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How to Bet at the Racetrack Like a Pro

Many people are aware of horseracing but have never actually been to the track to watch or bet on the races especially now that all bets can be done online through sportsbooks such as 888sport NJ, Bovada and Betonline. But of course, the excitement that you get at the track especially on your first visit will make you want to bet on the races. If you have never been to the track, however, you will likely not know how to bet.

Here is a breakdown of the type of betting that you can do when you go to the track. Always remember to start out small and work your way up to bigger bets. It is never good to run out of money on the first race and then have to twiddle your thumbs for the rest of the day.

  1. Straight Wager: This is the best choice for beginners. You will just pick a horse for each pole position (placing). You will pick a first, second and third place bet. Most minimum bets are $2.00, so this is a great way to play without breaking the bank. You can get your feet wet this way and figure out how to select horses when they are in the paddock before the race. The horse that wins, is the WIN bet, the horse that gets second is the PLACE bet but you also get a payout if this horse wins. SHOW is the bet for the third-place horse and you will still get a payout if the horse is first or second or third.
  2. Combo Straight Wager: This is a bet for the same horse to win, place or show. It will cost the same amount per bet and is all placed on a single horse. The payout varies per placing of the horse.
  3. Win, Place Show Wager: Like the across-the-board combo-straight-wager bet, this bet allows you to make multiple straight wagers in one bet. So you will bet that a horse can win/place or perhaps place and show. You will get payouts per placing but the bet also costs more since its more than one wager on the same horse.
  4. Exotic Wagers: These are the bets on multiple horses in the same wager. This means that you will be picking combinations of horses to place in a certain order. An Exacta is a bet for first and second in that exact order. A Quinella is a bet that two horses will be first or second in either order. A Trifecta is a bet that the first three horses will place in the exact order that you have wagered. A Superfecta is a bet that four horses will place in an exact order. All of these wagers can be “boxed” for an additional fee, which means that you can pay for a wager that says that if any of them place regardless of order, you get a payout.

When you are placing your bets, always use a human teller. Automatic tellers have lengthy lines and you might get shut out of a race while you are waiting for your turn. There is also less room for error when you use a human teller. Always make sure your money is out and ready for your bet to be placed, when you get to the head of the line. You will need to know the racetrack and race number, the amount of the bet, the type of bet and the number(s) of the horse(s) you are betting on.

If you have never had to pick a winner at the track, you might be wondering how to do this. A good rule of thumb is to look at the race day program and look at the handicap on each horse. Check out the horse’s prior running history to see if it has run this type of race before. You can also look at the jockey’s history. Last of all, and most important, watch the horse in the paddock before the race. Nervous, sweaty, anxious horses are often worn out before they get into the gate to run their race. Likewise, a horse that seems to be dragging itself around the ring or who is limping will likely not run a good race.

Now that you are armed with some tips and tricks for enjoying your day at the races, you should be prepared to make some bets and learn the ropes! And find new ways of enjoying your free time. After all, there is nothing more thrilling than watching horses run to glory and the excitement of your horse crossing the line first is second to none!

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Written by Marcus Richards

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