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Where to Bet on Horse Racing: Legal States, Best Apps & Sites for Florida Derby & More

Where to Bet on Horse Racing: Legal States, Best Apps & Sites for Florida Derby & More article feature image

Cynthia Lum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus most sporting events around the world are on hold. One sport that is still taking place is horse racing.

While some tracks have closed their doors due to the outbreak, there is racing to bet on and, with the caveat that the situation is very fluid, it looks like there will be races going on for the foreseeable future.

Here are the tracks that are still running as of March 25:

  • Tampa Bay Downs (Florida)
  • Gulfstream Park (Florida)
  • Golden Gate (California)
  • Santa Anita (California)
  • Turfway Park (Kentucky)
  • Sam Houston (Texas)
  • Charles Town (West Virginia)
  • Oaklawn (Arkansas)

Where to Bet on Horse Racing

There are plenty of ways to bet on horse racing. The most recognizable avenue to a bet is at the track, but that is not going to be the case for a while. Instead, mobile betting will be the only way to play the ponies. These states allow legal mobile betting for horse racing:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Best Mobile Horse Racing Betting App and Site

TVG is owned by Flutter, which also owns and operates FanDuel Sportsbook in the U.S., along with Betfair and Paddy Power in Europe. This is a legit operation, and the mobile app makes it super easy to deposit, bet and withdraw.

And here’s the best part: All Action Network users have access to this LIMITED-TIME OFFER: Get your first bet completely risk-free, up to $200.

Other Horse Racing Betting Apps and Sites

  • BetAmerica
  • TwinSpires
  • NYRA
  • DRFBet
  • FanDuel Racing

Which Races are Worth Betting?

Mike Conti, one of our horse racing experts explains it best:

When I’m deciding on where to focus my time, the first thing I look at is the stakes racing calendar. Stakes races are typically the classiest of all races, so it makes sense to start there. When not looking at stakes races, I try to avoid maiden claiming and low-level claiming races as much as possible and look for races that have higher purses (anything above $20K). A good indicator of an individual horse’s class or potential class, is the sire, dam and dam’s sir, as well as the previous race types.

Once identified, the next important factor to look at are average field sizes. While a G1 at Santa Anita may be a classier race than a G3 at Turfway Park, you also need to take into account the size of the field and the odds of the morning-line favorite, when determining where, and how, to bet. The idea being, the larger the field, the better the betting opportunity.

Additionally, when looking at the odds of the morning line favorite, I’m looking to see where the value is. A few factors that go into determining value are:

  1. Odds of the morning line favorite in comparison to the rest of the field
  2. Size of the field
  3. Recent past performances, including but not limited to, class of races, speed figures, record at the track, record at the distance
  4. Trainer/jockey stats and combination.

How Can I Watch the Florida Derby?

TVG has a dedicated horse racing channel and shows racing everyday.

Examples of Common Wagers


As simple as it sounds. You are placing money on your horse to win the race.


The wager you make if you believe your horse is going to finish first or second in a race.


You would make this wager and win if your horse finishes in first, second or third place.

What I sometimes like to do is pick a horse to win the race and bet him/her “across the board,” meaning I am putting a certain dollar amount on that horse to finish either first, second or third. That way, you cover everything. If the horse wins, you are going to collect the payouts on all three positions. If they finish second, you collect the place and show spots. A third-place finish will get you just the show money.


This is where you pick two horses and they have to finish in the exact order you place them on your ticket. For example, say you like the No. 3 horse in a race at Gulfstream Park in Florida to win and also think the No. 9 horse will finish second. You would put the wager in as a 3-9 exacta in that order for the play.

If you like both or horses, think they’re going to go 1-2 in the race, but don’t know who’s going to finish first, you have the option of “boxing” the horses together. That way, you have both horses covered on the order of finish. You have to double your wager amount to make this play, so it’s more costly but worth the risk.

Personally, I like the exacta play second only to the wager I will discuss next. You can go many routes with the exacta play, usually via the two ways I mentioned above. Or, in some cases where I think there is a likely winner, I will key a single horse on top of several others in a particular race in an attempt to cover a larger group of potential runner-up finishers.


This is my favorite wager in horse racing. For me, there is no better play among the exotic wagers. This is where you correctly predict the exact order of finish for first, second and third place in a single race. Example: You like the No. 2 horse to win; the No. 5 for place; the No. 8 for show; and, you would like to make a $1 wager on trifecta. You would then place the bet as a $1 trifecta 2/5/8. Simple as that.

Where this wager gets better and more lucrative is when you build a trifecta ticket using multiple horses in a race. I like to pick two horses that I think will finish either first, second or third as my main horses, then tack on horses I think are just outside the top two in a given race and put them underneath in the place and show positions.

So, say I like the No. 1 and No. 3 as the most likely winners, but I also like the No. 5 and No. 7 to finish in the money. So I would play a $1 trifecta 1/3 — 1/3/5/7 — 1/3/5/7. That means, Nos. 1 or 3 can win the race and the one that does not cross the finish line first can finish in either second or third, along with Nos. 5 and 7, to be a winning ticket.

I like to go even deeper on the trifecta wagers, using multiple horses (including long shots in show position) in hopes of catching some big numbers and payouts with some luck. It’s the vertical wager I have had the most success with in horse racing and enjoy putting these kinds of tickets together.


This wager is like the trifecta, with the only difference being you have to correctly pick the exact order of finish for the top four runners in a particular race. This wager is geared more toward the experienced and veteran players. However, many tracks offer $0.10 superfecta wagering that make it more attractive for the novice or casual player to get involved in this kind of exotic play at a reasonable cost. Sometimes you can get lucky and catch a nice payout even on a smaller wager.

The must-have app for bettors

The best betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Other Exotic Wagers

Daily Double

This wager is offered across North American tracks, so you will be able to find it at pretty much any sportsbook or legal online gaming site. This wager is where you try to come up with the winner in two consecutive races. The minimum wager is $1 pretty much everywhere, but you can increase your play if you’re feeling confident. Daily doubles are not offered every race, but the majority of tracks have several of those wagers available on any given card.

Pick 3 and Pick 4

This is another vertical wager that plays exactly like it sounds. This is where a player attempts to correctly pick winners of either three or four consecutive races. Obviously, this is much harder and more costly, but the payouts can be large if you can catch the right horses in the wager. Many tracks offer this in various minimum wagering amounts, including $0.10 Pick 3 and Pick 4 plays.

Several tracks across North America also offer Pick 5 and Pick 6 wagers, which can lead to massive payouts. It isn’t uncommon to see winning tickets get into the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in payouts when the right combination of horses connect over a stretch of races. Obviously, to hit something of that magnitude, you are going to have to connect on some long shots along the way on that winning ticket.

However, in horse racing, anything is possible.

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