Online horse racing is legal in 42+ U.S. states, so it’s never been easier to get in on the action. You can bet on the ponies through legal online racebooks and ADW platforms and pick up attractive bonuses along the way. On this page, we’ll unpack the best horse race betting sites, highlight must-watch races, and throw in some tips to help you win more.

  • Big welcome bonus
  • Insurance and bet & get promos for returning bettors
  • Covers 150+ races
Full T&Cs apply. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER
  • Covers 200+ races worldwide
  • Broad streaming coverage
  • Valuable tips from TrackMaster handicapping service
Full T&Cs apply. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER
  • Handy NumberFire prediction tool
  • Large sign up bonus
  • Widespread availability
Full T&Cs apply. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Check out our top picks for the best horse race betting sites in the U.S., with a snapshot of their features and why we think they’re great.

DK Horse

tpp-draftkings-horse-racing-desktop
(Source: DraftKings)

DK Horse is the online racebook from DraftKings, one of the country’s most dominant betting brands. It launched in partnership with Churchill Downs Incorporated in March 2023, in the lead-up to the iconic Kentucky Derby. It’s up and running in 20 U.S. states.

New players land a 100% match on their first deposit up to $250, but that’s just a teaser. For returning bettors, DK Horse regularly offers promotions like its signature free rolls, where you can make free picks on races and compete for a share of the prize pool. Bet & Get and insurance are also in the promo mix.

The racebook is packed with all the bets you could want, including every type of single- and multi-horse wager. There’s also a lineup of multi-race bets like the Daily Double and Pick-3, which let you bet on back-to-back races on the same day. With coverage of over 150 races from the States and beyond, you’re set for plenty of action.

While DK Horse may not be as feature-heavy, it still offers some useful tools. You can catch live streams of select races and use their replay system for race re-runs. Plus, there’s a wealth of resources and guides available to help beginners get started smoothly.

Pros:
  • Big welcome bonus
  • Insurance and bet & get promos for returning bettors
  • Covers 150+ races
  • Slick replay system
  • Great user experience
Cons:
  • Lack of advanced handicapping tools
  • Dynasty Rewards program not incorporated
  • Verification takes long

BetMGM Horse Racing

tpp-betmgm-horse-racing-desktop
(Source: BetMGM)

BetMGM rolled out their horse racing app in partnership with the New York Racing Association (NYRA). The racebook tacks yet another string to BetMGM’s bow, stacking up next to their sportsbook, casino, and poker room. Currently, the BetMGM horse racing app is available in Florida, Louisiana, and Ohio, with additional states on the horizon.

Unlike many rival sites, BetMGM doesn’t exclusively offer odds on thoroughbred races; quarter and harness races are also in the mix. There's action on over 200 races across the world, with special access to Saratoga and other NYRA-owned tracks. From simple bets like win, place, and show to exotic ones like trifectas, you can pick and choose how you back your horses.

The betting lobby at BetMGM is user-friendly, featuring a clear overview of race details, purse sizes, and a breakdown of each horse in the running. “Will Pays” shows potential payouts for each bet based on current stakes and distribution. A camera icon next to the race means live streaming is available. Also, bettors can download information on past performances to gear up for the day’s races. Don’t miss the TrackMaster, where experts dish on their top three picks for each race.

BetMGM isn’t offering a sign-up bonus at the moment, though there was a time when they gave out a $200 bonus. As they hit their stride, we expect them to unveil a whole host of promos, plus access to the top-tier MGM Rewards program.

Pros:
  • Covers 200+ races worldwide
  • Broad streaming coverage
  • Valuable tips from TrackMaster handicapping service
  • Minimalistic and easy-to-use betting interface
  • Fast payouts via BetMGM Play+
Cons:
  • No welcome bonus or other promotions
  • Only available in 3 states

FanDuel Racing

tpp-fanduel-horse-racing-desktop
(Source: FanDuel)

When FanDuel dropped its horse racing app in 2020, it broke new ground as the first to combine sports betting and horse race wagering on the same platform. Today, FanDuel Racing is live in more than 25 U.S. states.

You can kick things off with a $500 no-sweat first bet welcome bonus. It's a safety net for your first wager; if it loses, you'll get a refund of up to $500. FanDuel racing also features several promos for the regulars, including a win bet insurance, which refunds up to $5 if your win bet ends up second or third.

There’s a full spread of horse racing bets at FD Racing. You get the classic win, place, and show options, along with their derivatives like exacta and superfecta. To dial down the risk, you can box, key, or wheel your selections. The racebook also features special wagers like PickBet parlays. Here, you pick winners for three to six consecutive races, all at the same track, for a shot at big payouts.

