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Author ImageAuthor: | Last Updated: November 2023

Horse racing betting is one of the oldest gambling traditions still kicking today, and it’s a favorite pastime for enthusiasts and experts worldwide. If you’re new to the scene, you’re probably asking yourself “how does horse betting work?”

Saddle up as below we discuss the best online racebooks, the legality of online horse racing betting in U.S., how to go about making your first bet, most popular horse racing events and the best betting tips to kickstart your horse racing betting success.

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Horse racing online betting is fun but finding an adequate place to bet can be cumbersome. Not to worry, we have categorized our selection of racebooks on what they do best to help you select your dream horse racing betting site.

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mybookie logo

MyBookie takes its place as the best racebook overall simply because of their enormous coverage of races. You can bet on races taking place worldwide, every day on MyBookie. Not to mention, MyBookie does not skimp on the bets available in their racebook.

Bettors can pick from a plethora of wagers ranging from straight bets, exacta, trifecta to daily doubles and their minimum wager is only $0.05.

On top of all that, MyBookie offers an 8% horse rebate for existing customers on qualified tracks with no rollover requirements.

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betonline logo

BetOnline is by far the best racebook for players looking to get the most bang for their buck.

You can claim a free bet up to $25 when you place your first horse racing wager at BetOnline. What’s more, if you lose your wager, BetOnline will reimburse you with a free play up to $25 with a 6x rollover.

Of course, BetOnline doesn’t stop there and adds a 9% rebate on horse racing to their list of promotions.

Apart from promotions, BetOnline also offers a great deal of thoroughbred and harness races to choose from with the usual straight, exacta, trifecta, superfecta and daily double bets as well as daily doubles.

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bovada logo

Bovada is the best racebook for beginners because of the easy-to-use platform and simplified wagers.

If you are new to horse racing betting online, Bovada is a great choice with a very simple horse racing betting section. With a large upper menu to select your desired track as well as simple buttons to place win, place, show bets, Bovada is very beginner friendly.

Plus, users can make deposits with as little as $5-$10, and place wagers on horses with as little as $1. Bovada is a great place for straight wagers on horse races, as their interactive betting platform quickly allows you to bet win, place, and show.

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betnow logo

BetNow is a great choice for those who like to bet on a wide variety of races. Their racebook has great coverage for horse racing betting all over the world, including tracks in Japan, South Africa, Sweden, Dubai, France, and Australia, to name a few.

International tracks at BetNow have a $1 minimum wager, $200 maximum wager, and a $2,000 max payout. Because of the max payout, it’s a good idea to wager on the low end. A $1 trifecta would net you about $200 of winnings, so a winning $10 wager puts you at the max payout limit.

BetNow also has a high horse betting rebate for all race bettors. When you bet on their racebook Monday through Sunday, BetNow grants you with a 10% rebate based on your net losses.

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SportsBetting Logo

Sportsbetting.ag stands out as the racebook with the most diverse set of banking methods in our lineup. Their 24 banking methods include 16 cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and many altcoins) as well as Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Discover, and conventional bank transfers or cashier’s checks. Minimum deposits range from $20 to $25, while users can withdraw as little as $20 while using crypto.

Sportsbetting.ag offers thoroughbred and harness racing with a plethora of betting options ranging from straight bets, exacta, trifecta, superfecta to pick 3, pick 4 and pick 5. Plus, users can cash in on daily 9% racing rebate.

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Here is a brief comparison between the best online racebooks to help you pick the best horse racing betting site:

Racebook Minimum Deposit Exclusive Horse Racing Bonuses? Minimum/Maximum Wager Read Review
mybookie logo $20 8% rebate $0.05-$3,000 Read Review
betonline logo $20 Daily 9% rebate + $25 risk free bet $1-$20,000 Read Review
bovada logo $5 No $1-$2,000 Read Review
betnow logo $10 10% rebate $1-$2,000 Read Review
SportsBetting Logo $20 Daily 9%, $25 risk free bet $1- $20,000 Read Review

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Evaluating betting sites online is a lengthy process we carry out with great care. When it comes to horse racing betting however, we take into consideration a little more than the usual criterion we cover. You can read all about our evaluation process on our how we rank page. Meanwhile here are some of the specific criterion we cover before recommending a racebook to you:

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A great racebook should offer comprehensive coverage of all major horse racing events, especially the Triple Crown. Having a wide range of race options ensures bettors have opportunities to bet on the most prestigious and exciting events.

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An easy-to-use platform is essential for a smooth betting experience. We ensure the racebooks we recommend are user friendly, responsive, and easy to navigate on most devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices.

