Horse Racing Betting in Arizona

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Betting on horse racing can be a fun and exciting experience, but it can also be confusing for those who are new to this sport. We’re here to provide a simple guide to betting on horse racing in Arizona, letting you find everything about the different types of bets that you can make, as well as some tips for increasing your chances of winning. Let’s get started!

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Getting Started on Horse Racing Wagers

Betting on horse races may seem complicated and intimidating to newcomers, but the basic wagers that have been the sport’s backbone for decades are surprisingly simple. Even with the advent of Arizona online sportsbooks, making these wagers is not as challenging as it may seem; they are an easy first step in a potential bettor’s journey into this centuries-old pastime.

With just a basic understanding of terminology and understanding the payout system, anyone can dip their toes in horse betting without fear. From there, one can expand their knowledge about different ways to play a race as well as strategies – making them a successful and exhilarated bettor on the “Sport of Kings.”

Straight Wagers

Newcomers to the world of horse racing may be surprised to find that winning these races is more than just a matter of speed – a good understanding of the different types of wagers can be just as important. Win, Place, and Show are the basic or “straight” wagers and they are popular ways for newcomers to dive into horse racing. Historically, betting on any one of these wagers required a minimum bet of $2, but nowadays they can usually be had for just $1. Each wager offers something slightly different: 


Win wagers involve trying to select which horse will win the race. If successful, the bettor gets paid from the combined ‘pool’ of all other bettors who made losing bets for that day’s race.


Place wagers focus on picking a horse that will finish first or second; if it does, bettors are rewarded for their pick with roughly two-thirds of what the betting pool pays for a winning wager.


Show wagers take one step further, granting payouts to those who correctly pick a top-three finisher.

Depending on conditions such as the size of the field or weather, there can be some variations or caveats to these standard wagers; however, this basic premise generally remains true regardless of which bets are chosen.

Across the Board

Across-the-board wagers are a common type of bet placed on horse racing. Essentially, when placing an across-the-board wager, bettors are investing in three wagers: a win, place, and show bet. 

With this type of wager placed on a particular horse, should they win it pays out all three return types; if they finish second then it pays within two selections; if third then only one selection payoff is returned. This flexibility provided by an across-the-board wager ensures that even if you don’t pick the winner of the race, you can still pick up some of your money back depending on their finishing position in the race.

Popular Horse Racing Events in 2023

Cheltenham Gold Cup March 17Cheltenham, UK
Grand NationalApril 15Liverpool, UK
Kentucky DerbyMayKentucky, US
Belmont StakesJuneNew York‎, US
Melbourne CupNov 7Victoria, Australia

Exotic Horse Racing Wagers

For inexperienced bettors, an understanding of “exotic” bets in horse racing is critical. For those looking to try their hand at exotics, bets like the Exacta, Trifecta, Quinella, and Double are good starting points, but there are other bets you may explore.


In Exactas you are required to select the first- and second-place finishers in a race, in exact order. If done correctly your wager pays out handsomely; however, it can be quite difficult as horses don’t always finish where we expect them to.


The Trifecta is a bit more complicated than the Exacta as bettors must pick the top three finishers in exact order. It can be quite challenging to get this right but when done correctly, it pays out well.


The Quinella is similar to an Exacta but doesn’t require you to get the exact finishing order correct. You are still required to pick the first two finishers, just not in a specific order.


In a Double wager, you are required to select the winner of two consecutive races – typically at the same track or meeting – and if both selections win their respective races, your wager pays out.

Pick 3, 4, 5, 6

Pick 3, 4, 5, and 6 are often seen as a form of ‘multi-race’ wagers. As the name implies you must select the winner of three (Pick 3), four (Pick 4), five (Pick 5), or six races (Pick 6).


The Superfecta is the most difficult wager to win as you are required to select the top four finishers in exact order. While it can be quite tough to get right, a successful Superfecta pick pays out very well.

Tips Before Placing Horse Racing Bets

Make Use of a ‘Wheel’

The most efficient way of wagering on either of these is to use a ‘wheel’, where you select multiple horses in multiple combinations. The cost of each combination is always the stated minimum — typically $1 per combination — ensuring that your potential winnings outweigh your risk. An expert bettor would be wise to discard those combinations without significant likelihood for success and then focus their bankroll on those with better opportunities; this strategy gives horse racing newcomers a much better chance at coming away winners.

Keep an Eye on the Weather

Although there are a lot of aspects to consider when studying the form of horses, it’s important to always be aware of the conditions leading up to race day. Weather can play a vital role in affecting how events unfold and as such, should be weighed heavily into any betting decisions.

Maintain a Positive Bankroll Management

Having a good money management system in place is an essential part of successful horse racing betting. It’s important to know how much you’re willing to invest and when it might be time to pull out, regardless of whether or not an individual bet turns out as planned.

Popular Horse Racing Betting Sites in Arizona

Betting on horse racing in the state of Arizona is an incredibly popular pastime, and there are a wide variety of sportsbooks available for those who want to place their bets. All sites in the state offer full-service racebooks with robust selections of tracks from across North America.

Arizona residents have plenty of options when it comes to choosing which site to use — each one provides significant bonuses like free cash for signing up, as well as educational resources for new players. Combined with top-notch customer service, these websites make wagering on horse racing an enjoyable experience.