Horse Racing Betting in the US

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Horse Racing Betting in the US

There are many states in the US where it is entirely legal to launch an online horse racing betting site and place wagers on races in the US and worldwide. This is thanks to a 1978 law allowing states to broadcast horse races and accept bets from different states, which was amended in 2000 to include mobile and internet betting. 

The 2006 Unlawful Internet Enforcement Gaming Act may have stopped online poker at the time, but under those rules, online horse betting was still legal. That makes horse racing one of the longest continuous legal types of betting in the US. 

Each state has to legalize online horse racing betting separately, and every state has different laws. However, there are many states where you can legally place horse racing bets. If you’re looking to get involved with horse racing betting, then we have the best online horse racing betting sites for you to browse. Choose one of these sites and visit to redeem a welcome bonus to wager on horse racing online. 

Legal Online Horse Racing Betting

Sports betting was banned in the US at the beginning of the 20th century, but horse racing offered bettors a different prospect. The sport embraced pari-mutuel betting, where bettors are wagering against one another rather than the racebook. The racebook takes its cut for administering, and any winners take their cut from the whole pool of wager staked. This isn’t strictly sports betting and has been running in the US since 1908. 

In 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down the 1992 Professional and Amateur Protection Sports Act (PASPA). This allowed states in the US to legalize online sports betting. There are loads of states in the US that now have regulated sports betting apps. Although most states still use pari-mutuel betting for horse racing, a new type of online horse racing betting could be on its way in these states. 

Is it Safe to Bet on Horse Racing Online?

In every state where online horse racing betting is legalized, a regulatory body checks every racebook. Only licensed online horse racing betting sites can operate in these states. If you visit an online racebook and see it has the state license from where you are playing, you know it is safe. That is because these regulatory bodies put these betting sites through strict tests on the safety measures offered. 

That means whether you are playing on your desktop or phone, legal US racebooks will keep your personal and financial data safe. You’re just as safe placing a bet at an online racebook as you would be at your local racetrack!

Why is Online Horse Racing Betting Great?

Horse racing is one of the only sports worldwide that is genuinely unpredictable. Although many knowledgeable and helpful experts offer tips, sometimes on top online horse racing betting sites, they will tell you themselves that even the best advice can be wrong. Longshots are often winners, and a single failed jump can change thousands of bets.

That’s why horse betting is so fun, because not knowing what will happen means that every race is just as exciting as the last. It also means there is some great potential for profits. As any horse has a decent shot of winning, even bets with longer odds can provide a good wager. That’s not always the case with other popular sports like the NFL or NBA. 

Not only that, but because pari-mutuel betting is used rather than conventional sports betting, online horse betting is available in more states across the US. That means in places where other forms of online sports betting are illegal, like California, you can place legal online horse racing wagers. There are also horse racing tracks everywhere, from Minnesota to Pennsylvania. That means more bettors across the US can join the fun.

Best US Horse Races

The US is host to some of the biggest horse races globally, which is exciting enough on its own. This becomes even more exciting when you realize how many betting opportunities there are. Here are some of the most famous US races you can wager on with legal horse racing betting apps. 

Kentucky Derby

The most famous horse race in the US is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. These races are held almost always held the first weekend of May, and the track is known as the “Run for the Roses”. That’s because the winning horse and jockey are covered in roses to celebrate their victory. 

The Grade I race is known as the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sport” thanks to its length and the thrill that the race brings to bettors. The Churchill Downs racetrack has its own sportsbook and racebook, named Twinspires after the famous architecture at the race track. You can use this racebook and many more to place legal bets on this race and others around the US and world. 

Preakness Stakes

The Kentucky Derby is the first of a series of races known as the American Triple Crown. The second race in that prestigious group is the Preakness Stakes, held at the Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland. This is another Grade I race with a flower nickname, known as the “Run for the Black-Eyed Susans”. That’s because the winning horse is draped in the state’s national flower.

The event usually draws over 100,000 people, making it one of the highest attended horse races in the world. That means loads of wagers are placed in Maryland, where online horse race betting is legal. 

There are many traditions at this racing track, including painting the horse and rider weather vane. When the winner of the race is declared, a painter repaints the weather vane in the colors of the winning horse and jockey. 

Belmont Stakes

The third of the American Triple Crown series is held five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes. The Belmont Stakes is held at Belmont Park, Elmont, New York. This course is known as the “Championship Track” because nearly every major US champion horse has ridden there. That’s why so many people turn up for the races and tune in to watch.

The race track is considered one of the fairest courses in the US, thanks to how wide the turns are. That means these races are some of the most exciting that you can bet on because only a few horses in history have won all three races in the American Triple Crown. That means there are plenty of surprise winners. 

