Online Sportsbook Rules | Betting on Horse Racing

This year’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs took place on Saturday, May 4 and one of the best ways to get some betting action on the biggest horse race of the season is at your favorite online sportsbook. The online books provide the best of both worlds for major graded stakes races like the Kentucky Derby with betting options in both their sportsbook and their racebook for horse racing.

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While the racebook operates just like any other off-track betting venue, the sportsbook offers futures odds and prop bet options as a great way to expand your betting options. As with any online betting site, there are some general rules for betting on horses either in the sportsbook or racebook that you should be aware of before betting on any race. Some rules are specific to a particular book while others tend to remain consistent across the entire online sportsbook/racebook industry.

One of the most important things to note is the difference between betting on a race through a site’s sportsbook as opposed to its racebook. This generally applies to the bigger graded stakes races such as the Kentucky Derby.

The sportsbook will post futures odds to win which are set. The racebook offers pari-mutuel odds that are impacted by the money coming into the track. For example, if you wanted to bet on Game Winner as one of the favorites to win this year’s Kentucky Derby, you could lock-in his +700 odds right now with a futures bet through the sportsbook. If you decide to wait until Derby Day itself, you could bet him to win through the racebook at whatever odds he goes off at when the race begins.

If you are looking to bet on a wide array of Kentucky Derby prop bets such as the OVER/UNDER on the winning time, that would also be placed through the sportsbook. One of the best options for betting on horse racing through the sportsbook is on the betting odds set for head-to-head matchups. If you wanted to bet on Game Winner in a head-to-head matchup against Roadster, as another top favorite, he would only have to finish higher than the horse he is paired against to cash a winner.

Moving to some general rules for betting on horses through the betting venue’s racebook, the official results at the participating race track determine the outcome of all bets. If there would be a ‘dead heat’ for first, the two horses would fill the Win and Place position. Bets can be placed a day in advance of certain races, but they will be settled as if they were placed on the day of the race.

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If you wager on multiple horses such as two-horse exacta or a three-horse trifecta, you will place the bet by the horse’s number. If there is a scratch after the fact with no replacement horse, the bet will have no action. If a horse is replaced at the same number, the bet will still have action at the adjusted odds.

All payouts in the racebook are based on the actual payouts at the track you are betting. This applies to all straight bets as well as exotics. Some racebooks may have limits on the payout odds for exotics such as exactas, trifectas, superfectas (four horses) depending on the track. You should always consult the racebook rules section where you are placing the actual bet.

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Many online sportsbooks will offer a rebate incentive on your total daily winnings (or loses) in their racebook. This can provide a distinct advantage over most other online horse betting sites.

Posted May 5th, 2019

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