Flat Horse Racing Betting Guide for 2020
Flat horse racing betting in Canada is very lively, and this is our guide to it. Legendary racehorses like English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky were bred here before going on to great things.
As the sport of kings, Flat horse racing odds have been around as long as races have been run. What can you expect from our guide to it? All this and more:
- Key facts about Flat horse racing and a list of famous events
- What types of bet you can place when racehorses run on the level
- The best Flat horse racing betting sites as recommended by our experts
An Introduction to Flat Horse Racing
Flat horse racing in Canada, North America and the world as a whole is a thriving industry. The first port of call for this guide is to highlight some key facts about the sport.
There’s plenty of Flat horse racing betting advice to come, but let’s get the basics out of the way first:
Racehorses can compete on the Flat – that is with no obstacles on a racetrack – from the age of two
Flat horse racing in Canada and around the world have events run on turf (grass), dirt and artificial surfaces (tapeta, polytrack or fibresand)
Arabian bred racehorses are kept separate from thoroughbred ones and have their own races
Distances of horse races on the Flat vary from five furlongs (about 1000m) to almost 22 furlongs (about 4400m)
Shorter distance races over five and six furlongs are called sprints. Middle distance races range from between seven furlongs and a mile-and-a-half (12 furlongs). Long distance or stayers’ races are those run over further than that
There are many different types of race, including those restricted by age, gender or other conditions. In open races that aren’t handicaps, fillies and mares should receive a sex allowance. Weight for age can incentivise younger horses to run
Racehorse trainers must have a license from horse racing authorities in order to enter the animals in their care for events
The Rules of racing for Flat horses says the minimum weight which can be allotted for them to carry is eight stone (about 51kg)
If a racehorse is deemed to have interfered with another in such a way that it affected the result of a race, then a stewards’ inquiry may be called
Stewards have the power to demote or disqualify jockeys and trainers who have broken the Rules of racing
How Flat Horse Racing Odds Work
Once you’ve got to grips with Flat horse racing betting, you’ll realise how easy it is. In order to help you understand odds better, we’re going to work through an example:
A fantasy race involving five of the best fillies and mares to have run on the Flat in modern times takes place over a mile-and-a-half. Enable is the favourite because her price is the shortest.
Betting on Enable would see you double your money. In other words, a $10 stake would return $20. You make $10 if she wins the race.
Sealy Hill, the first filly to win Canada’s Triple Tiara of Thoroughbred Racing, meanwhile, is the outsider of the field. This is because she is the biggest price.
The same $10 stake on Sealy Hilly returns $50. You stand to gain $40 profit if she upsets the odds and wins. We’ve used decimal prices to help illustrate how Flat horse racing odds work.
Fractional ones are also very popular in the British Isles and you may even see the American moneyline system on US-based betting sites. The odds calculator below shows you how these different types of expressing odds compare.
Flat Horse Racing Betting Options
The Flat horse racing betting options open to you are no different to any other on offer for this sport in general. Let’s take a look in more detail:
As above, the most straightforward bet you can place on a Flat horse race is backing one of those lining up to win.Eg:Enable2.00
A bet to place in Canada means backing a horse to finish first or second. The price you get will shorter than the outright win odds because of the extra place.Eg:Sealy Hill2.00
You can also get a bet on a horse finishing first, second or third. This is called to show. As with a bet to place, a show will be smaller odds than just going for a win because it will pay out to you if the horse comes second or third.Eg:Wando2.38
Flat horse racing betting can be more complicated as you’re allowed to bet on more than one horse in the same race. When you fancy two, you can place an exacta bet.
This wager can either be straight with a specific order for which you think will finish first and second, or reverse which is any order. A reverse exacta is two bets in one and one outcome is guaranteed to lose.
Putting an exacta on is only recommended when you have a strong view that two horses in particular are superior to the field.Eg:EnableandWinx
You can even go a step further and pick three horses in the same race. Much like an exacta, a triactor can be straight – a specified order for the horses – or reverse. These are called trifectas or tricasts outside of Canada.
A reverse triactor is six bets in one and five are guaranteed to lose. The potential return could offset those losing parts of the wager.Eg:EnableWinxMagical
Best odds guaranteed
Many sportsbooks around the globe now offer the best odds guaranteed (BOG) on races which are finally declared within their region. The principle is simple.
If you take an early price on the day of the race and the odds the horse is returned at are better, then a sportsbook settles the bet at the larger price.Eg:$8 wager Oh So Sharp2.88
but her price drifts to 3.25.
The betting site settles the bet at 3.25, meaning you receive a $26 return ($18 profit) instead of $23 ($15 profit).
Non-runner no bet
There’s nothing worse than you backing a horse and losing money because it doesn’t run. Non-runner no bet (NRNB) terms ensure you get your stake back if your fancy fails to line-up.
Sportsbooks are unlikely to offer this until a race has finally declared, but it does give your bet an added layer of protection.Eg:Dance Smartly
was also due to run in the above
fantasy race. If you bet $5 on her
at 7.00 under NRNB terms, then
her withdrawal means money back.
Ante-post or Futures betting
Futures betting, as its name suggest, is for the long-term. Also called ante-post betting in English-speaking countries, it technically refers to any market that is available before the first show prices on a racecourse.
This definition is less clear nowadays, because many races declare 24 or 48 hours beforehand. Any futures betting on horse racing comes with added risk though.
Should your fancy be declared a non-runner, then there is no money back protection. You are also unlikely to get the best odds guaranteed, but the price is invariably bigger anyway.Eg:Enable2.50
Top 5 Flat Horse Racing Betting Tips
- Always check what place terms a sportsbook is offering before putting any each-way bets on
- Favourites and fancied horses are not infallible. Should you rate a horse’s chance differently, then your opinion if based on careful study is as valid as sportsbook traders who price the market
- The bigger the field, the more places each-way bets will pay out on. Win only bets in such races are very brave and you can still make profit by going each-way
- Keep your eyes peeled for betting sites that go best odds guaranteed or non-runner no bet earlier than competitors
- Exactas and trifectas can be used to best effect in races with smaller fields
The 10 Biggest Flat Horse Racing Events
- Dubai World Cup Night at Meydan (Dubai, UAE)
- English Classics at Newmarket, Epsom Downs and Doncaster (UK)
- Kentucky Derby Festival at Churchill Downs (USA)
- Irish Classics at the Curragh and Leopardstown (Ireland)
- Royal Ascot (UK)
- Canadian Triple Crown events (different venues, Canada)
- Arc Weekend at Longchamp (Paris, France)
- Breeders’ Cup (different venue each year, USA)
- Spring Carnival (different venues in and around Melbourne, Australia)
- Hong Kong International Races at Sha Tin (Hong Kong)
You should have everything you need to enjoy gambling on the horses now. Further Flat horse racing betting advice is available below in our FAQs section.
This is a great sport with global appeal but, if you do have further questions and want answers, these can also be found below.
Flat horse racing is where horses race on a track without jumping any obstacles. Distances vary from sprints of 1000m up to stayers’ races of over 4000m.
Find a Flat race you want to bet on and pick out a horse you fancy to win it. Add that horse to your betslip (remember to specify if it’s an each-way bet) and enter the amount you’re staking. When you’re happy with your selection, place the bet.
The following are popular Flat horse racing odds and bet types wagered on:
- To win
- To place
- To show
- Best odds guaranteed
- Non-runner no bet
- Ante-post or Futures betting
We have shortlisted only the very best Flat horse racing betting sites for you to choose from on this page.
Yes, mobile betting for smartphones and tablets is available.
Flat horse racing betting in Canada has been completely legal since 1969.
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