Horse Racing: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

Anyone who’s eager to observe the way animals behave and, specifically, their competitive nature will find horse racing an impressive sport. And indeed — we can’t deny that this sport is a great way to learn the behavior of these animals and take a look at their abilities and intelligence in action. Although many people are against this sport, as getting horses into competition isn’t absolutely ethical, you can also perceive it as a way to entertain your pet and cheer them as they compete. 

Either way, like any other sport, horse racing also has its own terminology and phrases, without which it may be hard to understand this sport. We dedicated this article to horse racing enthusiasts who are new to the sport and would like to explore its basics and take a look at some of the most common horse racing bets in the world. 

Horse Racing

Terms and Basics of Horse Racing

Before you start taking part in horse racing and enter your horse to compete or place bets on your favorite competitors, you undoubtedly need to be aware of the basics of the game as well as the specific terms. If you are not familiar with racing terms, check out this guide to betting terms: https://www.twinspires.com/betting-terms/. This resource offers a detailed explanation of the various terms and phrases you’ll encounter during horse racing. Let’s discuss some of the most important ones among them:

  • Graded race – It’s one of the most prestigious types of race, also known as graded stakes race. These races are categorized into 3 different levels: Grade I, Grade II, and Grade III. Among them, Grade I means the highest level of competition, while II and III are slightly lower, respectively. 
  • Handicap – It’s another type of race where each horse has a different weight. Usually, their importance is determined based on their past performances. The thing that makes this type of horse racing many people’s favorite is that, through handicapping, it’s possible for horses of different skills and experience to compete against each other. 
  • Stakes – It’s the highest level of horse racing. Therefore, unlike handicapping, Stakes include only high-performing horses. Stakes competitions stand out with their prize pools, and as a result, these events usually attract the most popular trainers and jockeys from around the world.
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However, these are only a few types of horse racing. Other than this, there are multiple terms you should be aware of before becoming part of this exciting sport and placing your bets.

Horse Racing Track

Horse Betting Strategies

Even though gamblers often associate betting with luck, successful betting is much more than just prosperity. In fact, players need to know specific betting strategies, not to mention that betting in horse racing demands high analytical skills and strategic planning. 

The most reliable strategy is indeed getting to know the past performance and ratings of the horses that are currently competing. Experienced bettors also tend to use another strategy called “value betting.”. This means that you need to determine which horses have winning chances that are much better than their odds show. But the most important thing you should know about horse betting is definitely the types of bets available. 

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For example, Exactas, Trifectas, and Superfectas offer higher payouts. However, these bets are suitable only for people who accept the fact that they have only the slightest chance of winning. Among them, Exacta means that you bet on two horses and hope that they finish first and second in the exact order. Respectively, Trifecta and Superfecta means picking the first three and first four finishes. Because of their difficulty in winning, these bets are known as “Exotic Bets”.

But some simpler bets are also available, such as the three main types of so-called “Straight Bets”: 

  • Win – It’s the simplest bet where you win if the horse you bet on finishes first.
  • Place – This one is more flexible and you win if your horse finishes either first or second. However, it offers lower payouts than “Win.”
  • Show – If you choose this bet, you have a higher chances of winning, as finishing first, second, or third is counted as a win for you. 
Horse Race

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, now you’re already aware of some of the most basic terminology and bets in horse racing. However, there is still plenty to learn in order to place successful bets. And even if you have mastered the most common terms and know the basic strategies of betting, keep in mind that the chances of winning strongly depend on your strategic thinking and decision-making process. 

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