Newbies have a great starting point with Racing 101, a tutorial hub designed to help them learn the ropes. For those interested in handicapping pointers, numberFire predictions offer some excellent insights. This software harnesses quantitative analysis to deliver sports predictions, crunching the numbers for each race to forecast winners, places, and shows.

Like the other entries on our list, FanDuel offers live streaming. When there’s a live feed for a race, you’ll see a “Watch Live” button right above the main betting area.

Pros:
  • Handy NumberFire prediction tool
  • Large sign up bonus
  • Widespread availability
  • Good streaming coverage
  • A lot of resources for beginners
Cons:
  • No loyalty program
  • Lacks live chat support

TwinSpires

tpp-twinspires-horse-racing-desktop
(Soure: TwinSpires)

In 2022, TwinSpires closed its online casino and sports betting operations, focusing exclusively on horse racing. This platform is the digital betting branch of the famous Churchill Downs track, established in 2007. It accepts wagers from players in 39 U.S. states.

TwinSpires offers a highly advanced platform for horse race betting with a customizable interface that includes seven different layouts. Whether you prefer making quick picks or love nerding over the numbers, you can switch to a view that matches your approach.

The Edge is an all-in-one command center with educational resources, calculators, race replays, and an analytics hub, all topped off with live expert analysis in the roundtable. With TwinSpires TV, their live streaming service you get a real-time look at the action, helping you make more informed bets. Plus, if you ever miss a race, you can find old footage in the replay library and catch up on what you missed.

TwinSpires offers every type of bet online that you’d find at a track in person. From win, place, and show bets to various combo bets, they have it all for the 300 races they cover. Plus, there’s a unique social twist with BetShare. This feature lets you share your wager with friends, giving them a chance to join in on the action with you.

After joining the site, you can claim a $200 sign up offer. To unlock the entire bonus, you need to bet $800 within your first 30 days. And it doesn't stop there—TwinSpires dishes out loads of promotions for regular bettors, like profit boosts, cashback offers, competitions, and specials tailored to specific markets.

Pros:
  • BetShare feature to play with friends
  • An array of ongoing promos
  • Great perks via the TSC Elite rewards program
  • Legal in most of the country
  • Fantastic live streaming coverage
Cons:
  • Welcome bonus tricky to clear
  • Charges fees for some payment methods

Caesars

tpp-caesars-horse-racing-desktop
(Source: Caesars)

Caesars horse racing marks Caesars' play into the fast-growing U.S. horse race betting market. Launched in partnership with NYRA Bets, it debuted in 2022 and is currently active in 21 U.S. states.

You can get off to a flyer with the 100% deposit match up to $200 welcome bonus. They're also offering a month-long promo where users get free past performances for horse racing. Just place a minimum $2 bet on the race, and you're set for a refund on that purchase. The Racebook also taps into Caesars Rewards, offering perks both online and at their physical venues.

Caesars Racebook lets you bet on over 300 races around the world, covering everything from local Triple Crown races to the Dubai Cup and other big events. Whether you’re betting on individual horses to win a single race or spreading your bets across multiple races and horses, there are a lot of wagering options to dip your toes into.

Like BetMGM, Caesars also uses the TrackMaster tool, providing expert insights and trends for upcoming races. Apart from the replay hub, there aren’t many extra features, reflecting the same level of minimalism found in other Caesars products. This simplicity is great for beginners, who will find it easy to get the hang of things quickly.

Pros:
  • Access to Caesars Rewards Program
  • Fast cashouts
  • Odds on 300+ races
  • Super easy to use
  • Quality streaming service
Cons:
  • Only a few ongoing promos
  • Limited handicapping tools

Finding a horse race betting site in the U.S. feels like they're a dime a dozen. You've got everything from local horse race betting sites to offshore portals vying for your attention with flashy bonuses. But finding a site that's truly high quality is a whole different race. Weeding out the average from exception can be tricky, and that's where using TPP criteria to benchmark comes in handy.

  • List Icon

    License: This is where the rubber meets the road. U.S.-licensed operators offer a safety net, providing recourse if things go south. With offshore racebooks, you're flying solo and completely at their mercy if something goes wrong.

  • List Icon

    Bonuses: The triple crown of bonuses includes size, frequency, and friendly terms. The first two are easy to spot, but the devil's in the details with the third. Look out for the catch in wagering requirements, race or bet type limits, and minimum deposit requirements.

