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The Free Horse Racing Betting Guides Library

A definitive resource for all your handicapping needs. Guides, definitions, strategies, basic and core. Newcomers to betting and hard core horse players with custom database strategies, all can find useful information to further your game here.

Successful handicappers know every detail in regard to the horses upon which they are intending to place their money


Common Betting Angles 

Learning how to bet horses successfully and make money on events like the Kentucky Derby is more than just win-place-show or exacta betting. And there are many ways to handicap a race beyond looking at just the past performance charts. Several angles can be useful and successful, and some angles are better than others. 

The Trainer – is a most important aspect of racing. Through experience and trial and error, successful trainers know how to prepare and condition a horse for racing. Trainers have tendencies and styles, and you can study a trainers stats just as you would a horse.

Speed Figures – allow you to quickly and easily decide who to throw out and which horses have a legitimate chance of winning. Improving form is often an improvement in speed. While there are many different speed figures available (Beyer, Bris, TimeFormUS, Equibase), it’s best to select one or two you like and stick with them.    

Surface Changes – horses may be bred for dirt or turf, but not all of them adapt or run their best on a given surface. If a horse is changing surfaces for a race, dig into their workouts, patterns and trainer insight and quotes. Many bettors shy away from horses changing surfaces, but some make the transition well and offer value when betting.

Jockey/Trainer Change – Look for jockeys that change from one horse to another, and in big races like major stakes or Triple Crown races. They know the horses and trainers and try to get on the horses that have the best chance to win, and make them more money. A jockey’s agent arranges this, and the agents also know the best trainers. So when a horse has a trainer change, know the trainers tendencies and how their horses do off a layoff, off a new claim and why they might be shipping a horse in for a specific race.

Lone Speed – Identifying a race with only one horse that likes to go to the lead can be a solid angle, as these horses can get comfortable on the front end without facing much pressure. In cheaper races or lower-level claiming races, this can be a useful tool, as you try to identify which horse will have the lead at the quarter pole. Often many horses are backing up in the stretch of these races, and a horse that has the lead is going to maintain its advantage.  

Betting Tips & Education

Learn how to bet horses successfully with more in depth reading available below:

Get Started with Betting

  • Betting for beginners
    • While there are number of ways in which to play an individual race, the basic wagers that have been the sport’s backbone for decades are fairly simple and an easy introduction to the “Sport of Kings.”
  • What do odds mean in horse racing?
  • How to find vulnerable favorites
    • A key component to being a quality horseplayer is finding vulnerable horses that take a significant segment of the public’s money, by Scott Shapiro.
  • 5 Tips for Playing Horizontal Exotics: Part 1
    • While the win-place-show model has been in place for some time, the recent growth of exotic wagers can be confusing to both the novice and newcomer. But, once explained, they are not very complicated at all.
  • 5 Tips for playing Horizontal Exotics: Part 2
    • The popularity of multi-race plays has ascended rapidly in recent years, and the growth of them doesn’t appear to be slowing down, either. Below are five vital things I process before playing the horizontal exotics.
  • Three tips for betting the Pick 5
    • The Pick 5 is one of the best wagers on the menu at Churchill Downs. With its low 15% takeout rate and $0.50 minimum, the Pick 5 can be a lucrative wager for beginners and experts alike. But with five races in the equation, betting the Pick 5 requires more strategy than betting to win, place, or show.
  • How do I pick winners by handicapping pace?
    • Before computers, horseplayers had to calculate their own Pace Ratings if they wanted to know how fast a horse ran to a specific point-of-call in a race.
  • How do I bet horse-racing using pedigrees?
  • Four tips for handicapping first time starters
    • Wagering on horse racing is not an easy task. I think that’s a fair statement that applies to most handicappers. And what presents an even more difficult assignment to many is how to bet on first-time starters.
  • One-turn vs. two-turn miles: Subtly but significantly different
    • The majority of Thoroughbreds racetracks in North America are one-mile dirt ovals, and racing one mile has long been considered a perfect test of speed and stamina. But not all miles are created equal.
  • Introduction to Workouts: Part 1
    • Understanding the nuances can be tricky for novice bettors. In Part 1 of our Introduction to Workouts series, we’ll dive into the what, why, and where of workouts, bringing you up to speed on the basics of morning training sessions.