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A comprehensive racebook will host both thoroughbred and harness racing. This allows a more diverse betting environment for all kinds of bettors within the horse racing betting community. Plus, racing enthusiasts might also find enjoyment in other kinds of events, like greyhound racing.

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Having both live and virtual horse race betting options provides versatility for bettors. A great racebook will incorporate both live and virtual horse race betting to offer horse racing action even when no live games are going on.

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Choosing the ideal horse racing betting site is a personal process as each bettor has unique preferences and expectations from a site. Hence why, we prepared a quick list of questions a newcomer to horse racing betting might ask themselves to pinpoint what features matter the most to you.

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If you are interested in betting on both thoroughbred and harness races, it is important to choose a racebook that offers a wide variety of race types. BetNow is a great pick for bettors looking for a racebook with a wide range of race coverage.

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Knowing how much you want to wager on a race will narrow your search down significantly. If you like to bet only a small amount, MyBookie is a great choice with minimum bets starting from $0.05. On the opposite end, BetOnline allows wagers up to $20,000, making it an ideal racebook for high-rollers.

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Your preferred deposit method will impact which racebook is better for you. There is nothing worse than signing up to a racebook only to realize they don’t accept your preferred deposit method. Sportsbetting.ag is a great choice all kinds of bettor since they accept a wide range of deposit methods.

Horse racing betting is legal in the United States with a unique legal status compared to other forms of gambling. The Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 grants specific exemptions to horse racing from federal anti-gambling laws. Under this act, betting on horse races conducted legally within states is permitted across state lines through various betting platforms.

The legality of horse racing extends further with individual states regulating the industry. While the federal law provides a broad exemption to horse racing betting, states still have the authority to enforce specific rules and regulations within their borders.

Horse racing has a rich history in the US, dating back to the 18th century. Horse racing has played a significant role in shaping the development of gambling regulations. Today, numerous states regulate and openly support horse racing betting with off track betting facilities and well-established tracks.

Horse Racing

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Only a few states in the U.S. has banned betting on horse racing:

  • Alaska: Alaska has a blanket ban on all forms of gambling, including horse race betting.
  • Hawaii: Hawaii also prohibits all forms of gambling, including horse racing.
  • Utah: Utah does not allow any form of betting, including horse race wagering.

The reason behind these bans are usually cultural, religious, or historical factors that have influenced the state’s outlook on gambling in general. However, in most states horse race betting is embraced as a legal and regulated form of gambling.

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Online horse race betting is generally more accepted compared to any other form of gambling. This acceptance is partially due to the rich history behind horse racing and partially due to the Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978. The 2000 amendment to the act allows wagers on horse races conducted legally within states to be placed online and across state lines. As a result, numerous online racebooks operate legally in the U.S. and provide a convenient platform for horse racing betting for players across the country.

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Horse racing betting offers a plethora of different bets with varying levels of difficulty, allowing bettors to choose their degree of risk and potential payout. Here are some of the most popular horse race bets you can expect to find online:

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In a straight bet, you are betting on a horse to either win (come in first place), place (come in first or second place), or show (come in either first, second, or third place). To win this kind of bet, your horse must meet the criteria of the bet. Payouts differ depending on the type of bet you have chosen but win bets often payout bigger than place and show bets.


In a quinella bet, you are betting on two horses to finish in the top two positions in either order. As long as your horses are in first and second positions, your bet wins. With quinella bets you can expect to get a moderate payout.


An exacta bet involves correctly predicting the first and second place horses in the exact order. If you end up correctly predicting the first and second place horses, your bet wins. The payout from an exacta bet is higher since predicting the precise finishing order is difficult.


A trifecta bet requires you to correctly predict the first, second, and third place horses in the exact order. The payout from a trifecta bet is larger in comparison to exacta bet but they are harder to win.


Superfecta bet is the most difficult as you need to predict the first four horses in the exact order. The payout reflects the difficulty of this bet but winning it requires immense knowledge in horse race betting.

Daily Double

In a daily double bet, you need to pick the winner of two consecutive races. For your bet to win, both of your predictions need to be correct. The payout for this bet can vary depending on the odds of the horses.

Horse racing bets aren’t as straightforward as bets on other sports, as there’s a great deal of math that goes into determining odds and payouts. To learn more about how these wagers work, check out our horse racing bets page.