  • List Icon

    Odds: Since horse race betting sites operate on a pari-mutuel system, your potential winnings depend on how many others are betting. More traffic can mean a bigger purse but also more competition for that payout. Our tip? Shop around different racebooks to find the best payout for each race you’re interested in.

  • List Icon

    Race coverage: Sure, everyone covers the Kentucky Derby, but what about the under-the-radar races like the Claiming Crown at Gulfstream? The breadth of coverage can be a game-changer for esoteric bettors looking to get action down on niche events.

  • List Icon

    Betting options: Does the racebook cover all the basics plus extras like box and wheel bets? Nuanced options like those special wagers at FanDuel Racing are are a bonus, offering more ways to play and win.

  • List Icon

    Features: From handicapping tools and tipster insights to live streaming and race replays, these features can make or break your betting experience.

  • List Icon

    Banking: Pretty much all racebooks feature the same payment methods. The real differentiator is the payout speed. Especially when you're waiting on a much-anticipated withdrawal, a delay of just a day or two can make it feel like you're waiting forever for that payoff.

  • List Icon

    User Experience: A clunky, cluttered site can be a deal-breaker, especially for beginners. Is navigating the site more complicated than it needs to be because there’s too much content? How does the mobile app measure up?

Online horse race betting is legal in 42 U.S. states, with North Carolina being the latest addition to the list. Michigan horse racing is on the rise with the state market offering comprehensive options for betting enthusiasts.

The legality of horse race betting in the U.S. is patchwork, like most forms of gambling across the country. While federal regulation governs the activity, each state has its own set of laws shaping the industry. There's a distinction in regulations for land-based horse racing, online betting, and Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) platforms, which are intimately linked with horse race betting sites.

A few key federal laws play a major role in regulating online horse racing. The Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978 was the game-changer for the industry. It made it legal for race tracks to show and take bets on races from across state lines, laying the foundation for inter-state wagering.

Then, in 2000, Congress tweaked this act to include bets made over the phone or online. This update kicked open the doors for the first legal online horse racing sites and betting apps.

The landscape took another turn in 2006 with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which aimed at tackling illegal online gambling. Horse race betting was excluded from the law and this exemption allowed the industry to grow and evolve under a regulated framework.

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2020 brought more changes, setting national standards for race safety and integrity, including anti-doping controls and track safety standards. This meant better protection for horses and jockeys and fairer betting for everyone. The act created the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority to oversee these standards.

Getting started at an online racebook is straightforward, and the signup process is pretty uniform across platforms. This means the steps we're about to walk through should hold true for just about any racebook you decide to roll with. Here’s your quick guide to jump into the action:

  1. Register: Kick things off by creating your account. The age requirement varies by state, being either 18 or 21. You’ll need to fill in your personal details, such as name, address, birthday, phone number, and the last four digits of your SSN during registration.

  2. Deposit: Next up, add some funds to your account. The deposit section is easy to find, typically right on the homepage. Expect to see around five or more payment options, with a usual minimum deposit of about $10.

  3. Claim the Bonus: Many sites automatically trigger a welcome bonus with your first deposit, but sometimes you may need to place a bet or enter a promo code. If a code is needed, it’s often shared on the site for easy copy-pasting.

  4. Bet: Now, with your account ready and bonus in hand, you're all set to start betting. There’s no shortage of races, so there’s little wait time. Just ensure you're within the state lines of where the racebook operates when betting; they'll verify this with geolocation technology.

  5. Withdraw: If you win, cashing out your earnings is straightforward but may involve verification checks before you get the green light. Often, you'll need to withdraw using the same method you used to deposit.

A great part of what makes horse race betting exciting is the variety of ways you can back your favorite ponies. Here's a breakdown of the most popular types of bets you'll come across on U.S. racebooks:

Win

The simplest bet where you pick the horse you think will cross the finish line first. If your horse wins, so do you.

Place

A bit more leeway here; your horse needs to finish first or second. It's a safer bet but with slightly lower payouts than a win bet.

Show

Even more forgiving, this bet pays out if your horse finishes in any of the top three positions.

exacta

Now we're getting into more complex territory. Pick the first and second-place horses in the exact order. It's harder to hit, but the payouts are significantly higher.

trifecta

This is like the exacta, but you're betting on the first, second, and third-place horses in their exact order. The difficulty jumps, and so do the potential rewards.

superfecta

You guess the first four horses in order. It's a long shot, but the payouts can be huge.

daily double

Pick the winners of two consecutive races. It tests your insight over multiple races, offering higher payouts for your predictions.

pick 3/pick 6

Here, you try to forecast the winners of three or six consecutive races, respectively. It's a challenge, with Pick 6 offering some of the biggest payouts in the business.

across the board

This is a combo bet in which you bet on a horse to win, place, and show. If your horse wins, you collect on all three bets; if it places, you collect on Place and Show; and if it only shows, you collect just the Show bet.

