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Horse Betting Tips for Newbies

Posted by rafael on January 2, 2013 in Sports

Not many things in life are as thrilling as watching the world’s finest thoroughbreds racing down the final stretch. If you’ve ever been to the racetrack, you know exactly what I mean. As the nation’s oldest and longest withstanding legalized form of gambling, horseracing has captured the hearts of many. However, if you’re new to the sport there are some things you should know when it comes to betting on the ponies…like how to place an exacta bet or how to read a handicap. Here are tips on horse betting for newbies:

Types of Horse Racing Bets

When it comes to wagering there are two types to choose from: straight wagers and exotic wagers. For a beginner, I would recommend sticking to a straight wager. This will allow you pick one horse to come in either first, second, or third. And the minimum bet at most tracks starts as low as two dollars.

Straight Wagers

Straight wagers are the easiest kinds of bets you can place. A straight bet refers to three types of wagering: win, place, and show. For those seeking bigger payoffs, you will want to place an exotic wager.

Win – Horse must finish first
Place – Horse must finish first or second
Show – Horse must finish first, second or third

Horse Betting-1

Horse Betting-1

Exotic Wagers

An exotic wager allows you to bet on multiple horses in a single bet, allowing you to increase your profit potential. While exotic wagers are exciting bets, they’re much more difficult to win than straight wagers. And they can get expensive if you’re not careful. They also require much more skill in handicapping horses.

Exacta – Select the horses that finish first in second in exact order
Quinella – Select horses that finish first and second in any order
Trifecta – Select the first three horses in exact order
Superfecta – Select first four horses in exact order

Understanding the Lingo

So you’re ready to place your bet, now what? If you’re at the racetrack in person I recommend using human tellers. Automatic tellers can get confusing and often have long lines. Things move quite fast at the track, so have your money ready. When it’s your turn, tell the teller the race number, amount of your bet, type of bet you’re placing and the horse’s program number. It should sound something like this: “Race five, $2 exacta on 3 and 5.” Then, hand the teller your money and take your ticket. Be sure to keep your ticket in a safe place because if you win, you will have to turn your ticket in to collect your winnings.

Horse Betting-2

Horse Betting-2

What is Handicapping?

In regards to horse racing, handicapping is predicting which horses have the greater chance of winning a specific race. While some people are proficient in the art of handicapping and may have developed their own methods of predication, most people study the race day program. This program is crammed with information and statistics that you can use to make smarter bets. You can also look at various industry papers or the Daily Racing Form for professional handicapping picks for the day.

Horse betting is exciting. For the beginner, betting on every single race may be tempting but try to take your time and soak in the atmosphere. The best horseplayer scopes the entire program for the best bets and might only pick three or four races for the entire day. Nothing is worse than leaving the track empty handed!

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Karen Smith is a freelance writer and avid horseplayer. Karen comes from a horse race-loving family who spends most of their summers at the Saratoga Race Course. She has recently taken to online horse gambling during the off months.

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