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Horse racing has been popular ever since the down of time. Every day, there are a countless races taking place worldwide but none are as prestigious as the Triple Crown series. Here is a brief look into the most elite race in the horse racing world:

Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown thoroughbred racing series. It is often referred as the “Run for the roses” as the Kentucky Derby is the most prestigious and iconic horse racing event in the world. It is held annually on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The Kentucky Derby has a rich history starting from 1875, it is one of the oldest horse races in the United States. The derby has become a cultural phenomenon due to its unique blend of high-society fashion and horse racing.

Preakness Stakes

Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing. It is held annually on the third Saturday in May at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Preakness Stakes has a long history dating back to 1873, making it one of the oldest races in the United States. As the middle jewel of the crown, Preakness plays a pivotal role in determining whether a horse can achieve the Triple Crown title and has been the site of many near misses.

Belmont Stakes

Belmont Stakes is the third leg of the Triple Crown series. Held at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, it is nicknamed “The Test of Champions” due to its longer distance. The race started its legacy in 1867, and now the Belmont Stakes is typically held on the first or second Saturday of June. Belmont Stakes is seen as a symbol excellence and achievement in the world of horse racing. Belmont is no stranger to dramatic upsets, adding unforgettable moments in horse racing history.

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Placing a bet on horse racing might be intimidating for beginners. That’s why we have prepared a quick step-by-step guide to help you place your first wager.

Step #1: Sign up

Pick a racebook from one of our recommended racebook list and sign up. Don’t forget to claim your racebook bonus, if applicable.

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Do you want to bet on harness racing or thoroughbred racing? Perhaps you would like to bet on an international race? Simply pick a race from the list of available races on your chosen racebook.

Available Races on Your Chosen Racebook

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Now you need to pick your wager from the bets available from your chosen racebook.

Racebook Wager Options

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Once you have chosen your horses and bets, add them to your betslip.

Creating a Racebook Betslip

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On your betslip, choose how much you would like stake for a certain wager and place your bets.

Choose How Much to Wager

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The last step is to kick back and watch the race. If your bets are successful, you will see your winnings in your account after the race is concluded.

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Now that you know how to place a bet at a horse race betting site, here are four crucial tips to carry your game to the next level:

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If you want to be a successful bettor, studying past performances and track conditions is crucial. Take the time to research previous winners, review recent results, and performance trends under certain track conditions. Some horses will excel on dry, fast tracks while other horses can be more successful in wet or muddy conditions. Knowing how a horse performed under various conditions will help you make more informed decisions.

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Jockeys play a crucial role in the success of a horse. A more experienced jockey will have a competitive edge and can guide the horse to victory. The same can be said for trainers that are responsible for preparing the horses for races. Learning about the strategies and past successes of jockeys and trainers in a race circuit will give you valuable insight while placing your bets.

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Parlays can seem appealing to bettors since they have huge payouts, but they are risky. Winning becomes difficult as you bet on multiple horses in a single parlay, since all your predictions have to be correct to win. Making individual bets or exotic bets is more manageable and grant consistent albeit smaller winnings.

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Horse racing events take place regularly worldwide. While this gives plenty of opportunity to bet on races, you should not bet on all of them. It is much better to be selective when it comes to horse racing betting. Narrowing the selection of races you bet on and studying them in depth will help you make more informed betting decisions.

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Here is a quick look at all the important horse racing betting terms everyone should know:

Term Definition
Win Betting on a horse to come in first place
Place Betting on a horse to come in first or second place
Show Betting on a horse to come in first, second or third place
Across the Board Placing three equal win, place, and show bets
Exacta Betting on two horses to come in first and second place in the correct order
Quinella Betting on two horses to come in first and second place in either order
Trifecta Betting on first, second, and third place horses in the correct order
Superfecta Betting on first, second, third, and fourth place horses in the correct order
Daily Double Betting on the winners of two specific races
Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 6 Betting on the winners of three, four, or six consecutive races

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Horse racing betting can quickly escalate from being a fun hobby to a dangerous addiction. The thrill of betting and the desire for winning can become consuming and turn into a gambling addiction. Responsible horse racing betting involves setting clear limits on time and money spent as well as treating horse racing betting as purely entertainment and not a source of income. If you or someone you know is experiencing gambling addiction, there are anonymous sources ready to help 24/7.

  • The Responsible Gambling Council provides tools to help you talk about responsible gambling practices, manage your own play, learn how to spot the signs of risky gambling behavior, and find out where you can turn to for help.
  • The provides counselling for people who gamble and can link people to the support and resources they need.
  • The American Gaming Association provides information about the gaming industry in the US.
  • The National Council on Problem Gambling has compiled a list of resources on problem gambling issues, including links to other problem gambling related websites and resources.