Catching live horse races online is a huge part of the excitement for bettors, offering a way to watch the races you've bet on as they happen. The top online racebooks have struck deals with numerous racetracks, granting them the ability to stream races live. This means you get access to live video feeds, a full array of betting options, and the same payout rates as if you were at the track in person.

You'll usually spot an easy-to-recognize icon for streaming next to the races that offer it. Access requirements can vary—some streams might need you to have an active bet on the race or money in your account, while others might charge a fee. However, plenty of streaming services are completely free. And if you ever miss a race, don't worry. Most horse race betting sites offer replays, so you can catch up on all the action you missed at your convenience.

Some of the best horse racing action happens right here in the U.S., where the most prestigious events draw crowds and bettors alike. Let's check out races that light up the American horse racing scene.

Kentucky Derby

Dubbed “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports,” the Kentucky Derby is like the Super Bowl of horse racing. It has a rich history dating back to 1875. Held every first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, it's where the best 3-year-old horses battle it out over 1 1/4 miles. Famous for its festive hats and mint juleps, this Grade 1 race is the first leg in the quest for the Triple Crown.

  • List Icon

    Date: First Saturday in May

  • List Icon

    Location: Churchill Downs – Louisville, Kentucky

  • List Icon

    Track length: 1 1/4 miles

  • List Icon

    Age of horses: 3 years

Preakness Stakes

Just two weeks after the Derby, the Preakness is up at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Kicked off in 1873, the Preakness throws down a challenge on a 1 3/16 mile track, making those three-year-old Thoroughbreds really show what they’re made of. It's all about speed, keeping the Triple Crown dream alive for the winner.

  • List Icon

    Date: Two weeks after the Kentucky Derby

  • List Icon

    Location: Pimlico Race Course – Baltimore, Maryland

  • List Icon

    Track length: 1 3/16 miles

  • List Icon

    Age of horses: 3 years

Belmont Stakes

The final jewel of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, is a real endurance test. At 1 1/2 miles, it's the longest of the three. Held in Elmont, New York, this race can make or break a Triple Crown bid.

  • List Icon

    Date: Three weeks after the Preakness Stakes

  • List Icon

    Location: Belmont Park – Elmont, New York

  • List Icon

    Track length: 1 1/2 miles

  • List Icon

    Age of horses: 3 years

Breeder’s Cup

The Breeders' Cup is a Grade I Thoroughbred race that has kicked off annually since 1984. It's the big wrap-up of the racing year, pulling in horses and jockeys from all over the globe for a two-day showdown. What's unique is that it moves around, hitting different U.S. tracks each year, making each Cup a fresh experience as the season's grand finale.

  • List Icon

    Date: Typically in November

  • List Icon

    Location: Varies annually

  • List Icon

    Track length: Varies by race

  • List Icon

    Age of horses: Various, depending on the race

Let’s now check out the most renowned horse races that take place outside the U.S. soil.

The Grand National

The Grand National at Aintree is not just any horse race; it's a marathon that tests both horse and rider like no other. Since 1839, this race has been a staple in England, known for its grueling 4-mile, 30-fence course. It's a British cultural event that draws a global audience.

  • List Icon

    Date: April 11-13, 2024

  • List Icon

    Location: Aintree Racecourse, Aintree, Merseyside, England

  • List Icon

    Track length: About 4 miles and 2½ furlongs

  • List Icon

    Age of horses: Various

The Royal Ascot

The Royal Ascot is where high fashion meets top-tier horse racing, making it a must-see event each June. Hosted in Ascot, England, it's a social event graced by royalty. The event spans over five days every June, featuring a series of Group 1 races.

  • List Icon

    Date: mid-June

  • List Icon

    Location: Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire, England

  • List Icon

    Track length: Slightly over 1.6 miles

  • List Icon

    Age of horses: four-year-olds and older

The Dubai World Cup

Dubai does everything big, and the World Cup at Meydan Racecourse is no exception. Since '96, it's been one of the richest races out there, attracting the cream of the crop. The race tests the speed of the world’s best over 1.25 miles on dirt, under the bright lights of Dubai.

