Horse Race Betting Strategies for Dummies


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A lot has been said of what horse racing is all about–a centennial sport, games of the kings and the world for legal gambling. However, only a few decoded on how to win in it when it comes to betting.

True, every player has their own strategy on how to analyze the odds of the races. But what really are the basics a fresh starter bettor should know on how to win at horse racing?

Here are the basic strategies that can be helpful to the new players:

1 Know how to decode the racing forms

One of the most important skills a newbie should develop is honing their handicap. Handicapping is a process on which you can determine which horse has the best chance in winning a race. This is where your creative intelligence will be challenged. How you see things. How you analyze things.

To do this, you need to familiarize the Daily Racing Form (DRF) which you can purchase online or upon entering a race track. The form has all the stats and figures you need to analyze for your bet. Papers like a racetrack program and handicapping tip sheets are important too.

2 Take consideration the race distance

This is one of the biggest factors when it comes to betting. The shorter the track, the faster the race finishes. But if these horses are placed in an unfamiliar longer track their performance differs.

Be mindful of the horse’s capability when it comes to distance, pace, and speed. These factors will definitely help you who wins.

3 The ‘track bias’ taking into account the track and weather

Just like human races, a horse’s performance will also take into account the track and weather. Although these thoroughbreds are trained well for any kind of race, they get used to their training grounds. It would be of everyone’s interest if a trainer decides to enhance its horse performance from a speck of dirt to a turf track.

Add in to your analysis on how a horse performs in any type of weather. This natural factor will mess with a horse’s capability if they’re not used to it.

4 Look into the race history of your chosen horse

It is not in every race wherein a horse gives their 100% of ability which is why it’s a very good strategy for handicappers to look into the race history. By looking into it, you will see the pattern depending on where the horse comes from and if the size of the purse is large enough for them to exert its full strength.

Just like humans, there are also instances that a horse still gets into a race in a bad condition and may have not shown its full capacity on track. These little things matter.

5 Look at the horse post position

In previous horse races, you will see its previous race post and most likely the same in its entered races. It has been a proven analysis that those who are favorable are the ones placed on outside posts in sprint races and the inside post takes the lead on longer furlongs.

6 Be familiar with the different types of bets

There are 8 basic options for betting, you have the ‘Show, Place, Win’, Quinella, Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta. Familiarize the following before placing a pot of money to your horse/s of choice.

  • Show – your horse can get 1st, 2nd, or 3rd and you win

  • Place – your horse can get 1st or 2nd and you win

  • Win – your horse must get 1st to win

  • Quinella – bet 2 or 3 horses to finish 1st or 2nd, in any order

  • Exacta – bet 2 horses that must finish in 1st and 2nd in exact order

  • Trifecta – bet 3 horses that must finish in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in exact order

  • Superfecta – bet 4 horses that mush finish in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in exact order

7 Keep on track of the odds

Aside from the 8 basics mentioned above, knowing the odds is one of the easiest ways to determine who wins a particular race. Tracking it will give you information on who the other thinks the fastest and how much they will divide from their payouts once the horse wins.

One way to keep track your odds is signing up to some sites like which will show you the most updated and sometimes a real-time record of the contenders.

These are just a few of the basics one should know when they’re new in the field. Since we live in a digital world today, more of these are available online. There are workshops and seminars available too for your taking for you to improve your wagering skills. All you need to do is find the right and best betting site for you.

The form book records that the 1947 Grand National was won by Caughoo, a small, unheralded 8-year-old owned by Dublin jeweller Jack McDowell, trained by his brother Herbert and ridden by Eddie Dempsey, predominantly a work rider, completely unknown outside of Ireland. His victory was, in itself, remarkable enough.


Neither horse nor jockey had previously raced in England, never mind over the National fences at Aintree but, belying his 100/1 starting price, Caughoo defeated Lough Conn and fifty-six other rivals – including such luminaries of the day as Prince Regent, Revelry and Silver Fame – by 20 lengths and further in a common canter. British Pathé News reported the end of a “grand Grand National”, but the finish of the race was just the start of a controversy that was to last for five decades or more.


The weather at Aintree on National Day was foul, with rain and thick fog reducing visibility to a few hundred yards, at best, and the going was heavy. Caughoo had won the Ulster Grand National at Downpatrick in 1945 and 1946, so was not without ability, and had been set to Aintree in the hope that a change of scenery would rekindle his enthusiasm. However, few people expected him to complete the National course at all, let alone in such a fast time.


Astonishingly, one of them, Daniel McCann, rider of the second horse home, Lough Conn, accused Eddie Dempsey of ‘lingering’ at the twelfth fence – the last fence before Melling Road – on the first circuit and rejoining the race on the second circuit, having failed to jump at least half of the thirty obstacles. A row broke out in the bar, during which Eddie Dempsey was assaulted by McCann – who subsequently served time at Her Majesty’s pleasure – and, although the court case brought by McCann was dismissed, it wasn’t until 1999, 10 years after Dempsey’s death, that evidence came to light vindicating horse and rider.


At that time, the Irish Mirror obtained photographic evidence of Caughoo jumping Becher’s Brook on two separate occasions. Peter McDowell, son of owner Jack McDowell, said at the time, “Caughoo was a good little horse and won the National fairly. We always knew that. We have pictures to prove it.”