How to Bet on Horses successfully? Our extensive Guide!

When you’re new to horse race betting, the thought of knowing how to bet on horses and win may seem far off. Just like with anything else you’ve tried, it takes trial and error to become successful.

We’ve scoured the internet, done the research, and put together an extensive guide on horse betting 101, while this may not save a life, but we’re confident it will save your bankroll a few losses!

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Key Things Covered in This Guide

  • Learn about different betting types
  • What bets to make that won’t make you lose money
  • How to pick horses
  • Increase your chances of winning
  • Boost your horse betting knowledge.

Five Important Things to Keep in Mind When Placing Bets

Easy Money Isn’t Always Guaranteed Money 

When you’re learning how to bet on horses successfully, betting on the horse that’s considered the favorite may seem like the number one suggestion if there were a guide titled betting on horse racing for dummies, but it’s actually not.

Horses that are considered favorites only win about 35% of the time. When they do win, the payoff is usually low—a 35% chance of winning means a 65% chance of losing. When you look at the odds, it’s definitely not always the smartest bet in horse racing.

Rash Decisions Don’t Get You Anywhere 

Don’t just bet on the horse with the coolest sounding name, as tempting as this can be. A horse named “Going for Gold” may sound like a sure thing, but for all you know, he may have never won a race and is recovering from an injury. After all, you’re trying to learn how to bet on horses successfully, not how to sound cool when you lose.

If you want to know the strategy behind pick 6 horse racing, it’s essential to research a horse before betting money on it. A horse may have done very well in a race the week before, but It doesn’t mean that the horse will win today racing against a different group of horses. These are just one of the many factors to consider when you make horse racing bets.

Research Your Horses 

Knowing how to bet horses successfully means when you place a bet, you stand a pretty good chance of winning. While there’s no sure way for you to win every time, with research and dedication, you will have better odds at winning.

You should learn everything you can about the horses you bet on. Whether they race better on a turf track or dirt track, which jockey horse races best, the racing style of the horse, what are their recent race rankings, and what they have for breakfast. Okay, maybe not the last one, but you get the gist.

Make Educated Bets 

Learn about the different types of horse racing bets you can place. Some bets are straightforward and easy to understand. An example would be betting on which horse will win the race.

Other types of bets could be a lot more complicated, and if you do not understand it, there’s a higher risk of losing money, which is tantamount to throwing your money away. Learning about different types of bets is an essential part of how to bet horses successfully.

Ignore People Who Say They Know Everything

Unless they’ve made millions by betting on horses or have written the book on how to bet on horses, their opinion should mean very little to you. Knowing how to bet on horses successfully means knowing when to lend your ears to someone. As with any industry, there’s always someone who thinks they know everything and expects you to follow their advice.

Horse betting is no different. The only way someone can guarantee a win is if they’re cheating. That’s not the type of person who can offer trustworthy advice.

When it comes to betting on horses, one of the things you’ll learn early on is that there’s no sure thing. There’s no horse, jockey, track, or bet where you’ll be guaranteed a win. The only way to win is through gaining skill, expertise, and diligently researching your pick. Knowledge is key to knowing how to bet on horses successfully.

Factors to Consider When Picking a Winning Horse

If you have any hopes of learning how to bet on horses successfully, you must understand what you’re looking for in a winning horse. Here are some of the main categories:


The weight of a horse is a significant factor to consider when selecting your winner. An extra pound or two could be the difference in whether a horse wins the race or not. Heavier weights are considered to have greater slow-down effects on horses in longer races. When placing your bets, consider that a heavier horse may do better at shorter races.

The Jockey 

When considering betting on horses, many people focus on the horse and forget about the jockey. The jockey is also an important factor to consider when picking a winning horse in a race. Questions to consider are whether the jockey has ridden that particular horse in the past or not. If not, there could be issues with the horse trusting the jockey as he is unfamiliar.

Also, consider if the jockey is fit and in good shape? If the jockey has gained a bit of weight and is not in good shape, this could affect the speed of the horse. If the jockey hasn’t been winning many races lately, there’s a slim chance that today will be the first.

Running Style 

There are three different running styles to consider: front runners, stalkers, and closers. When picking a horse, you want to look at how many of each style is in the race. The preferred racing style can give you a good indication of how the race will play out and, as such, which horse stands a better chance of winning.

Getting familiar with the different running styles and how it impacts the race is essential to horse race betting.


It’s always a good idea to do some research on a horse’s trainer. If the trainer has a record of wins, it’s usually a good indicator that your horse may place in a top-three spot. However, if the trainer is new to the scene or doesn’t have many horses doing well, it may be riskier to bet on one of his horses.

Starting Position 

Certain starting positions come with advantages and disadvantages that could affect the outcome of the race. In turn, this will affect the likelihood of you winning your bet. Front runners do better starting the race at position one, whereas closer will do better at gate six or higher.

Recent Races

Do some research on the horse to find out if it has been in any races recently and what the rankings were. If the horse hasn’t raced recently, it may have been injured and is still recovering. Old injuries could affect the horse’s ability to race or the odds given by the sportsbook. Keep in mind that the average racehorse will have gaps of a month or longer between races.

Previous Rankings  

Horses who regularly rank in the top three of their races have a statistically higher chance of winning their next race. If the horse you’ve selected to win a race doesn’t regularly rank high, it may not be the smartest bet in horse racing.

Type of Track 

Some horses do better on dirt tracks, and others do better on turf. If the race you intend to bet on will be run on a dirt track, make sure you pick a horse that does well on dirt tracks. If you want to stick with your favorite who races better on turf, you may need to adjust your horse racing betting strategy accordingly.