  • List Icon

    Date: March

  • List Icon

    Location: Meydan Racecourse, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  • List Icon

    Track length: About 1.25 miles

  • List Icon

    Age of horses: four-year-olds and older

The Saudi Cup

The Saudi Cup hit the ground running in 2020, instantly making waves with its eye-popping prize fund. It's it's the richest race going, with a purse topping $20 million. This showdown happens at Riyadh's King Abdulaziz Racetrack, covering a distance of 1,800 meters (close to 1.12 miles) and features horses aged four and older. The big payday has quickly turned it into a must-watch event, drawing fans from all over to see some of the best in horse racing duke it out.

  • List Icon

    Date: February

  • List Icon

    Location: King Abdulaziz Racetrack, Saudi Arabia

  • List Icon

    Track length: around 1.12 miles

  • List Icon

    Age of horses: four-year-olds and older

The Melbourne Cup

Down under, the Melbourne Cup brings Australia to a halt every November. Flemington Racecourse lights up with “the race that stops a nation,” a 2-mile challenge that tests the endurance of the world's best. It's as much a cultural festival as it is a horse race.

  • List Icon

    Date: first Tuesday of November

  • List Icon

    Location: Flemington Racecourse, Australia

  • List Icon

    Track length: 2 miles

  • List Icon

    Age of horses: three-year-olds and older

Horse racing comes in different flavors, each with its own set of rules and excitement. Here’s a quick guide to the types you’ll come across.

flat racing

Most people picture flat racing when they think of horse racing. Flat racing happens on level tracks, and it’s all about speed. Races vary in distance, but they all test which horse can get to the finish line fastest. The Kentucky Derby is a classic example of a flat race.

Steeplechase racing

Steeplechase is like the obstacle course of horse racing. Horses have to jump over fences and ditches, making it not just a test of speed but of agility and endurance, too. These races are longer than flat races and add an extra challenge for both horse and jockey.

endurance racing

Endurance racing is the ultimate test of stamina. These races can stretch from 50 to even 100 miles, often across varied terrains. It’s not just about being fast; it’s about managing pace and endurance to make it to the end.

Horse racing betting digs deeper into analysis than other sports. This means more homework is needed for success, but it also means hard work in research can truly pay off. Here are some handy tips for upping your game in online horse race betting:

Info box icon

Research bet types

Start by getting familiar with the different types of bets. From simple win bets to more intricate ones like exactas and trifectas, understanding these can help you make smarter bets.

Info box icon

Check bonus terms and conditions

Big bonuses can catch your eye, but the real value is often in the terms and conditions. Look for bonuses with reasonable wagering requirements that don't box you in with too many race exclusions or odds limits.

Info box icon

Compare horse racing betting odds

Since betting platforms use parimutuel wagering, the odds and your potential winnings can vary widely between sites. Remember, horse race betting platforms run on a parimutuel system. This means the odds—and your potential payout—can vary quite a bit from one site to another. That famous advice to “shop for better odds”? It's never been more relevant than in horse racing. Research Race Factors: Don't just bet on a name. Look into race conditions, horse and jockey history, and even the weather on race day. The more you know, the better your chances.

Info box icon

Gamble responsibly

Set your limits and adhere to them. The thrill of betting should never outweigh the importance of your well-being. A disciplined approach to betting is your best bet in the long run.

Now that you've got the lowdown on how to bet and where the best spots are, it's time to put that knowledge to work. We always recommend spreading your bets across multiple racebooks. This way, you can snag the best odds and promotions out there. If you ever need to brush up on your betting know-how or are on the lookout for the latest promo codes, feel free to revisit our page anytime.

Our top picks for the best horse race betting sites are DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, Caesars, and TwinSpires. These platforms nail it in all key performance indicators, including odds, market variety, bonuses, user experience, and banking.

Virtual horse betting is wagering on computer-simulated races. These races use RNGs (Random Number Generators) to determine outcomes, offering betting opportunities anytime.

The minimum age for betting on horses varies by state, but it is generally 21. Some states may allow it at 18, so check local laws.

Yes, online horse racing betting is legal in 42 U.S. states.

Between DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, Caesars, and TwinSpires, it's all about which app feels right for you. They're all winners, depending on your betting style and what you're looking for.

ADWs, short for Advance Deposit Wagering, is a critical component of online horse race betting today, and some states have specific rules for them. Essentially, it’s a pre-paid system where you need to put money into your account before you start betting. This method is a big change from the old days when you could bet on credit and only pay up at the end of the month. The shift to ADWs has made online betting more secure and regulated.

WRITTEN BY David Camilleri View all posts by David Camilleri

David is a sports fanatic with a particular interest in stats and figures. When not writing about sports, you would probably find him playing or watching football, researching stats or sharing the latest news with anyone willing to listen.

Further reading

ThePuntersPage.com © 2006-2024 ThePuntersPage.com