Horse Racing is one of the most popular wagers in sports betting, with multiple strategies and different types of bets.

It used to be a sport mainly in the United Kingdom, but then it branched out to South Africa, Australia, and, of course, the United States.

Especially when one of the Triple Crown races occur: The Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont stakes, you’re going to have an influx of bettors, and you need to be ready to offer racebook services as a pay per head bookie.

What is Horse Racing?

Horse racing consists of speed races between at least two horses. The horses that participate are called Thoroughbreds.

Types of horse racing

There are several types of races, so we’ll classify them according to five types:

  • By air: gallop, trot or walk.
  • By difficulty of the track: Smooth track, track with fences, cross country.
  • By the equipment: Saddle, harness, hitch
  • By distance: From 400 m (1/4 mile) to 7240 m (4 1/2 miles).
  • By number of participants: Pairs (2 horses), multiple (several horses).

By far, the race you’ll offer bets on the most is saddle racing of about 1.25 miles.

Horse Racing Wagers

To offer horse racing on your sportsbook you need to know the types of wagers that are offered. And there are many. A distinction is made between the classic single bets and the more extensive combination bets.

The standard bets are as follows: Win, Place, and Show.

  • Win is you have to choose the right horse place first in the race.
  • Place is you have to chose the correct horse to place first or second.
  • Show is you have to choose the correct horse to place first, second, or third.

The odds differ based on the talent of the horse you’re picking and what type of bet you choose. Obviously, out of the three, Win has the best odds.

What are Exotic Wagers

Exotic Wagers refers to an extremely popular group of horse racing bets that include an element where you bet on several horses. This can happen in one race or in several races. Many gamblers love exotic bets because while they’re harder to hit the odds are amazing.

  • Exacta Bets: The exacta bet is one in which two horses are bet on as the possible winners of the race. In the simple exacta bet, the bettor has to match the order of finish of the first two horses. An exacta box allows you to chose the first and second place winner but which horse comes first does not matter.Trifecta Bets: A trifecta is similar to an exacta except this time it’s deciding the exact first, second and third place winner in a race. And a trifecta box gives you every potential placing for the three horses you choose.
  • Superfecta Bets: The superfecta is a wager in which bettors select which four horses will finish first, second, third, and fourth.
  • Horse Racing Futures: Similar to other sports, futures betting involves picking the winner of certain events well in advance. In this case, futures betting usually focuses on the Triple Crown, Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes events. The advantage of this type of betting is that it gives better odds than if played on the spot. On the other hand, there is a higher risk since sometimes horses drop out due to injury. In futures, all wagers are action, so if a horse drops out, you’ll lose your bet.

What are the Major American Races?

  • Kentucky Derby: The Derby is the first leg of the triple crown and the biggest race you’ll offer all year. It’s been around for 147 years, and the best thoroughbreds in the world compete. Your player joins and bets in this period could only be equaled by the Super Bowl or March Madness. The Derby is on May 7th.
  • Preakness Stakes: Held approximately two weeks after the Derby, this bet will be huge if the winner of the Derby is competing. This means the horse has a chance at the Triple Crown, which goes to the winner of the three major American races.
  • Belmont Stakes: Belmont takes place three weeks after the Preakness, and the number of wagers you receive on the event is completely predicated on whether a Triple Crown is still possible. If there is, it may rival the Derby in terms of wagers.


Now that you know the basics, make sure you check out the rules of the game to ensure you understand any questions or concerns from your players. And it’s also integral that the pay per head site that you choose offers a good racebook. Check our Racebook reviews for feedback on the best ones.