Nothing beats the thrill of the final furlongs as race horses thunder towards the line. Tens of thousands of fans cheer for their selection as the pace setters seek to hold on and the back riders make late plays for glory, while many millions more cheers from the comfort of their armchairs. Famous races across the world like the Grand National, the Kentucky Derby and the Paris Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe are hotly contested affairs, brought to your laptops and mobiles by online sportsbooks. Thanks to them we can watch these top races live, and thanks to them we can follow our favorite colts, mares and jockeys. In no other sport will you find so many high-priced winners brought off the pedigree and training of magnificent animals. And that’s why we love it.
When is the horse racing season?
Horse racing meets take place every single day, across the whole year. Like many sports including soccer in the UK (Boxing Day) and NFL in the USA (Thanksgiving and Christmas), major horse racing meets like the King George V Stakes at Kempton (Boxing Day) even land on public holidays. The Melbourne Cup is curiously held on the first Tuesday in November, bucking the trend for weekend major horse racing events. The race is known as “The Race That Stops A Nation”…and now we know why!
What are the most bet-on horse racing events?
While every day is horse racing day for punters across the globe, there are a number of events that bring everybody out to bet, including people who don’t follow this sport or any other. In the UK the Grand National at Aintree is a national tradition, as are the races in the Triple Crown in the U.S. and the Irish St. Leger at the Curragh, also part of the Irish Triple Crown, along with the Irish 2,000 Guineas and Irish Derby. Other major races include the Melbourne Cup, the Paris Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Pegasus World Cup, officially the richest race in the world.
What kinds of online bets can I make on horse racing?
The most common bets to place on race horses are straight up win bets and each way bets. Win bets land if the horse wins, plain and simple. Your payout will be your stake multiplied by the odds. Each way bets double your stake, but give you the insurance of a lower payout if your horse places in the race. The number of places depends on the sportsbook and the race, with online bookies often offering extra places for the major races like the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Preakness Stakes and Dubai World Cup. The place payouts are either 1/4 or 1/5 the odds, again dependent on the race and the terms offered by the bookie.
Can I use sportsbook sign-up bonuses to bet on horse racing?
Most commonly, yes. But this depends on the sportsbook sign up offer that you are accepting. Before major horse racing meets, for example like at the UK Cheltenham Festival in March, online bookmakers often offer specific sign up bonuses geared towards the festival. These might take shape in odds boosts (such as major favorites boosted to higher odds) or “bet and get” offers, whereby you bet a specific amount on a specific race to earn a free bet back.