Weather Conditions 

Just like us, some horses may not be a fan of running outdoors on sweltering days. They may not do too well running on a muddy track either. If your preferred horse doesn’t do too well in the particular type of weather affecting that race, you may want to reconsider and change your bet to something a little safer.

Different Types of Bets You Can Make

One of the things that can make betting on horses daunting is the different types of horse bets you can make. If you’re new to horse betting, chances are you have just about no idea what you’re looking at. However, one of the keys to knowing how to bet on horses successfully is understanding the types of bet. We’ve listed the most common types of horse bets.

We recommend starting with the simpler bets before you delve into the more complicated types of horse bets. To take advantage of horse racing’s best odds, you’ll need to be willing to place riskier bets. Most horse betting sites allow you to make combination bets to increase your chances of winning.

Win – This type of horse bet is easy to understand. You place a bet on whichever horse you think will win. This type of bet is one of the easiest ways to get started and become comfortable with betting on horses.

Show – If you’ve placed a Show bet, it means you’ll win if your horse placed first, second or third in the race. While this gives you a greater opportunity to win money, chances are you’ll win less money than placing a winning bet.

Place – A Place bet is like the Win and Show bets in that it is based on the finishing position of your chosen horse. To win, your horse must place first or second in the race.

Quinella – When you place a quinella bet, you’ll select two horses. One must finish in the first place and the other in second. The order in which they finish doesn’t matter.

Trifecta – For this type of bet, your selected horses must finish in first, second, and third place. You need to specify which horse will be in which ranked position.

Superfecta – This is considered a difficult bet to win, and as such, the payoff is quite high for those lucky enough to get it right. To place this bet, you need to select which horse will place first, second, third, and fourth place.

Daily double – There’s a good chance of a big pay-out if you get this right. You’ll need to select a horse you think will win two consecutive races. As you can imagine, this can be quite tricky.

Don’t worry; knowing how to bet on horses successfully doesn’t mean you have to use all the available types of bet.

Get Your Tips from the Experts

We’ve said it before, but it wouldn’t hurt to repeat it as it’s one of the fundamentals of how to bet horses successfully. If someone tells you that they’re an expert horse bettor and can guarantee a win, they’re not trustworthy.

There are no guarantees when it comes to betting on horses. With the correct research, you can increase your odds of winning at horse betting, but it doesn’t guarantee a win every time.

If you’re still starting and don’t want to spend money just yet, you can even watch a sports channel on tv that has a segment on horseracing. Another option is to go to your nearby horse racing track.

If you don’t have access to sports channels or do not live anywhere near a racetrack, there are reputable sites out there that offer helpful information so you can make an informed decision. Some provide free picks while others require fees for the information they provide.

Most of the information that these sites include can be very helpful and aren’t necessarily things that people new to the world of horse racing would be familiar with. Pace analysis is a good example. Unless you’ve watched horse racing in the past and you’re aware of the terminology, this could be an unfamiliar concept to you. Terminology can be a fundamental part of learning how to bet on horses successfully.

Some horses can leave the gates at speeds that we, as humans, will never achieve. The horse won’t be able to maintain that speed for the entire length of the race, but it does give them a head start.

Other horses maintain good speed throughout the race and give it their all at the end for a photo finish. Knowing this and how to interpret it could be vital in determining the outcome of the race, and thus which bet to make.

There are also other factors that can essentially override any tips anyone can give you. If it’s raining on the day of the race or the day before, the dirt track may be muddy, which could affect the ability of a horse unfamiliar with this type of terrain. The jockey may have changed to one who is unfamiliar with the horse, which could affect its abilities.

There are unknown possibilities that could affect the outcome of your bet. If something has changed, you may want to consider adjusting your bet. Bear in mind that it’s still possible to place winning bets even if these things occur.

When you’re learning how to bet on horses successfully, it’s vital to remember that things can change, and be willing to adapt accordingly.

Understanding the Odds

Trying to understand the odds can become complicated. However, the odds are a vital part of learning how to bet on horses successfully. We’ll try to simplify it for you. Our horse racing odds explained will make it easier for you to place winning horse racing bets.

If a horse has odds of 7/2 to win a race, this means for every $2 you bet, you will get $7 in profit. This sounds like a good deal. It’s more than 200% profit on your bet. What it actually means is that the bookmaker thinks there’s only a 2 in 7 chance (or 22%) for that horse to win.

Horses that are more likely to win the race will have higher odds and a lower pay-out because there’s less risk involved. Horses with lower odds have a lower chance of being a winner, so the risk tied to your bet is higher. This results in a higher reward should the horse actually win.

Keep in mind that the odds are based on what has happened in the past. The odds are not a guarantee of what will happen in that particular race. The underdog – or under horse – still has a chance of winning.

Like to Pick up Some More Tips & Tricks? Try This

We hope that you’ve picked up a few tricks on how to win money at the horse races. If you’ve decided it’s a bit too intimidating to try right now, but still want to gamble online, check our other detailed guides like horse racing trading strategy to expand your horse betting knowledge.

Successful Horse Betting  – Final Conclusions

After reading our guide, you should be quite an expert on how to bet horses successfully. It’s time to do the necessary research and place a horse bet.

Start off with the more straightforward bets and work your way towards the more complicated types of horse bets like the Superfecta. If you’re not already a member of a sportsbook that offers horse betting, check out our recommended U.S. horse racing betting promotions.

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