Horse Racing Betting

Horse racing and betting has long been synonymous, and you can track back the first official race to 1767, but more on the history later. Betting on the horses is perhaps one of the most complete entertainment packages you can find in the world of sports. A day out at the races can be just as much a punters paradise as it can be a family adventure. Betting on horse racing has always been a popular pastime and with the introduction of online bookmakers and betting sites, the racing action is now as close as ever. 

Read on as we uncover the history, the common racing bets, the race meetings that you should be looking out for, and some of the top betting tips from our experts. 

So, let us start at the start and look at the history of racing. 

History of Canadian Horse Racing

It was mentioned above that the first official race in Canada could be traced back to 1767, and it was in this year on the 1st of July that a mare named Modesty won a $40 race on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. History also shows that there were also informal races on ‘The Bend’ which can be found on Toronto Island. It was a sandy straight stretch of land that connected the island to the main shores where locals and military officers raced their beloved horses. 

Since those early races, courses have now appeared all over the country with the main racing epicenter being located around the south and in and around Ontario and Toronto. Before we dive into the betting side of things, we can’t not mention the legendary Northern Dancer who took the racing world by storm back in the 1960s. This horse was the first Canadian horse to take the top prize in the Kentucky Derby, and although this stallion had a brief career out on the track with just 18 races run, Northern Dancer is still the one horse many racing fans look back on with fondness. 

Nowadays, horse racing is enjoyed in most countries with several standout meetings being held throughout the year. The online surge in betting has given the sport a huge burst in popularity and with the right knowledge and strategy, anyone can enjoy betting on the races. There are many so-called ‘experts’ out there who are offering all sorts of tips, but for the beginners out there, it will pay off in the long run to study the basics and get a decent foundation to build your betting strategy from. That is where we come in, so read on.

Why Do Canadians Love Horse Racing Betting?

A day out at the races is like no other. The atmosphere of the crowds, the thrill of your horse running down the final straight, it all makes for great entertainment, but why are more and more punters turning to the online betting markets?

There are several factors in play here but let us narrow it down to the important ones. Online betting brings you a world of offers and bonuses that you would just not get at the trackside. Deposit bonuses and enhanced odds are huge incentives for online punters, and you can even find free bets if you join up to the right bookmakers, more on that point later.

Another factor is the access to worldwide race meetings, and in other words, convenience. Down at the track you only ever have a limited number of races to bet on, but online you have all the world’s races to bet on. Not to mention all the various markets that come with the top online bookmakers, which often include many niche betting options.

Lastly, we believe that betting online gives you access to mountains of data and statistics that you might otherwise find difficult to access at the track. There is a lot to be said for being able to watch the horse trot around the enclosure, as you can get a real feel for how each horse looks on that day. Analyzing historical data can end being hugely profitable though, as well as helping you to back out of bets, too.

What are the most common types of Horse Racing bets?

It always makes sense to start at the beginning and to get those betting basics down first. Now, betting on horse racing can be simple and just betting on the winning horse is where most punter start and finish. However, the advanced bets do start to come thick and fast as you look further into this sport, but do not worry, we will explain all in the following section.

The Basics of Betting on Horses

Understanding the Advanced Horse Racing Bets

Famous Canadian Horse Racing Meetings

The top Canadian horse racing meeting by far is the Canadian Triple Crown and this has been going on annually since 1959. The global attraction of the Triple Crown now means that it plays a significant global part for the finest thoroughbred and standardbred horse racing markets. 

The competition takes place over three separate legs at three separate Canadian racetracks. The first leg is the Queen’s Plate at the Polytrack in Woodbine, the second takes place at the Fort Erie racetrack in Ontario as the Prince of Wales Stakes, and the third and final leg, the Breeder’s Stakes is back in Woodbine at the E.P Taylor Turf Course. 

Interestingly, and a useful fact for when it comes to betting on the Triple Crown in Canada, is that all three legs are run on different surfaces. 

  1. The first leg is a polytrack
  2. The second leg is on a dirt track
  3. The third leg is on turf

You will soon come to understand the importance of surfaces and how it can affect a horse’s performance. It also is worth noting that the Woodbine track is the only Canadian track that will host both standardbred and thoroughbred races on the same day.

Some of the country's most famous standardbred tracks (harness racing) include:

Lastly, one of the other top meetings in Canada is the Woodbine International which attracts a lot of interest from over the pond in the UK, Ireland, and the rest of Europe. So, there is enough racing action going on in Canada that will generate enough interest in the top online bookmakers, which means you should never be short on horse racing betting markets.