Racing Events

  • How do I bet the Kentucky Derby?
    • The Kentucky Derby, on the other hand, is an altogether unique event. Generally comprised of the 20 best three-year-olds in the country, virtually none will have previously participated in a race with this depth of talent nor over 1 1/4 miles.
  • How do I bet the Triple Crown?
    • Before getting into the “how-to” of betting the Triple Crown, it might be appropriate to explain “why” betting the Triple Crown is such an enticing proposition.
  • 3 trends to consider when betting Hong Kong racing
    • Planning to bet Hong Kong this winter? You’ve picked a great time to start, with the prestigious Hong Kong International Races slated to take place.
  • Three Handicapping Products for Betting Australian Racing

Bet Types

  • How do I bet a trifecta?
    • The Trifecta is not one of the oldest exotics wagers, but it is an extension of the Exacta and Quinella that were introduced slightly more than a half-century ago.
  • How do I place a pick 4 bet?
    • In the last couple of decades, the Pick 4 has evolved into one of the most popular exotic wagers in horse racing.
  • How do I bet a Superfecta and Handicap Payouts?
    • Orb began a string of four consecutive favorites, and since Fusaichi Pegasus snapped a 20-year drought for favorites, the public’s wagering choice has won 8 of the past 17 Derbys.

Top of Page

How to bet using the iPhone App

Wagering on races has never been easier with the launch of’s iPhone app.

How to bet using Android App or in a Mobile browser

In this era of mobile phones, learning how to bet on horses successfully has never been easier or more convenient. This is especially true for customers who use an Android device.

Types of Wagers and Calculating the Cost of Your Wagers
How to Bet Online with TwinSpires – The Betting Process

More Helpful Resources Offered By TwinSpires:

Racetrack Listing From Around the World
Major Thoroughbred Races and Events
Research Famous Thoroughbred Horses
Read Jockey Profiles
Read Trainer Profiles
Common Horse Racing Betting Terms

Learn About the History and Origin of Horse Racing Terms

What Is the History of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager?
What is the History of the Word Handicapping?
What is the History of the Word Betting?
What is the History of Wagering?
What is the History of Simulcasting

PDF Archives:
Read our 2019 betting guides
Read our 2018 betting guides
Read our 2017 betting guides

Our 2021 PDF Library of free betting guides:

The Beginners Guide to Betting 101
2-Year-Olds Betting Guide
Triple Crown Winner Justify Career In Review

2021 Tipsheets, Meet the Contenders and Betting Guides

Oaklawn Park Meet Betting Guide 2021

Tipsheet - 2021 Smarty Jones S.
Meet the Contenders - 2021 Smarty Jones S.
Meet the Contenders - 2021 Lecomte S.

Archive of Betting Guides: How to Bet Horses Successfully

2019 Betting Guides

2019 Kentucky Derby Betting Guide
2019 Kentucky Derby Tipsheet
2019 Kentucky Oaks Tipsheet
2019 Preakness Stakes Betting Guide
2019 Belmont Stakes Betting Guide

Race Meet Guides

2018-2019 Fair Grounds Winter Meet Betting Guide
2019 Oaklawn Park Live Race Meet Betting Guide
2019 Keeneland Spring Live Race Meet Betting Guide
2019 Churchill Downs Spring Live Race Meet Betting Guide
2019 Del Mar Summer Meet Betting Guide
2019 Saratoga Meet Betting Guide
2019 Churchill Downs Fall Live Race Meet Betting Guide
2019 Breeders’ Cup Betting Guide

International Tip Sheets courtesy of GBI Racing:

Royal Ascot Tip Sheet for Tuesday
Royal Ascot Tip Sheet for Wednesday
Royal Ascot Tip Sheet for Saturday
Cheltenham Tip Sheet for Tuesday, March 13
Cheltenham Tip Sheet for Wednesday, March 14
Cheltenham Tip Sheet for Thursday, 15th March
Cheltenham Tip Sheet for Friday, 16th March