Online Horse Racing Betting Features

Online racebooks don’t just boast markets for horse racing betting but also more awesome features to keep you happy. For example, many racebooks offer live streaming of horse races if you place bets. That means you can watch the events live on your desktop or mobile device if you’ve placed a bet. 

Some of our BestAppBet recommended racebooks will offer in-play horse racing betting, which means you can place bets on races as they are running. This means you can throw yourself into the action and wager with live odds that update as the race progresses. This is one of the most exciting kinds of online betting, as every hurdle and length makes a difference. 

Online Horse Racing Bonuses and Promotions

Racebooks want new customers all the time, which means the online horse racing betting sites offer generous welcome bonuses to anyone who registers. That means when you sign up with a new racebook, you can find yourself with loads of bonus funds to use on online horse betting.

It’s not just new players that online horse betting sites care about, and loyalty is very important. If you repeatedly wager with one site, you can expect exclusive offers and promotions to boost your bankroll. 

We bet you’re desperate to start placing your own online horse racing bets with all these benefits. All that’s left to do is choose your online horse racing betting site from our recommendations.

Types of Horse Racing Bets

There are various types of horse racing bets available in legal US sportsbooks. Below, our experts listed examples of a few popular bets you will find on the top US sports betting apps. 


The simplest kind of horse racing bets you can place. You choose which horse will be the winner in any given race. You can pick two or more horses from the same race, but obviously, only one horse will finish the race first. 

Remember, online horse race betting is based on a pari-mutuel system. Although top horse racing apps will predict your payout before a race, only once everyone has wagered will you know your cut. This applies to all horse race betting in the US.


Instead of betting on only the winning horse, you are betting on a horse to finish in the top two places. Some sportsbooks will offer more places (4th, 5th, etc.) for special races. If your horse finishes in one of the place positions, you will win your bet.


A show bet is wagering on your horse to finish in the top three in any given race. Considering the chance of any horse achieving this is much greater, the odds are much lower on these bets than on win and place wagers. 


An exacta bet requires you to correctly pick which horse will come first and which will come second in any given race. You will only win if your exact predictions are correct. For example, you would win nothing if the two horses you wagered on finished first and second but in the wrong order, you would win nothing. In this case, your prediction for first would come second and vice versa. 


A trifecta is the exact same as an exacta bet, except you have to correctly guess the horses and places of the first three positions in any race. 


The superfecta requires the correct predictions for horses placing in the top four positions in any race, taking the trifecta a step further. The number of possibilities with this kind of betting means a win is unlikely. Some sportsbooks offer lower minimum wagers on these bets to make up for that. 


Only the bravest of horse bettors go for Hi-5 bets. That’s because this is like a superfecta bet, but you need to predict five horses in one race. This is like a parlay bet but for the top five horses in a single race. There are so many possibilities, but the payouts are huge. 

Daily Double

Imagine this as an exacta bet but across two races. Instead of predicting the horses to finish first and second, you’re predicting a horse to win each race. That means you need to predict both winners correctly for your bet to come through. 


Take the premise of a daily double bet and throw in another race. What do you get? A pick-3 bet. Correctly guessing the winner of three horse races will bring you your payout. 


Pick-4 bets see you guessing the winners of four different horse races. Usually, horse betting sites will offer these across numerous races happening at the same track over a day. 


If picking four race winners wasn’t enough for you, how about five? With a pick-5 bet, every horse you predict across those five races has to finish first. Considering how unpredictable horse racing is, you better hope you made some good picks! 


You guessed it! A pick-6 requires you to pick the winner of six consecutive races. If even one horse finishes anywhere but first, you lose your bet. 


Daily Racing Form

Daily Racing Form (DRF) is one of the most famous online horse betting operators in the US. The company began printing tabloid newspapers about horse racing in 1894 and has used that expertise to launch its online betting platform. Go to its amazing website or download the app to see the latest odds on horse races across the US and worldwide. You can also find the latest betting tips and horse racing news from some of the best racing experts in the country. The horse racing betting site offers a sportsbook that’s perfect for betting on major league games. 


TVG started in 1999 as a cable TV channel committed to showcasing horse racing across the US. Since then, the company has been acquired by FanDuel and now operates the popular TVG horse betting platform. Thousands of US bettors choose TVG as their horse racing betting platform. Visit the desktop and mobile sites in 33 different states to watch races with TVG and to place wagers. But it’s not just races in the US. Expect to see odds from the biggest race tracks worldwide, including the UK, Hong Kong, and Australia. 


NYRA Bets is an amazing online horse racing betting provider that US players love. Not only do you get awesome odds on all the latest races, but also live streaming of races around the US and the world. There’s nothing better than watching a race you’ve got a wager on, and you can place win, place, show, and more kinds of bets with this platform. Visit the website or mobile app to get some of the best horse racing betting odds around.