At the race track: The basics of horse race betting in Canada

Betting on horse races has been a popular pastime that many are drawn to because of the unpredictability of the races and the horses that run in them. And with Canada sports betting proliferating beyond leaps and bounds, horse race betting has never been this attractive to bettors in the country.

Steeped in equestrian tradition, this timeless sports classic can baffle those who are new to horse racing. So, we bring you some understanding of how things operate behind the scene in horse races. Here is everything you need to know:

Basic terminology

Before we dive into the basics, we must have a rudimentary understanding of how betting on horse racing works. In most cases, the bets are pooled for a race. Having deducted the taxes and house fees, the remaining funds are distributed among the winning bettors. Some of the important types of bets include:

  • Wins: This is where you bet on a horse to finish first.
  • Place: This is where you bet on a horse to finish in the top 2.
  • Show: This is where you bet on a horse to finish in the top 3.
  • Exacta: This is where you would bet on the correct order of the first two horses.
  • Trifacta: This is where you would bet on the correct order of the first three horses.

Now having the rudimentary out of the way, here’s how to place your bets.

Choosing a bet type

With a lot of betting options available, players will never run out of the fun and excitement. With each type of bet coming in with its own unique risks and potential wins, finding the right bet for yourself depends on your appetite for risk. If you are new, we suggest you stick with a basic win, place or show bet since these offer a simple entry point to horse race betting. Experienced punters can dabble around with more complex bets to add that extra layer of challenge.

Analyzing the odds

Odds are the numerical representation of  likelihood to win, and they often play a very important role in determining payouts. Generally, these are represented in fractional form. Horses with low odds are considered favorites to win the race and horses with high odds are deemed underdogs. However, it is important to note that winning bets on horses with high odds generally translates to higher payouts at the cost of high risk. Therefore, the key is to find the right balance of odds and potential payout.


Research is probably the most important aspect of smart betting. Before placing any bets, be sure to conduct thorough research on the horses and jockeys that are scheduled for the race. Factor in attributes like performance, race surface, track records and more, to arrive at an informed decision. And with a lot of websites and racecards offering valuable insights into a treasure trove of information, your diligence should help you make well-informed bets.

Embrace the race track

While live online betting does have its place for offering a convenient way to place bets, being at the race track in person and taking in the electrifying atmosphere still remains an unparalleled experience for those who love the sport. You will witness the thundering hooves and the roof-melting cheering of the crowd as you live in the moment. Plus, being at the race in person will allow you to make adjustments to your bets based on real time developments.