Other Popular Horse Racing Events Across the Globe

Top Horse Racing Betting Tips

Now you know a little bit behind the race meeting in Canada, it is time to start putting together your own betting strategy. As you would when betting on any sport, you need stick to a plan and use all the tools available to you in order to turn as best a profit as you can. Follow the tips below to build a solid base for your strategy and then once you start to understand the sport in more detail, you can start to add more ideas and bet types.

Experience goes a long way

The form and experience of the jockey and the horse is one of the biggest factors that you should be studying. Jockey statistics can show you a lot and when trying to pick out a winning horse you should be looking for recent jockey form, whether they have recently won any races, and how active they have been across the season so far. 

Couple up the form of the jockey with the horse they are riding as well. You will start to spot recurring partnerships with certain jockey/horse combinations at certain racetracks. Backing previous winning combinations is always something to take into consideration, and also the knowledge of the top tracks by the experience jockeys is a huge advantage of beginner jockeys. Knowing the layout of the track and all the lumps and bumps can help a jockey to ride home a winner.

Do not ignore the history of a horse

Researching each horse will put you in a much better place to make an informed bet, rather than say, betting on a horse because it has a funny name, or you like the colour! That can be fun, sure, but it will not bring you in a steady profit over the long term. So, what should you be looking out for when you study the horses in a race?

Check the experience and the horse’s record at the racetrack first. Have they already run the track in the last couple of years? Is it their first time? You may have already heard the phrase “horses for courses” and this is exactly what we are trying to explain here.

You can easily find the form of the horse over the last handful of races and this can give you a great indicator of its form, but always be wary of their competition in those races. They may have won the last three races but perhaps that was against weak competition. At the same time, keep an eye on horses being overrun as this can drastically affect their performance coming into a race.

You can even begin to learn how horses like to race and their overall racing style. Some horses like to keep it steady all the way round, some like to pick up the pace right at the end, and some like to lead from the front. You will start to build up a knowledge bank of horses and jockeys alike, and all of this will give you better judgement for when it comes to making that final bet on the race.

Listen to those in the know

Over the years there have been several owners that continue to win year in and year out, and this can be said for those events all across the world. But why is this? One of the main reasons is that these owners know how to put together a winning team. From the daily care from the trainer through to what the horses eat and how they train, it takes a lot of people to keep a racehorse in peak condition and those top owners know to do just that.

The trainers have a huge job on their hands to get the horses ready for each race meeting, and the jockeys riding them are expecting these horses to be in top condition. The same trainer/owner combinations can be found at all the top meetings and with all that prize money up for grabs, you know that they will be doing all they can to get their horse out on the track in the best possible form. 

Keep an eye out for owners and trainers and listen in when they are being interviewed, you can gain a lot from what they have to say.

Three Best Bookmakers for Horse Racing in Canada

Betway Sports

Betway offers a safe and secure betting environment with all the modern security software a website like this requires. A wide range of horse racing betting markets are available whilst they also extend that variation into their in-play betting as well. An additional benefit of betting with Betway is the easy-access and welcoming support team, and there is a continual list of great offers to use on the racing and many other sports, too.

888 Sport

888 Sport possess a flawless safety and security record which means that you can enjoy complete peace of mind when betting there. The site accepts a wide range of banking options such as Skrill and Neteller, among many options for both deposits and withdrawals. This bookmaker also offers great value on their odds as well as a decent range of offers and sports promotions including new-player bonuses and exciting insurance offers. Horse racing is well covered, and they will include all the top Canadian racing meetings across the year.


10Bet is a great place for beginners due to their ever-present new-player welcome bonuses. The bookmaker also offers a full suite of horse racing markets to bet on with events being followed during the course of the year, and they regularly provide extra deals that run in conjunction with the horse racing events, too. So, 10Bet should be one of the bookies on your betting list, and to make things even more convenient, their support agents are highly rated and will look to help you out with all your horse racing betting requests.

Canadian Horse Racing Facts & General Information

  1. Canadian racing was first recorded in 1767
  2. Northern Dancer was the first Canadian-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby
  3. In 1965, Northern Dancer was the first non-human to be entered into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame

Horse Racing Canada FAQ

Why should I bet on horse racing? 

Horse racing and betting requires knowledge to be successful, and of course some luck as well, but it is one of the sports in which punters rely heavily on the statistics. Luckily, there is a lot of racing data to be found online and offline, and everything is there for you to study.

How can I bet on the horses online?

Nowadays, there are many online bookmakers out there who follow all the top racing meetings across the globe. Choosing any of the bookmakers mentioned in our guide will give you everything you need to get started on betting on the horses online.

Can I use bonuses to bet on the horses?

Many of the online bookmaker bonuses allow you to bet on the races and many of the promotions are directly linked to the race meetings, especially when the Triple Crown comes around. Always remember to check the terms and conditions first though, just to ensure that you can use your bonus on the right betting markets.