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Sports Betting on the Ponies

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In terms of sports betting, the ponies are quite possibly the most favored form of betting across all forms. Horse betting is one of the oldest forms of sports betting, and continues to supersede other popular sports as punters head to the track, call their bookies and log on to online sportsbooks by the millions.

Sports betting on the ponies offers so many options it’s remarkable. What’s even more mind-blowing is the amount of money betting on the ponies can be worth – if you make the right series of picks! From the chariot races of ancient Rome to the Triple Crown of today, equestrian bettors have lost fortunes and gained millionaire status over the course of a day at the tracks.

The most famous horse races in the United States are those that make up the coveted Triple Crown – the Kentucky Derby (Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky), the Preakness Stakes (Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland) and the Belmont Stakes (Belmont Park, Long Island, New York). The Triple Crown runs from May to early June each year. The Breeder’s Cup is held towards the end of the year, and takes place at a different track annually.

The Queen’s Plate is Canada’s highest regarded horse race and the oldest in all of North America. It is hosted at Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke (Toronto), Ontario every June. Due to past injuries, the number of starters in the Queen’s Place was capped at 17 in 1995.

Heading halfway around the world to the great “Down Under” we find Australia’s esteemed Melbourne Cup, often called “the race that stops the nation”, along with the nation’s oldest horse race, the Wallabadah Cup.

As comparably small as New Zealand is to the above mentioned horse racing capitols of the world, its economy thrives on the prestige of equestrian sports betting. In 2004 alone, the industry brought in a staggering $1.4 billion with over 1 million people in attendance. The nation is home to 120 horse racing clubs (51 harness racing clubs and 69 thoroughbred racing clubs).

Other chief horse races are held each year across South Africa, Great Britain, Italy, France, Ireland, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, India, China, and other parts of Europe and Asia. Sports betting on the ponies is found just about everywhere.

Forms of Horse Race Betting
There are two basic forms of betting on the ponies – pari-mutuel betting and betting on odds.

Pari-mutuel Betting: The majority of horse tracks that allow betting on the ponies (horse race betting is actually illegal at some tracks) apply a method known as “pari-mutuel” betting; especially across the United States. This means that all of the bettors’ monies are pooled together to determine the value of each winning bet. The bookmaker collects a small commission from the overall pool, then winners split the prize.

Horse Betting on Odds: Betting on the ponies in the UK means “taking the price” on the odds of each horse, more like traditional sports betting (such as MLB betting) as opposed to pari-mutuel pooling. The odds can change multiple times between the announcement of an upcoming race and the actual start of the event, allowing horse race bettors to lock in a bet on the specific odds offered at that moment (a.k.a. taking the price).

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