Place Bet in Horse Racing – Understanding the Basics

place bet

7 minutes

Last Updated: December 26, 2022


One of the reasons why so many people get involved with horse racing is the fact that the sports allow for so many betting options.

With this said, one of the most popular betting options in the world horse betting races is the “to place bet.”

The place bet lets punters choose a horse that they think will finish first or second, and today, we will be breaking down this popular horse betting market.

What Is the “To Place” Bet?

As we mentioned, in horse racing, the three most popular bets are the:

The to-win bet allows punters to stake money on the horse that they think will win the race – finish first.

If a punter is not sure that his horse will win, but he thinks that he will for sure finish in the top two places – the first or the second, he can then use this to create a to-place bet.

Lastly, the to-show bet allows punters to place a bet on a horse they think will finish in the top three places: the first, the second , or the third place.

place bets

The to-win bet is the bet with the best odds of the three. The to-place bet has slightly worse odds than the to-win bet, while the to-show bet has the lowest odds of the three.

With this said, the to-place bet will only be considered a winning bet in cases where the horse has won the race or finished as runner-up.

The Odds for the “To Place” Bet

Place bets will always have lower odds than the to-win odds, but they will also have higher odds than the to-show bets.

The odds for the to place a bet are determined by the number of runners. This means that in races with more runners, the betting odds for this wager will be higher..

The payouts for the to-place bet are usually around 30% lower than the payouts for the to-win bets. But once again, this depends on individual races and can rarely be considered as a rule.

Because the to-place bet is in direct correlation with the to-win bet, the odds for this beat will change in accordance with the odds for the to-win bet.

How to Place a “To Place” Bet

The process of placing a to place bet can vary depending on the horse betting platform you are using, but for the most part, it goes like this:

  1. Open your online betting platform
  2. Open the horse racing section and select a race
  3. Select a horse you want to bet on
  4. Select the option “to place” (most bookmakers put the to-win bet as the default one)
  5. Double-check if you selected the right horse and the correct market
  6. Enter your stake and select the “Place a bet” option

Note: always double-check your bet before confirming it. Not all betting sites will allow you to cash out your wrongly placed bets.

What Is the Minimum Stake for a Place Bet?

The limit for the minimum stake will depend completely on the betting site you are using to place horse bets.

On most betting platforms, the minimum amount of money needed for a “to place” bet is $2. However, there are some sports betting sites that will allow you to stake $1 or even 50 cents.

horse racing place bet

Racing tracks have a much more unified minimum stake limit. You will rarely find tracks that accept a to-place bet for less than $2.

It is important to note that most horse betting platforms and racetracks allow punters to combine win-place bets. If you decide to place one of these bets, please be aware that the ticket cost will at least double.

What Are the Maximum Winnings for a Place Bet?

Most racetracks and horse racing exchanges don’t have a limit on the maximum winnings for a place bet.

The odds and the payouts are completely dependent on the pool and can change over time.

Betting sites have slightly different policies, and in some cases, you can find information about the maximum winnings on bets in their terms and conditions.

If this is the case you should definitely look to place bets that do not exceed these amounts. The site can void all your winnings that go over the amount indicated in their terms and conditions.

Best Strategies for Betting on “To Place” in Horse Racing

When it comes to betting on a horse to place, one of the most popular strategies that newbie punters use is they select a horse that they think will win and then proceed to place a to-place bet on him.

In theory, this looks like a very solid strategy and one that could increase a punter’s bottom line. However, in practice, this strategy is not as effective as one might think.

The odds for the “to place” bet are much lower than the odds for the “to win” bet, making potential returns also drastically lower.

There are several online articles in which punters did detailed analyses (with odds and percentages for the to-win bet and the to-place bet).

Almost all of them have concluded that selecting a horse to win and then placing a bet on them to place is rarely a winning strategy in the long run.

Don’t Bet Too Early

One of the most common mistakes newbie punters make when they start betting on horses is placing bets too early in the morning or even the night before.

If you are a winning player, whether it is on the to place bets or any other type of popular horse racing bet, there is a high chance that your account will be limited or even closed.

place horse racing

You further increase the chance of this happening if you are placing bets where there is little money in the pool. This allows bookies to detect your bets.

The best time to place bets on horse races is when the market is formed. This way you make it much more difficult for the bookmakers to pay attention to your account even if you are a winning player.

Avoid Live Betting

In most sports, if you know what you are doing, live or in-play betting can be extremely profitable, and this is also the case with horse racing.

However, because of the nature of the sport, where seconds matter, you should only be live betting if you are on the track.

If you are watching the race on a live stream or on TV, you will be at a big disadvantage. Broadcasts are always late a couple of seconds (anywhere from 5 to 30).

This means that the only way you can find out what is happening in real time is by looking at the odds that change each second.

When you place your bets based on the broadcast, you are basically blind betting because the moment you are seeing “live” happened at least 5 seconds ago.

Shop for the Best Prices

Even in modern times, you would be surprised at how different odds prices can be at different bookmakers.

For this reason, it is very important to do your homework and find the best available odds before you place a bet.

Even if you hit your picks with a good rate, if your odds are not good, you can still be losing money betting on horses and vice versa.

Although most bookmakers nowadays are quick to adjust their odds, there is still a lot of room for odds shopping. You can visit a dozen betting shops in less than a minute with online betting.

Cashing Out Is a Big No-No

To become a successful horse racing punter, another thing that you should avoid is taking cashouts.

One of the most popular features of modern online betting platforms is the cash-out feature which offers players to take part of their potential winnings before the event is over.

what does place mean in horse racing

At first, this option looks like an ideal way to lower the variance, and take out a big portion of your potential winnings each time your ticket looks like a winning one.

But if you pay closer attention you will see that each time you are offered a cash-out, the amount of money you can take is around 20% lower than what you should be getting.

In the long run, it is better to let your bets play out, except in some extraordinary circumstances where your horse had a great start, but you are sure he will not win.

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