway and flexibility to expand your options and add more value to the betting experience.

There are three basic ways to bet horses though an online book’s racebook option:

  • Straight Bets (single race)
  • Exotic Bets (single race)
  • Exotic Bets (multiple races)

All race tracks rely on pari-mutuel money pools for the bets taken in. Payouts are based on a horse’s closing odds and the money in that particular pool.

The most common straight bet made is on the winning horse. The Win bet pays off when your horse finishes first in the official running order. You can also bet on a particular horse to finish second in the Place position. Betting a horse to finish third is the Show bet.

If you bet a horse to place and they win the race, you will receive second-place money. If you bet a horse to show and they finish first or second, you would receive third-place money.

Betting a horse “across the board” refers to a win, place and show bet. In this case, you would receive a payout from all three money pools if they win. You would receive second and third-place money if they place and third-place money if they show.

The two basic exotic bets on a single race are the Exacta and the Trifecta. Betting one horse to win and another to place is an exacta bet. The horses must finish in the exact order you bet them.

The trifecta bet covers three horses finishing first, second and third in the exact order you bet them. Most tracks will offer an option to predict the exact finishing order of the first four horses. This is known as a Superfecta.

Another popular betting option is to “box” your exacta and trifecta bet. The horses you bet on can now finish in any order. A $2 exacta would cost $4 since there are two ways to win. A $2 trifecta would cost $12 to cover the six possible winning combinations.

The most common bet for an exotic covering multiple races is the Daily Double. To win this bet, you need to correctly pick the winner in two consecutive races. This can be expanded to a Pick 3 and Pick 4 bet at most tracks.

Online betting sites such as Vice also offer horse betting options through their actual sportsbook. The three main options are:

  • Horse Racing Futures
  • Horse Racing Props
  • Head-to-Head Horse Racing Matchups

Betting a major stakes race through an online book lets you lock-in odds for a win bet. For example, the favorite for the Kentucky Derby might be set at +200 on the futures list. You are guaranteed those odds when the bet is placed. Betting the same horse through the racebook will payout at their closing odds right before the race starts which could be lower.

Many online books will offer prop bet options for the biggest stakes races of the year. They will cover multiple aspects of that race such as the winning time and margin of victory.

Head-to-head matchups pits one horse against another in a particular race. The horse with the higher finishing position in the official running order wins.