4 Horse Specialty Bets to Check Out

Closeup of Jockey and Horse With a Sportsbook Background

History of Horse Racing from China to England

Horse racing has a long history and is of the most ancient of human past times. We’ve used horses for transportation and labor for centuries, and horse racing has long been a source of entertainment around the world.

In the beginning, horse racing was just a simple competition of stamina and speed, and really not a lot has changed since. Despite all the electronic monitoring, televisions, and broadcasts of horse racing now, it’s still a simple contest to see which horse is the fastest.

China, Persia, and Arabia were some of the first countries to highly develop the art of horseback riding. It’s likely that once they developed horseback riding, horse racing came soon after. Much of horse racing is lost to history so we don’t know for sure which countries first had horse racing.

Image of Multiple Horses Racing

Arabian and Turk horses contributed to early European horse racing. Europeans used these imported horses to start racing during the early crusade period. These horses became popular to race with and the popularity of horse racing began to spread around the world.

King Charles ll began organizing horse races more during the 17th century. He began giving out awards for horse races and started coming up with different measurements and dimensions to make sure the races were judged consistently.

The English Classic races helped bring in the modern age of horse racing. Dashes for 3-year-olds carrying level weights became the classic English Pattern of horse racing. Different classics based on the 3-year-old horse races in England then began to spread all over the world.

4 Types of Horse Races

The prevalence of horse racing around the world has begotten many different varieties of horse races as different cultures came up with different ways to measure the strength, speed, and stamina of a horse.

Here are some of the different types of horse races:

  1. Flat Racing deals with thoroughbred horses and is run on a flat level surface. Flat races can run from 1 to 3 miles. The 1 miles deal more with speed while the 3 miles races require more stamina out of the horse
  2. Conditions and Handicap racing involve the different physical conditions of the horse before the race begins. Some of the horse’s physsical qualties that were considered included in the horse’s age, breed type, and sex. The handicap races help even out the playing field to make betting on the race easier.
  3. Jump racing puts obstacles around the track that horses have to hurdle. Overseas jump racing is known as the National Hunt and horses will have to avoid ditches as well as jumping over obstacles. These races require very athletic horses and include a lot of suspenseful moments.
  4. Endurance racing is what it sounds like. Most of these races can require a long time to complete and therefore require the horse to have a lot of stamina so it can finish the race in good enough condition to win.

How to Pick a Horse

If you’re interested in betting on horse races, you’ll need to learn how to pick which horse you think will win. There’s a lot more to picking out a horse to win than just looking at which horse is bigger or more muscular. Knowing what to look for in a horse will give you a big gambling edge.

Reading the racing form is when you look at a horse’s past performance to see how well it’s done in previous races. This can involve a lot of variables and can be a great tool for helping you figure out which horse has the best shot of winning.

Here are some examples of how to read an entry on a racing form:

  • Horses it’s raced against. If it’s a rookie horse, this won’t help you as much as you won’t have a big racing history to check. You can also see if a horse has raced against a specific horse that it’s racing against in the future. This will give you a good idea of its chances.
  • Recent victories. If the horse has had a good year, then it’s probably a good bet to win. If the horse is consistently winning a lot of races leading up to the race you’re betting on, it is probably in good condition and well tested.
  • Injury history. See if the horse has ever had injuries. If you check out all the details of the horse you’re betting on, you’ll see if there’s something underneath the hood that could be bothering the horse and make him a worse bet.

Types of Horse Tracks

Another great factor to focus on when horse race betting is the horse track. A lot of bettors may just look at the odds to decide which horse they’re going to bet on and never consider the track. Looking at the track and knowing which horses do well on what surfaces can give you a big advantage over other bettors.

In the US, there are 3 different types of horse tracks: Dirt, turf, and synthetic. You’ll see these types of tracks across the US and each one can have a different effect on how well the horses race.

Dirt is the fastest surface that horses race on. Horses will end up with much faster times when they’re on a dirt surface. Turf is the slowest one so horses will be slower out of the gate.

4 Types of Horse Specialty Bets

Here are the 4 types of horse specialty bets you can make:

1. Straight Bets

There are 3 types of straight bets: win, place, and show. They are pretty simple to understand and if you’re just getting into horse racing, they’re great bets to start with.

A win bet means the horse has to come in first place of the race. A place bet means the horse can come in first or second. A show bet means the horse can come in first, second, or third. A win bet will pay out more than a show bet because it’s a bigger risk so calculate the risk when you decide which bet to make.

2. Horizontal Exotic Bets

Parlay bets are a big part of horse racing and are also known as combination bets. A parlay bet involves multiple bets at once and the only way to win a parlay bet is to win all the different bets that form the parlay.

Parlay bets are much riskier than single bets because the likelihood of them winning is much lower but they also pay out a lot more. They’re also very complex statistically because you can combine several bets into 1 and the outcomes increase exponentially.

Far View of Horse Racers

Horizontal exotic bets are another form of parlay bets. In them, you must predict the winner of several horse races in a row. If you thought it was tough to predict the winner of one horse race, imagine predicting the winner of 5 in a row.

You can change your bet on however many races you want to — the more races you bet on in a horizontal parlay bet, the more the risk will increase so carefully decide how to place your wager.

3. Vertical Exotic Bets

Vertical exotic bets are very similar to horizontal bets but there’s a twist. Vertical bets involve predicting the order in which horses will finish in one race. Vertical means the order of horses in a single race, while horizontal means the first place horse across multiple races.

Vertical bets can also be modified based on how many horses you bet on. You can bet on who comes in first and second. This will be the safest form of a vertical bet, but you can also bet on how the horses will finish 1-4. The risk increases the more horses you bet on, but so do the rewards.

4. Pick 3

Pick 3 is a unique wager that exists in horse racing that doesn’t exist in other types of sports betting. While it’s not really a new bet in itself, it’s a specific way that parlay bets operate in horse racing so it’s important to understand the difference between a pick 3 bet and a conventional parlay bet.

A regular parlay bet will require you to bet the minimum for every part of the parlay but a pick 3 bet will let you bet on every part of the parlay while only requiring a bet for an individual part of the parlay. That’s a little confusing so let’s look at an example.

In a regular parlay bet, if the bet minimum was $2, you’d have to bet $8 to make a 4 part parlay bet. In a pick 3 bet with the same minimum, you only have to bet $2. $2 is the minimum for a single part of the parlay bet so it’s all you have to bet in a pick 3 to still wager on the entire parlay bet.


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