The increased popularity of horse racing, boosted in the United States by the Triple Crown successes of American Pharoah, has created an additional pool of more than 20 million new horse racing enthusiasts. This new interest has in turn generated more betting activity and larger handles at tracks everywhere.

If you’re new to the sport and have developed an interest in betting on races, what are some of the basic strategies that you can employ in order to make your experience enjoyable? Here is a guide to some of the ways to place bets on horse racing and ways that you may be able to increase your odds for winning.

Where to Place Bets

Betting on horse racing in the U.S. can take place at the track, in an off-track betting (OTB) facility, in Las Vegas and even online (where permitted by state law). It is important to find out what type of betting is permissible in your state in order to stay in compliance and avoid any potential penalties associated with illegal betting.

Basic Bets Terminology

The basic terminology that must be understood includes win, place and show. Betting to “win” means you need your horse to finish first, while betting to “place” only requires a first or second place finish for the horse. A “show” bet only requires your horse to either place first, second or third. Since a win bet has a higher level of risk than show or place, it has a higher payout. Show bets are more popular because they have a higher probability of a payout, but will also result in a lower total payout.

Betting Strategies

Bettors may try to increase their potential winnings through the use of more exotic types of horse racing bets over the basic win, place and show. These bets may involve a single race bet or bets placed for multiple races. Types of single race exotic bets include the exacta, quinella, trifecta, superfecta and hi-5. An exacta bet is one where you choose the horse that will win and the horse that will place in the correct order. A quinella is a similar type of a bet except that you are not required to get the correct order of the two horses picked. A trifecta requires the placement of three horses in order of win, place and show. A superfecta adds an additional fourth horse in order of finish and a hi-5 adds a fifth horse in order of finish.

Multi-race bets include the daily double, pick 3, 4, 5, and 6. A daily double is a pick of the race winner of two consecutive races. You can add to your winnings by picking winners in the next consecutive 3 (pick 3), 4 (pick 4), 5 (pick 5) and 6 (pick 6) races. You can improve your odds of winning by remembering that a third of the favorites for each race win. Riders who are in the top ten of the jockey standings win 90 percent of their races. You can pick up good betting tips from handicappers that may aid in improving your chances of winning at the races.

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