Horse racing is a time-honored pass time and archaeological evidence show the existence of formal horse racing events in the ancient cultures of Babylon, Egypt, Syria and Greece. In the Greek Olympics of 648 B.C both chariot and mounted horse racing took place, and in the Roman Empire both types of horse racing grew into major industries.
Today, different parts of the world have different types of horse racing, but there are three major categories into which most horse racing activities fall: flat racing, steeplechasing or harness racing.
Different horse breeds have been developed for these different race types. The Arabian, the Quarter Horse, the Pain and the Appaloosa are for instance chiefly used for flat racing, while the Standardbred, the Russian Trotter and the Finnhorse are popular for harness racing. The famous Thoroughbred is used for both flat racing and steeplechasing.
Betting on horse races
Horse racing has always been strongly associated with gambling. Today, the world-wide horse racing market is worth well over $100 billion annually and show no signs of decline.
Horse race tracks normally feature a gambling station where spectators can place their wagers. Parimutuel betting is much more common than odds betting, which means that you will not know in advance how much your wager will pay if you win.
There are bookmakers available, online as well as offline, that will offer odds betting on horse races – especially for large and important races.
During recent years, traditional bookmakers have faced competition from betting exchanges, where gamblers are able to both back and lay money on horse races. On a betting exchange, the odds are set by market conditions, not by a professional odds setter.
Horse race betting
These are some of most common wagers on horse races:
|To win||You win if the horse comes in first place.|
|To place||You win if the horse comes in first or second place. In a race with a lot of horses, payment may also be given for a horse that comes in third place.The rules vary from country to country and even between different bookmakers and different horse races. In the United Kingdom, a horse finishing in first, second or third place will normally yield a payout provided that the race included at least eight horses. In a handicap race with at least 16 horses, place 1-4 yields a payout.|
|To show||You win if the horse comes in first, second or third place.This type of wager is more common in North American than in the rest of the world.|
|Each-Way (E/W)||Your wager is split in two halves. One half is wagered “to win” and the other half is wager “to place”. Full odds are paid if the horse wins (plus the place portion). A quarter or a fifth (depending on race-type and the number of horses in the race) of the odds are paid if the horse does not win but place.As always, you need to check the rules of the specific horse race and the specific bookmaker to see how well a horse have to do to place. Some bookmakers in the United Kingdom will for instance pay out for the first five places in the famous race Grand National, where up to 40 horses participate.This type of wager is not used in North America.|
|Across the board||Your wager is divided into three equal parts and placed on to win, to place and to show. Each part of the wager is handled as a separate bet by the totalizator, so the across the board bet is merely a convenience for gamblers who do not have to place three separate bets on the same horse.This bet is chiefly found in North America.|