With the Kentucky Derby fast approaching, and the excitement it brings, beginner betters will be left wondering how to bet on Kentucky Derby. There are no hard and fast rules for picking winners (otherwise everybody would always win) but understanding these 5 beginner horse racing tips will yield better results than simply choosing a horse at random.
Understand the Different Wagers
There are several types of bet you can make on a horse race. You can pick the winner and place a bet to win. You can place a bet that a horse will place. This means that the horse has to come in either first or second position to win money on the bet.
You can also bet that your horse will show. This bet will pay out if the horse finishes in first, second, or third position. You will have a higher chance of winning, but the winnings will be less than placing to win or place.
There are also combo wagers you can put on. For example, you can make an across the board bet. This is essentially a bet placed for the horse to win, a bet for it to place, and a bet for it to show. If you place a $6 across the board bet, you are essentially making a $2 win bet, a $2 place bet and a $2 show bet on the same horse.
Know the Jockey Leaderboard
90% of race meets are won by jockeys in the top ten positions of the jockey leaderboard. Now, who the top ten jockeys are at that time and find out if any of them are running in the race you are about to watch.
Look at What Class Levels the Horse Has been Running in
Races are broken down into four different classes. The lowest class is the maiden class, and the highest is the stakes class. Understanding classes are key to understanding form. If a horse has been performing consistently well in a maiden class, it will likely move up to the claiming class, then allowance class, and finally stakes.
Just because a horse has won a lot of races at a claiming class doesn’t mean it will win in the allowance class. It is worth considering the different classes any time you are looking at previous horse form to better understand how it may perform in the next race.
Look at the Surface
Horses usually have a type of surface they perform best on. This may be a dirt track, a firmer grass track, or an all-weather track. If the horse has done well previously on a dirt track, there may be a reason to believe he can replicate this performance again. If he or she has never won on the dirt, then it might be a stretch to expect it to win on dirt today.
Watch the Horse in the Paddock
Some people like to head down to the paddock to take a peek at the horses. There are no hard and fast rules for how a horse should look before a race. But signs to look out for are dark patches around the horse’s kidneys. This could indicate they are not feeling 100%. Also, if they are rearing up a lot and jumping around the paddock, they are wasting valuable energy that could be better used in the race. An alert horse that isn’t too fidgety is usually a favourite.