2018 Betting Guides

The 2018 Kentucky Derby Betting Guide
The 2018 Preakness Stakes Betting Guide
The 2018 Belmont Stakes Betting Guide

2018 Road to the Kentucky Derby Tip Sheets and Guides:

2018 Risen Star Stakes Tip Sheet
2018 European RTKD Condition Stakes Tip Sheet
2018 Fountain of Youth Stakes Tip Sheet
2018 Gotham Stakes Tip Sheet
2018 San Felipe Tip Sheet
2018 Tampa Bay Derby Tip Sheet
2018 Rebel Stakes Tip Sheet
2018 Louisiana Derby Betting Guide
2018 Sunland Derby Tip Sheet
2018 UAE Derby Betting Guide
2018 Florida Derby Betting Guide
2018 Wood Memorial Betting Guide
2018 Blue Grass Betting Guide
2018 Santa Anita Derby Betting Guide
2018 Arkansas Derby Betting Guide
2018 Lexington Stakes Betting Guide

2018 Additional Guides and Tipsheets

2018 Arlington Million Tipsheet
2018 Queen’s Plate Tipsheet
2018 Del Mar Handicap Tipsheet
2018 Pacific Classic Tipsheet
2018 Travers Stakes Tipsheet
2018 Iroquois Stakes Tipsheet
2018 River City Handicap Tipsheet

2018 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Tip Sheet
2018 Fair Grounds Live Race Meet Betting Guide
2018 Oaklawn Park Live Race Meet Betting Guide
2018 Keeneland Spring Live Race Meet Betting Guide
2018 Churchill Downs Spring Live Race Meet Betting Guide
2018 Del Mar Summer Meet Betting Guide
2018 Saratoga Meet Betting Guide
2018 Churchill Downs Fall Live Race Meet Betting Guide
2018 Breeders’ Cup Betting Guide

2018 Royal Ascot Full Betting Guide
2018 Royal Ascot Day 1 TipSheet – Tuesday
2018 Royal Ascot Day 2 TipSheet – Wednesday
2018 Royal Ascot Day 3 TipSheet – Thursday
2018 Royal Ascot Day 4 TipSheet – Friday
2018 Royal Ascot Day 5 TipSheet – Saturday

2018 GBI Royal Ascot Tip Sheet for Tuesday
2018 GBI Royal Ascot Tip Sheet for Wednesday
2018 GBI Royal Ascot Tip Sheet for Saturday
2018 GBI Cheltenham Tip Sheet for Tuesday, March 13
2018 GBI Cheltenham Tip Sheet for Wednesday, March 14
2018 GBI Cheltenham Tip Sheet for Thursday, 15th March
2018 GBI Cheltenham Tip Sheet for Friday, 16th March

2017 Betting Guides

The 2017 Kentucky Derby Betting Guide
The 2017 Preakness Stakes Betting Guide
The 2017 Belmont Stakes Betting Guide
The 2017 Royal Ascot Betting Guide
The 2017 Queen’s Plate Betting Guide
The 2017 Del Mar Race Meet Guide
The 2017 Saratoga Race Meet Guide
The 2017 Arlington Million Betting Guide
The 2017 Pacific Classic Betting Guide
The 2017 Travers Stakes Betting Guide
The 2017 Churchill Downs Fall Meet Betting Guide
The 2017 Juvenile 2-year-old Betting Guide
The 2017 Breeders’ Cup Betting Guide

Action. Action can be found in watching tremendous four legged athletes compete or turning a $2 bet into a $200 profit. Horse racing offers a unique opportunity to wager legally and satisfy any desire for excitement.

Unlock the enigma of exotic bets and learn how decades worth of data and experience can combine to create strategies to live by for your handicapping. A game of strategy, knowledge, pedigree, and stats can be aided with TwinSpires’ handicapping portal and guides. Help is here for those new to the game as well as the gristled veteran in their 50th start looking for how to bet horses more successfully. The challenge is ever changing, but keys to success are timeless.